*Coffees of 2022 : All the Estates*
(presented in no specific order)
South India Coffee Company
The South India Coffee Company was started in 2017 by husband and wife duo Akshay Dashrath and Komal Sable.
We are 5th generation coffee planters from Coorg, one of the oldest coffee growing regions in India. Having spent a significant amount of time in the UK for the last 10 years, we realised that Indian Coffees are underrated and under-represented (1)
the estate : mooleh manay
Mooleh Manay Estate was established in 2013 by 4th generation coffee planter, Ms. G.G. Padmashree with the aim of producing sustainable and environmentally responsible high quality coffee using modern farming techniques. The plantation is located in North Coorg, on the banks of the Harangi backwaters in the foothills of the Western Ghats.(2)
Coffees of 2022 : CurveBall, Mind = Blown both by Kapikottai
#2 : MSP Coffee (click here)
Our story began in the 1920’s when the illustrious MSP family migrated to the Shevaroys from a small, dry, southern town in Tamil Nadu, India. It was then that our forefather, MSP Senthikumar Nadar, started trading in coffee, cardamom and other spices like many others at that time. These products were bought from Kerala and other hill areas, dried and sold to various companies such as Pierce Leslie, Shaw Wallace & Co, Parry & Co, T Stanes & Co. Subsequently his son, MSP Nadar, expanded the business from Tamil Nadu to include Karnataka and Kerala as well.
Their honesty, hard work and commitment to keep their word despite market fluctuations earned them the respect and appreciation of their community and business partners alike. In the course of their travels, they purchased valuable plantations from the European community who owned most of the plantations at the time.
By 1960, Mr. MSP Rajes, the elder son of MSP Nadar, successfully expanded the plantations to cover over 3000 acres in Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka and established a very successful coffee curing unit called MSP Nadar Works in Salem. He also established an export company called Hill Tiller & Co which went on to become India’s largest coffee exporter for over three decades.
Today the fourth and fifth generation of the MSP family run the plantations under the astute management of Mr. Mohan Rajes, son of MSP Rajes; Navin Rajes, Ashom Rajes and Kamalesh Pandianathan (3)
Coffees of 2022 : Riverside : Ironborn (Savorworks), Gowri : Bhushavali (Kapikottai), Orchadale : Fuzzy Brain (Tramways)
- Angadi Village in the Western Ghats
- 900 to 1350 MSL
- Established in the 1800s
- They grow arabica and robusta(1)
- Arabica Varietals
- HDTX Catuai
- SLN 795
- SLN 9
- Yellow Borboun
- Robusta Varietals
- SLN 274
- CxR varieties (4)
Coffees of 2022 : Monsooned Malabar (Bluetokai)
#4 : Sangameshwar (click here)
Sangameshwar Coffee has come a long way in taking forward the vision of our beloved founder Shri. K.S.Vaidyanathan. The third generation coffee planters of SCE are Mr.S. Appadurai and Mrs Hamsini Appadurai. The duo work together as a team in managing pre and post-harvest requirements of the coffee grown at the estate
In 1886, the pioneer of the Billigiri Rangans, Randolph Hayton Morriss had a love affair with the Biligirirangan Hills. From the northern end of the Nilgiris, he could see a range of distant hills known to the general population. After being wooed by the beauty of Billigiri, he slowly started bringing his family into open neighboring estates for them to explore and absorb the beauty of those hills.
In 1887, he obtained a sizable forest area from the Forest Department. Under harsh circumstances, he opened the first of his five estates, the Attikan in 1890, which is Greek for “grove of wild figs.” His undying love for the green hills made him bring his wife Mabel Oliver with him in 1891. Soon after, they had three beautiful children, a daughter and two sons.
His exploration of the green fields inculcated his routine life. One day, in 1985, on his usual rendezvous in the jungle, our hero was gored by a Bison. Although it took almost four days for the doctor to reach him by Bullock Cart, his determination which sowed the genes for the Attikan estate helped him recover.
His unparalleled dedication to exploring coffee paved the way for his recovery. Post survival, he ventured into Gold mining and lived till 1918, when he succumbed to pneumonia. His eldest son Eric came to India in 1914, and after serving commissions at the two world wars settled in Attikan with his two daughters Priscilla and Anthea. Anthea visited us in 2008 with the fondest of memories of her childhood at Attiki. Our charismatic Grandfather and our founder K S Vaidyanathan ventured into the hills and took over Attikan in 1958 with the same adventurous spirit. His vigour and love for the green beauty were always remembered and cherished by the people who knew him.
