The journey of coffee in India has been an interesting story in itself. While the world discovered coffee through a goat herder grazing his cattle in the greens, the encounter of these intoxicating beans with India happened through Baba Budan. The Sufi monk was so impressed with the taste of these beans on the return journey from his pilgrimage to Mecca that he disguised them in his long beard and brought back seven beans. This paved the way for the Chikmagalur coffee cultivation that is one of the GI-tagged Indian coffees today.

Also Read: Heard The Unique Backstory Of GI-Tagged Malabar Coffee?

Little did one know that the coffee quest of the 16th Century would lead to the discovery of the world’s most loved concoction today. In India, the extensive cultivation of coffee beans largely happens in the southern parts of the country. It is also said that the production of some of the best coffee in the world happens in India, particularly by tribal farmers residing in the Western and Eastern Ghats. Given the suitable climatic conditions, the coffee beans are sun-dried and hand-picked, making it the only country to do so.

While these techniques ensure great quality, it was the Monsooned Malabar Coffee that gained prominence ever since the time of Britishers. This aged coffee, developed by accident en route Europe via sea, resulted in a pungent flavour and smell that was enjoyed by the Britishers. Once transportation advanced and journeys on sea became shorter, the aged coffee was difficult to brew and that’s when the Malabar Coast traders devised a way to produce and supply the Malabar Coffee.  

Indian roasted coffee

After several years, the two varieties of Malabar Coffee called Monsooned Malabar Arabica and Robusta attained separated GI tags in 2008. Gradually, as the coffee cultivation expanded and several parts of South India began producing Arabica and Robusta varieties, five new kinds of Indian coffee became visible. 

Here are the five GI-tagged Indian coffees that were accorded the status in 2019 by the Coffee Board Of India.  

1.  Araku Valley Arabica Coffee

These coffee beans are well-known for being produced in the hilly terrains of Andhra Pradesh as well as in Odisha. The specialty of these beans lies in the fact that they are grown through organic cultivation. The tribals focus on green manure, along with organic ways of pest management so as to make the coffee pure and chemical-free.  

2.  Coorg Arabica Coffee

This GI-tagged variety is grown in the high altitudes of Coorg in Karnataka. Cultivated in shade at about 2,200 m, this coffee has a distinct aroma and bold flavours, packed with hints of chocolate, cherry and persimmon at times. This kind of coffee is usually grown in the Kodagu district of the state.  

3.  Wayanad Robusta Coffee

Belonging to the Wayanad region of Kerala, this robusta variety is grown in large quantities in the state annually. With the production of 50,000-60,000 tonnes of coffee, the Wayanad coffee gained its GI-tag for its historical connections.

4.  Baba Budan Giri Arabica Coffee

This is considered one of the oldest coffees in India, grown on the elevated Western Ghats. This specialty of this coffee lies in the natural fermentation method that is used to make it as well as the mild flavour of the beans. The coffee has an inherent acidity and slight hints of chocolate too. When it comes in contact with a mild climate, this coffee starts to ripen slowly with a distinct taste and smell.  

5.  Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee

As the name suggests, the coffee belongs to the Chikmagalur region of Karnataka. Situated in the Deccan Plateau, the coffee cultivation in this region is considered the pioneer of this process in India.