Coffee around the World: India

in Did you know?

We have already learned how coffee is prepared and consumed in some of the biggest countries in the world, namely Canada, Australia, Russia, and Germany. Some facts about coffee drinkers and their habits in those countries have been pretty surprising and we are eager to tell you more about other coffee drinking nations.

So let’s continue our journey and stop for a cup in the country that is the sixth-largest coffee producer in the world - India.

The Story of coffee in India

Even though Indians are primarily a “tea-drinking nation”, the history of coffee and its production goes back some 500 years. Legend has it that story of coffee in India began in the17th century with the name of Baba Budan.

Baba Budan was a  pilgrim who, upon his return to India, brought in 7 raw beans of coffee from Mocha in Yemen while returning from Hajj. In his days coffee exported from Yemen was in baked or in roasted form so no one could grow their own and make a living out of it.  Because of his wish to make his own, he smuggled it to India and planted the beans on the slopes of the Chandragiri Hills in the Kadur district, Mysore State (present day Karnataka).

Start of cultivation

Despite the fact that coffee was brought to India in the 17th century it wasn’t until 18th century and the “success” of  British entrepreneurs who conquered the hostile forest terrain in southern India that the true cultivation of Indian coffee began.

British involvement in the country really helped the Indian coffee industry and placed it on the world map for the next few centuries.

Over the next few years few parts of India - Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu - formed the traditional coffee growing region of India. The most commonly used coffee beans here are Arabica and Robusta.  From the 1940s onward Indian filter coffee, a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans and chicory, became a commercial success in India.

The popularity of Indian coffee further increased production demand and increased from 68,948 tons in 1971–72 to 120,000 tons in 1979–80, and grew by 4.6 percent in the 1980s.

What kind of coffee Indians actually drink

Interestingly, despite the fact that Indians have their own coffee that is popular within the nation, a great number of people still rather drink foreign coffee products such as Nescafé, Frappuccino, and other things. What is perhaps even more interesting is the fact that another traditional Indian drink, namely tea, is unbelievably, 8x more popular than Indian coffee. Who would have thought?

But as coffee gets better and new companies make their way into India, even that ratio is starting to change.

Over the last few years awareness and mostly competition on the market have forced the Indian government and farmers to reassess coffee production and focus more on quality over just pure quantity. The quality of coffee made even a certain company named Starbucks notice. Even though they were not ordering big quantities of coffee before reassessing Indian coffee production, the quality of the goods made them change their mind.

So, as the coffee gets better, perhaps in the future Indians will be known more for their coffee drinking habits than their tea-drinking ones. Perhaps!

Sources:
IndiaCoffee.org
Coffee production in India - Wikipedia
The New Culture of Coffee in India - I Need Coffee


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