The estates spanning over 950 hectares are situated in altitudes ranging from 900 to 1650 MASL, The acreage is spread across pristine surroundings in Chikmagalur, Belur and in The Billigiri Ranga Hills (BR Hills)
The estates comprise of both Arabica and Robusta varieties. The average annual yield is around 750 MT- comprising of 600MT Arabica and 150 MT Robusta. Each estate with their specialized wet mills are skilled in producing Special Washed , Honey Sun-dried and Natural Coffees. The specialty of Sangameshwar is their carefully processed Naturals. (5)
the estate : Gungegiri
The British brothers WL Crawford and CS Crawford cultivated coffee for the first time in Gungegiri in 1890. The hills at the estate are a copious water source for numerous streams flowing through the farm hence the name ‘Ganga’. This fertile landscape is a haven for a large number of peacocks amongst other species. Coffee is grown under indigenous species of trees like Atti (Fig), Basri (), Neeroli () for cultivation under filtered shade. The hill of Gungegiri acts like the northern star providing direction to forest trekkers .
#5 : Ratnagiri (click here)
The Ratnagiri Estate is an environmentally abundant corner of the majestic South Indian Western Ghats near Bababudangiri, the place where coffee in India originated. Spread over 117 hectares, Ratnagiri has an impressive yield of quality specialty coffee successfully inter-cropped with fine pepper. Ratnagiri literally means Pearl Mountains, and the dense silver oaks that tower over remarkably flavourful shade grown coffee give a silvery hue to the hills illustrating the name. At Ratnagiri, generations of the Patre family have dedicated their lives since 1927, caring for a land that has rewarded their passion and perseverance. With Coffee, Pepper and Nature.
Ratnagiri Estate is a Rainforest Alliance certified farm in the South Indian Western Ghats near Bababudangiri, the place where coffee in India first originated. The Patre family has looked after the farm since 1927 and their approach to farming has always placed ecology and harmony with the environment at the forefront of their work. Ratnagiri literally means ‘Pearl Mountains’ and gets this name from the dense Silver Oaks that tower over coffee plants, lending a silver hue to the hills where the farm sits. (6)
Coffees of 2022 : Birthday Blend, M26, H1 (Bluetokai), Ruby 36/3 (Ground Zero)
#6 : Kerehaklu (click here)
[kay – ray – huck – loo] – noun
1. Definition: the shelter (‘haklu’) by the lake (‘kere’)
2. Origin: 11th – 12th Century Kannada language
Kerehaklu is our home. It is a green haven tucked away in the Western Ghats, a place that inspires you to gather yourself, unwind and create. The plantation is spread across 250 acres and is a 15-minute drive from the closest village of Aldur, making it a secluded getaway amid fascinating flora, fauna and fungi. Our land and its specially curated activities are rooted in nature, and our way of living places conservation and cohabitation at its core. Allow yourself to find a space of calmness, away from all the commotion, with a visit to Kerehaklu.
Our family produces an array of specialty Arabica and Robusta varietals that are cupped and scored by professional Q-graders every harvest. We are proud of this achievement since our coffee is grown in coexistence with the local biodiversity.
Altitude: 3750 feet above mean sea level on average.
Processing methods: Washed, honey and naturally processed coffees with various experimental and replicable fermentation conditions and times.
Genetics: Arabica Selections 5B, 6, 795, Chandragiri (Sarchimor), 9, 10, and Robusta Selections CxR, 274 and Peradeniya, as well as small amounts of the elusive Anokhi Liberica.
Annual rainfall: 80 inches per annum.
Ajoy: A fourth-generation coffee producer with immense knowledge of the area, Ajoy has spent his adult life combining traditional and scientific processes of cultivation and conservation. The plantation as it stands today is all thanks to his experience and attention to detail. See if you can name more species, we dare you!
Pranoy: Having completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biology in Sydney, Pranoy’s goal is to make people more mindful of the biodiversity in the Western Ghats through Kerehaklu’s produce. He does this via a focus on the history of the interactions between indigenous and introduced species. Pranoy can most commonly be spotted making the rounds of the estate — documenting the natural world with Kivi by his side.
