For a country that’s known to be the largest consumer and the second largest producer of tea in the world – India’s coffee story has come a long way.
It is believed that a 9th-century Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi discovered coffee. He noticed that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not sleep at night. Kaldi took the berries to a nearby monastery. The Monks there made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept them alert for the long hours of evening prayer. Soon, this news reached other monasteries, and beyond.
The Arabs were the first to grow and trade coffee. Demand was very high, and coffee beans leaving the Yemeni port of Mocha were heavily guarded. Word of the ‘Wine of Araby’ – as coffee was then called, began to spread beyond Arabia, via pilgrims visiting Mecca every year.
By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. As demand for the beverage spread, cultivation of coffee beans spread to Indonesia, the Caribbean, South and Central America.
By the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops. Today it is the second most traded commodity on the planet after oil !
It is believed that Coffee arrived in India approximately 400 years ago when the legendary saint Bababudan brought seven magical beans from distant Yemen and planted them in the Chandragiri hills of Karnataka.
Indian Coffee is unique and is known for its subtle yet intense flavours. India is the only country that grows all of its coffee under shade. Indian coffee is typically mild and not too acidic, possessing and exotic full-bodied taste and a fine aroma.
For those who love coffee or even merely intrigued by the different varieties available – our coffee primer attempts to de-mystify some of the terms associated with this miracle !
A look at the different ways in which coffee is brewed :
The French Press
French press makes coffee by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water, and then pressing the grounds out. The plunger is pressed down and coffee poured directly into the cup ! After the drip coffee maker machine, it’s one of the easiest, least time-consuming ways to make a great cup of coffee.
The stovetop coffee maker, otherwise known as a Moka pot, is easy on the pocket and makes a strong decoction. The Moka pot consists of three chambers, a bottom chamber where water is poured, a filter in the middle where coffee powder is placed and a top chamber. You place the Moka pot on the stove and the steam from the bottom chamber pushes the filtered coffee to the top chamber to give you a brew similar to that of an espresso. The flavours of Moka and espresso machine brews are very close. However, the stovetop stuff is richer, less acidic, and almost chocolatey
It’s a charming metal pot made of brass or copper with a long wood handle – also known as Cezve, in Turkey, whereas in much of the rest of the world, you’re more likely to find it called an Ibrik. The filterless method of brewing combined with an exceptionally finely ground coffee powder produces a cup that’s dark and brooding and when prepared with the addition of sugar and spice, results in a unique and unforgettable brew that’s “ black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love”*
South Indian filter coffee is brewed with a metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups. The upper cup is loaded with fresh ground coffee mixed with chicory. The grounds are gently compressed and boiling water is poured inside. Next, the lid is placed on the top, and the device is left to slowly drip the brewed coffee into the bottom. This brew is generally stronger than western “drip style” coffee. Traditionally, filter coffee is consumed by adding 1–2 tablespoons of the brew to a cup of boiling milk with sugar. The coffee is drunk from a tumbler – but is often cooled first with a dabarah – a wide metal saucer with lipped walls !
So that’s our take on the world’s favourite brew ! One that purists will swear by. With their artisanal and customised blends, perfectly brewed just so. And consumed at a specific time – making it an intrinsic part of our lives.
Coffee Rules !