India is the fifth largest coffee growing nation in the world. We grow coffee and love to drink coffee! While we have been exporting coffees around the world for many decades now, it is only time we also consume some of the finest Indian estate coffees.
Remember what all we grow in the south of India? Fruits and veggies yes, but also teas? All our spices? And the most exciting of all, cacao! Coffee plantations are usually inter-cropped with plants growing fruits and veggies, trees with spices and cacao. Though we haven’t found any research paper if this is true but it is known that Indian coffees are more spicy and chocolatey and the coffees from west are more fruity and floral. This could either be happening at the root level where nutrients are exchanged naturally or due to flood irrigation methods. There’s also the role of bio-diversity in a plantation that helps exchange flavours. Remember the role of bees in a farm? There’s pollination that also helps exchange flavours between crops.
What is unique about Indian coffee agricultural practices is the farms are densely populated with tall, shade-lending trees. Hence, most of Indian coffee, like Brazilian, is shade-grown. The thick canopy of trees include wild trees, silver oak trees and some fruit trees. This helps hold the soil in place, means less erosion, no direct sunlight, no direct rainfall and hence the coffee plants are nurtured through the year and protected from harsh natural conditions.