Prashun (alumnus): After two years of closely observing and documenting Kerehaklu’s wildlife movements, Prash is now part of a brilliant organisation called Melbourne Water, helping to conserve Australia’s natural landscapes. He also scuba dives at some of the best sites Down Under. We’re not jealous at all…
Kivi: With a nose for adventure and the heart of an explorer, our beagle pup Kivi is undoubtedly Kerehaklu’s cheekiest resident. Now a year old, Kivi spends most of his day accompanying Pranoy or Ajoy while they work on the estate. In his spare time, he’s busy reading all the comments from his fans on our Instagram.(7)
Coffees of 2022 : Birthday Blend (Bluetokai)
#7 : MS Estate : Balanoor (click here)
Balanoor Plantations & Industries Limited was incorporated in 1937, with the acquisition of tea & coffee estates from British planters in the 1930s. Balanoor group has come a long way since its inception. Production has increased five-fold and continues to expand with the adoption of modern technology in agricultural and manufacturing practices. Balanoor has diverse interests in Tea, Coffee and Rubber plantations, horticulture and real estate. We have always believed in providing quality products consistently with personalized attention. This is also a reason why we are able to develop a cordial relationship with our customers.
Amidst the rolling Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats, in the vicinity of Chickmagalur are the Coffee plantations belonging to Balanoor, extending over an area of 600 hectares. High elevation (900 to 1400 meters. MSL), copious rainfall (300 cm p.a.), rich deep soil and evergreen shade have helped nurture the coffees.
The company grows Arabica and Robusta coffee. Of the Arabica variety approximately 80 per cent is converted into washed coffee, called “Arabica Parchment”; and the remaining 20 per cent is prepared by the natural method and is referred to as “Cherry”. Of the Robusta Variety ? 65 per cent is washed coffee which is called “Robusta Parchment” and the rest is prepared as Robusta Cherry. Our annual production of coffee is around 500 Tons.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF COFFEE PRODUCTION
|Division||Arabica : Chennakkal, Vontekad, Bettadakumari, A Division
Robusta : Yelemadalu, Kotordie, Kogrie, Achuvan, MS Robusta
|Variety of Coffee||Arabica : Arabica SL 795, SL 9, Old Kent, Sachimore and Cauvery
Robusta : Old Robusta, Robusta C x R
|Processing Method||Natural Fermenting + Aqua Washing + Underwater Soaking + Drying on Trough + Sun Drying + Shade Drying on 2nd and 3rd day between 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Coffee is initially dried on raised platforms for couple of days.|
Merthi Subbangudigy Estate, otherwise known as M.S. Estate, is located in the rolling Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. The farm extends over an area of 600 hectares and lies at an elevation of 1100 to 1400 meters above sea level. The high altitude, in addition to the rainfall which can reach up to 350 cms per year, rich soil and evergreen shade have helped nurture the Arabica and Robusta plants that grow here. M.S. Estate is one of several coffee estates owned by Balanoor Plantations, whose experience in the coffee industry dates back to 1937.
M.S. Estate grows Chandragiri, selection 795, selection 9, Kent, BBTC, MS Hybrid, Cauvery and Ethiopian heirloom varieties of Arabica. Silver Oaks, Dadap and various jungle woods are interspersed among the coffee plants, providing shade as well as a welcoming habitat for a number of birds, including myna, parrots, peacocks, woodpeckers, owls, and parakeets. Animals such as bison, deer, foxes, and wild boars are amongst the many animals found in this area. Balanoor is also home to two tea estates sprawling over 225 hectares. Murgadhi and Yelemadalu, in Chikamagalur, producing about 625 tons of tea per year. (8)
Coffees of 2022 : Birthday Blend (Bluetokai)
#8 : Kalledevarapura (click here)
The lush estate is situated at an altitude of around 4400 feet above sea level in the picturesque Bababudangiri Hills in Chikmagalur, Karnataka. Kalledeverapura grows selection 795 which is bird friendly and shade grown since the estate is covered with Jack Fruit, Fig, and Silver Oak trees. The temperature in this region ranges from 12-32°C with the harvest taking place from January to March.(1) Kalledevarapura has some of the best shade among all Indian coffee farms. Unusually low rainfall also contributes to superior beans, many of which have won Flavor of India/Fine Cup awards (the Indian equivalent to Cup of Excellence). D.S. Shankar’s family has been growing coffee here for four generations. Our long relationship with this family enables us to secure both unusual microlots as well as hard to secure ones (i.e. Selection 9 beans). His family also owns Harley Estate, which his brother D.M. Purnesh runs (9)
Coffees of 2022 : KDP (Bluetokai). Kensho (Beanrove-Kokoro)
#9 : Riverdale Estate (click here)
Since 1920, Riverdale Estate has been a family owned business where three generations have worked to improve the quality of our coffee plants.The Farm is located in Eastern ghat mountains in yercaud – south India. Prakashan Balaraman who is a young passionate coffee farmer who challenge the tradition coffee growing practices and processing .
