The Cup That Cheers: The Changing Taste of Coffee

Published on: 01/06/2024


Photo title: Coffee harvesting


Photo Credits: Vikram Nanjappa

Coffee, the drink most of South India wakes up to, is getting a makeover that is arty and hip.

Being the sixth largest producer of coffee in the world, India’s coffee cultivation is concentrated in the hills of South India, with Karnataka accounting for a whopping 70% plus production, followed by Kerala and then Tamil Nadu. Apart from these traditional areas, coffee production has also made an appearance in states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa as well as the Northeast. The differentiating factor of Indian coffee is the fact that it is the only country to grow its coffee in the shade.

Fascinating History

Just like its taste, the history of Indian coffee is equally fascinating and dates to the 16th century when the famous Indian Sufi saint Baba Budan returned from Mecca with seven magical raw coffee beans which he secretly picked up from the port of Mocha in Yemen. These were planted in the hills of Chikmagalur in Karnataka, thereby scripting the glorious beginning of coffee in India. Coffee plantations then grew by leaps and bounds in the next few decades and gained further impetus during the reign of the British when thousands of acres of coffee estates were developed.

The Coffee Board of India was set up in 1942 to promote the growth of the crop in India and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders including coffee growers, labourers and coffee buyers. Home to about 16 unique varieties of coffee, the two main varieties grown in India are Arabica and Robusta. Some of the famous coffee belts in Karnataka include Chikmagalur, Hassan, Sakleshpur and, of course, Coorg. Often dubbed as Scotland of India, the picturesque hill station of Coorg in India is known for its lush green coffee estates that were introduced in the year 1854 by John Fowler, an Englishman.

IMG 5415

Photo title: Coffee beans drying in the yard


Photo Credits: Vikram Nanjappa

Current Trends

Coffee in India has come a long way and has evolved from the days of mass produced, instant coffee to consumers preferring to savour their coffee the artisanal way. Today, coffee is expanding from specialty coffee to artisan coffee and even micro roasters akin to microbreweries, where customers are provided with a holistic and personalized coffee-savouring experience. Artisan coffee is the buzzword that employs sustainable cultivation methods, processing, drying and roasting techniques to create unique and distinct coffees. This means a focus on high quality beans, roasted in small batches to ensure that the freshness and aroma is retained and then brewed per customers’ preference. This includes single origin as well as micro lot coffee which literally means coffee grown in one geographical region (single farm) and the best of the estate respectively.

Since customers are ready to experiment and even pay a premium for specialty coffee, brands are offering exclusive flavour profiles which apart from offering a choice of light, medium or dark roast also offers hints of varied elements like chocolate, orange, vanilla, coconut, honey dew and spices. There are brands that even offer coffee beans that are aged in whiskey barrels. Apart from specialized roasting and grinding methods, even the brews are changing with nitro brews and cold brews taking centre stage. The latter refers to the addition of nitrogen to the cold brew to give coffee a rich, creamy consistency. There are also brewing methodologies like French press, Moka pot and AeroPress that are changing coffee consumption.

Coorg Coffees for Connoisseurs

Coorg is known for its superlative coffee which is exclusive in more ways than one. In fact, the region produces the most expensive coffee in the world which is known as civet coffee. This involves the coffee berries being consumed by wild civet cats which is then excreted. The beans are then picked and processed. The micro lot coffee produced by yet another estate travelled seven seas and has found itself perched on the shelves of the Starbucks stores in Seattle. The hill station has perfect weather for growing coffee and today, with over 270 varieties of shaded trees, Coorg cultivates all its coffee under a two-tier mixed shade canopy. While the bigger trees include varieties like jackfruit, fig and the like, the second layer includes spices like cardamom, vanilla, and pepper. Today the regions’ coffee finds its way not only in your daily cuppa but also in desserts, infusions, chocolates as well as cosmetics. Coffee inspired spa treatments are in fact very popular.


• The word ‘coffee’ originates from the Arabic word 'qahwa' which is a type of wine.
• Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world next only to crude oil.
• Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer.
• Finland is the world's largest coffee consumer.
• Starbucks is the largest coffee company and chain in the world while Tata coffee is the largest in India.
• Consumption of coffee helps lower the risk of several conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and is also believed to boost longevity.

the people option 4 1 of 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.Quis ipsum

the people option 2 1 of 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, maecenas accusman lacus vel facilisis

Rashmi 2

Rashmi Gopal Rao

Rashmi Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and travel-lifestyle blogger from Bangalore. She writes on travel, food and decor. Apart from visiting the tourist attractions of a place, she loves to venture out exploring the 'unconventional' and the 'uncommon'. Learning about the unique customs and culture of a place, interacting with the locals and sampling the local and authentic cuisine is always on her "to-do" list while travelling. A strong advocate and supporter of responsible and sustainable tourism, she blogs at and tweets at @rashminotes.

coffee spice more option 1 1 of 1


the people option 3 1 of 1


Coorg Home Filters


The Cup That Cheers: The Changing Taste of Coffee

GSC 6158

Mountain Dweller: The Blue-capped Rock Thrush


The Spice Route: How spices changed the world


Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight

DSC 0951b


10685477 803891233006240 6938362231288327194 n

The Virajpet Clock Tower


A Coorg Bride’s Trousseau


The World of Warblers


What’s Cooking: A Day with the Chef

DSC 8539

Barbet Battleground


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vazhachundum Thoran


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Mezze Platter


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Grilled Pork Ribs


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pazham Puzhungiyathu


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Peppercorn chocolate mousse


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kabsah Laham Bis


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vazhakanda Thoran


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Banana Bajji


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pazham pori


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Joojeh – e – Koobideh


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Vegetable Kurma


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Idiyappam


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Appam


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kadamputtu


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Pandi Curry


From the Kitchens of Evolve Back – Kerala Fish Curry


Nalknad Palace – off the beaten track in Coorg

1 (2)

Mother Goddess Kaveri

Red-whiskered Bulbul

(Not) The Garden Variety Bulbul

3. Pandi Curry

Pandi Curry – the Emperor of Kodava Cuisine

GSC 5425

Under the veil of rain and darkness

 MG 0010

Kodava Brides – keepers of tradition

Coffee Museum

Designing the Sidapur Coffee and Culture Museum

JTR1 DSC 0095

Special Ingredients of Kodava Cuisine

The purple liquid

The Purple Elixir – Maddh Thopp


Chikka Veerarajendra of Coorg and his Thirteen Wives

DSC 2068

Kodava Cuisine – Festive Food of Coorg

2 Duotone Geometric patterns kadaga

Kodava Jewellery – Design Deconstructed

Bitter orange Wikimedia Commons

Kodava Cuisine – Seasonal Food of Coorg

IMG 5851

The Architecture of Ainmanes: Form follows Function


Kodava Ainmanes – the heart of the Kodava Clan

Lingarajendra shown engaged in hunting a drawing by Thippajappa of Shimoga

Shikar with Raja Lingarajendra

Wikipedia commonsWatercolor guest house of the Raja of Coorg by John Johnson

A Guest House for the British


A Photographer’s Guide to Coorg – 2

Orange-County-Article-A-Photographers-Guide-to-Coorg-by-Prathap-Photography-004 a

A Photographer’s Guide to Coorg

Malabar Gliding Frog evolveback 1

The Enchanted Woods!

312959-1345036410 sourced from web

Princess Victoria Gowramma of Coorg – 2

Veerarajendra Gowramma in London - 1852

Princess Victoria Gowramma of Coorg


Of Clouds and Waterfalls


The Mesmerizing Monsoon of Coorg

Continue your booking