If you enjoy drinking coffee, you've definitely had a cup of flavorful, aromatic coffee from all over the world. But have you ever wondered where coffee came from in India? Get ready to travel through the interesting world of Indian coffee, notably the rich history of Chikmagalur. Chikmagalur, located in Karnataka's Western Ghats, boasts the prestigious distinction of being the birthplace of coffee in India.
This blog will explore the fascinating narrative of Chikmagalur's coffee history, tracing its origins, cultural significance, and the elements that have made it a popular travel destination for coffee lovers. Whether you enjoy coffee or are just a curious visitor, prepare to be mesmerized by the fascinating history of Chikmagalur Coffee.
How coffee came to India? History of Chikmagalur Coffee.
There are many myths and stories about coffee's voyage to India. The fascinating story opens with Baba Budan, a Sufi saint who travelled to Mecca in the 17th century on a pilgrimage. Baba Budan decided to bring the alluring flavours of coffee to his own country after learning about them while on his travels. However, Yemen, where coffee was mostly grown, strongly forbade the export of coffee beans. Unaffected by the limitations, Baba Budan undertook a risky mission in which he successfully smuggled seven coffee beans back to India by hiding them in his beard.
Baba Budan planted these priceless beans in his garden close to a cave in Chandragiri when he returned to his birthplace, the charming town of Chikmagalur located in the Western Ghats. Originally known as Chandra Dona, the hill is now referred to as Baba Budan Giri in honour of the saint. By introducing the mystical world of coffee to India, Baba Budan's bold action profoundly altered the agricultural landscape of India. Chikmagalur's coffee plantations were built on land that the then-Maharaja of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar 111 donated. It also established the groundwork for the rich coffee history that Chikmagalur and the nation would later cherish. This marked the commencement of coffee farming in India.
What kind of coffee is grown in Chikmagalur?
Arabica coffee, renowned for its delicate flavour and alluring aroma, is predominantly grown in Chikmagalur. The Chikmagalur district in Karnataka, India, had more than 55,000 hectares under Arabica coffee farming in the fiscal year 2022 (1). Arabica beans thrive in Chikmagalur's higher elevations and cooler temperatures resulting in a rich, well-balanced cup of coffee.
Coffee farming benefits greatly from Chikmagalur's geographic location, fertile soil, and favourable climate. With an elevation between 2,800 and 6,000 feet above sea level, the region enjoys a moderate and pleasant climate all year round. The high elevation, ideal cool weather and monsoon provide the perfect conditions for growing coffee plants.
Coffee from higher elevations are considered to be world's truly awesome coffee. Why coffee from high elevations taste better? Higher altitudes with cooler temperatures cause the growth cycle to be delayed, allowing the beans to mature for a longer period of time. This results in coffee that is significantly fuller, richer, and more flavorful.
Here is Panduranga Coffee’s 100% Plantation AAA Arabica Coffee “Mysore Nuggets”. A coffee so exquisite that it was the only coffee allowed in the royal palaces. This coffee exhibits good body intense flavour with a sweetish aroma, a note of chocolate, the aftertaste of caramel and just a hint of spices. Mysore Nuggets is well-suited for black coffee and espresso lovers.
Bababudangiris Arabica coffee is grown specifically in the birthplace of coffee in India and the region is situated in the central portion of Chikmagalur district. Selectively hand-picked and processed by natural fermentation, the cup exhibits full body, acidity, mild flavour and striking aroma with a note of chocolate. (2)
Chikmagalur is authentically recognized as the birthplace of coffee in India due to its fascinating history, great climatic circumstances, and commitment to producing top-quality arabica coffee. It is a must-visit location for coffee enthusiasts and tourists alike because of its beautiful scenery, fragrant coffee estates, and cultural heritage. And don't forget when you enjoy a cup of Panduranga Coffee, you are tasting the authentic best Chikmagalur coffee from the coffee abode of India.