In the last 10 years Riverdale Estate has been transformed with new modern farming practices like state of art cupping lab, energy efficient pulping station(wet mill), drip irrigation for the plants, African style raised beds to dry all our coffee and temperature controlled storage room to store coffee beans post harvest The plantation sits at an altitude of 1450 meter above sea level where we grow Green tip Gesha, brown tip Gesha, SL9 and SL5B arabica varieties.
The Loam soil in these mountain ranges have a perfect mixture of clay, silt and sand to grow coffee and other crops like oranges, jackfruit & peppercorn. The estate has a natural water stream which flows throughout the year making it a very interesting place to cultivate coffee.(10)
Coffees of 2022 : Lot 12, N72 (Bluetokai)
#10 : Salawara Estate (click here)
Spread across 400 acres in the fabled hills of Chikmagalur, the Salawara estate was started in 1880, and produces some delicious Arabicas and Robustas that have won various awards in India and abroad. They have recently forayed with much greater vigour into speciality coffee and their efforts and dedication has taken their coffees to new levels of flavour and yumminess. Run by the father son duo of Mr. Gowda and Sharan Gowda, they share our commitment of taking Indian coffee to greater heights by using amazing new processes and also a great focus on how the coffee is grown at their estate! The estate is dotted with exotic herbs and spices that are grown alongside the coffee!
Species grown: Arabica (50%), Robusta (50%)
Varietals grown: Arabica (Sln7, Chandragiri), Robusta (Sln9, CxR)
The coffee crop from salawara estate is successfully inter-cropped with pepper, Areca nut,oranges and silver oak trees which brings in the perfect balance of richness and heritage .Salawara literally means string of blessings. They were awarded best quality bean award from Ernesto Illy in 2018. (11)
Coffees of 2022 : Nandipura (Ground Zero), Endless Summer (Tramways)
#11 : Unakki Coffee Collective (click here)
Set in Joldal, Palya in Chikmagalur district, Unakki Coffee Collective was born out of a passion for Indian coffee and elevating the processes that coffee producers indulge in. The name ‘Unakki’ derives from ‘den of snakes’ which has been a part of the region for more than 400 years and is worshipped by the local community. The name is also an ode to their coffee community which has stayed strong and withheld all kinds of climate changes.
The collective was started by Kathyayini Muddiah and Rakhee Vishwanath who have backgrounds in Architecture and Software, respectively, and strive to highlight the work done by smaller farmers and celebrate specialty coffee. They also help the producers with timelines, pulping coffee, picking cherries, and more. The biggest challenge they faced was drying the coffee and maintaining its quality because of drastic changes in climatic conditions.
After quitting their corporate jobs in the Covid-19 lockdown, they began researching how specialty coffee is grown and processed internationally, which prompted them to implement the same in India, to empower neighbouring small-holding coffee farms. The first harvest that they worked on was done using basic specialty practices which was bought by us to support the work that Unakki does. They follow a similar co-op model to how coffees are produced and sold in Costa Rica and most African coffee-producing countries. This model aims at ensuring a sustainable income for smaller producers who wouldn’t usually have access to specialty processing opportunities.
