What Makes Indian Coffee Outstanding? Chef Ranveer Brar Explains

A blend of tradition, creativity, and a vast array of flavours weaves itself into Indian coffee culture. An impressive transformation has been witnessed by the coffee business in India, which has grown from its modest origins to its present-day prominence. In the rich hill tracks of India, a once-hidden gem introduced by Baba Budan, coffee has grown to become a distinctive fusion of tradition and modernity. From the hills of Karnataka to the plantations in Kerala, Indian coffee has a story that blends tradition with innovation. Today, the Indian coffee scene is experiencing a renaissance, with a plethora of flavours and brewing techniques captivating coffee enthusiasts nationwide. 

Indian celebrity chef Ranveer Brar recently posted a video to his Instagram account in which he revealed an intriguing history of Indian coffee. Brar captions the video, "Coffee" interesting history hai iski...mante ho ki nahi...” Let's explore how interesting is its story. 

The narrative of Indian coffee is intertwined with a fascinating legend dating back to the 17th century. As the tale goes, Baba Budan, on his pilgrimage to Mecca, made a stop at Yemen's Mokha port. There, he acquired seven seeds of coffee, which he cleverly smuggled into India. This marked the inception of coffee cultivation in the country. When the British arrived, they discovered a peculiarity that set Indian coffee apart globally – unlike the flatlands commonly associated with coffee plantations worldwide, Indian coffee thrived in the picturesque hill tracks. 

The charm of Indian coffee plantations lies in their unique ecosystem. Coffee plants flourished under the protective shade of areca nut trees, creating a breathtaking blend of landscapes. Additionally, the cultivation of black pepper alongside coffee added to the versatility of these plantations, making them not just productive but also aesthetically pleasing. The British, enamoured by the scenic beauty and multi-utilizable nature of these plantations, played a pivotal role in nurturing and promoting the coffee culture in India. 

Hand-Picked Coffee 

One of the distinguishing factors that set Indian coffee apart is the meticulous process of hand-picking the coffee beans. Unlike the vast flatlands conducive to machine harvesting seen in many coffee-producing regions, Indian coffee plantations are often nestled in hilly terrain. This topographical diversity makes machine harvesting impractical, leading to a reliance on the labour-intensive method of handpicking. 

Each coffee bean undergoes a careful selection process, where skilled hands meticulously pluck the ripe cherries. This manual approach ensures that only the finest and fully matured beans are chosen, contributing to the superior quality and nuanced flavours of Indian coffee. The hands-on involvement in the harvesting process not only enhances the precision of selection but also reflects a dedication to quality that has been ingrained in the coffee culture over generations. 

The manual harvesting of Indian coffee is not merely a practical necessity; it is a tradition passed down through the ages. The hands that pick the beans carry the knowledge and expertise accumulated over decades, ensuring a level of craftsmanship that machines cannot replicate. This commitment to preserving the art of hand-picking not only sustains the uniqueness of Indian coffee but also contributes to the preservation of traditional farming practices.