The three estates from where the coffee cherries hail provide a welcoming habitat for a number of birds, animals and plants. The farms also grow other crops like orange, lemon, jackfruit, banana, soapberry and pepper. (12) (13)
Coffees of 2022 : Bahar (Kapikottai); Pulped Fiction (Dark Secret Society)
#12 : St. Margaret Estate (click here)
St.Margaret Estate is a 100% Robusta Coffee Estate, located in Magundi, Chikmaglur. The beautiful and ever cheerful Lynn Mascarenhas is behind their very interactive and amazing their instagram page Coffee_n_Love
Some of the nicest Robusta of the year i have tried have come from St.Margaret this year! (14)
Coffees of 2022 :Robusta : The seven carts, Ben’s Brew, Ivory Coffee, Honey bee
#13 : Thogarihunkal | Hunkal Heights (click here)
Hunkal Heights /Thogarihunkal Estates are in the slopes of outer Giris in the Western Ghat Region of Karnataka at a place called Chikmagalur. AT about 3500-4000 feet above sea level, Hunkal Heights was started by TB Malle Gowda which was further brewed up by his son T B Nagesh. 150 years later, Thogarihunkal Estate Group stands tall with its brilliant coffee and ecosystem of fantastic fauna, flora and wildlife. Trees like Ficus Glomerata, Artocarpus integra, Ficus Mysorensis and Red Cedar offer secondary shade. They shed their leaves in the monsoons and become a rich canopy during the summer. These trees offer generous amounts of biomass and keep the soil temperature low. The tertiary shade is of the hardwood species. Chosen as they attract rain-bearing clouds. This three-tier shade system, is a natural filtration of unwanted material and a regulation of healthy rain. The entire estate is fed by natural stream water from surrounding hills that have the highest average of rainfall over the last hundred years. Amazing huh?! (15)
Coffees of 2022 : Robusta from Rossette
#14 : Anaikadu (click here)
the estate of maldare division c belongs to Kurian, Nisha Thomas and the lovely Anaika, after whom the estate is named as anaikadu. they are stepping into the specialty coffee game this year (2022) and what a dhamaka entry it is. they had coffee coach Binny Varghese (@baristaonbike) with them throughout the processing stage. they presented their babies at the bluetokai new producer’s showcasing event and it’s been hill up since then.
apart from expecting their beans with roasters and customer very soon, they also had some of their beans roasted by Prajwal of Harmakki Coffee and there began the experiment of the blinded samplers.
their journey is beautifully documented on their instagram page – it talks of everyday life at the farm; everything from the majestic anai that come by their estate to the little creepy crawlies that little anaika tries to cast in resin; there’s a lot of coffee talk and learning interspersed by the cutest pictures of her royal cuteness Bella.(16)
know how you sometimes meet a few people online, never even having looked at their faces much but somehow there’s a connect. that’s definitely there with Nisha of Anaikadu. Our DMs will certify us mad old ladies who talking about everything from old malayalam classics to cleaning products!!! Go figure ???
Coffees of 2022 : Blinded Samplers, Blue Moon’s Flight, The Cicada’s Song, The Plum Headed Parakeet’s Chatter (KC Roasters)
#15 : Howdia Estate (click here)
Located in the Western Ghats, Howdia Estate lies on the foothills of the Megamalai mountain range, also known as the ‘High Wavy Mountains’ for its cloud-covered peaks. The estate is sprawled over 60 acres of land and sits at an altitude of 5,000 feet, surrounded by reserve forest. Coffee is grown across 30 acres, while the rest of the estate is covered in cardamom. The estate’s shade-grown coffee varieties include Arabica Selection 9, Cauvery and Catimor.
The current owner of the estate, Sheikh is a second generation coffee farmer who has been maintaining the plantation since 1995. Our seasonal series from Howdia Estate is made with coffee cherries picked from 20 year-old plants, fermented overnight to remove excess mucilage and laid to dry in the sun for one week. (17)
Coffees of 2022 : Catimor from Bluetokai
#16 : Ram Estate (click here)
Currently managed by the 5th generation of the family, Ram Estate has been growing coffee since the 1860s. The estate is strategically located in the crest of Pulney Hills in Kamanur village. The farm is bordered on one side by a brook, famously known as ‘Panjarathu Oodai’ which derives its name from the fact that the brook has never been dry even during the famine.
In Ram Estate, coffee trees are grown under the two-tier canopy structure ranging from Jackfruit and silver oak to silk cotton trees. Here, the S9 Arabica coffee variety is grown apart from Pepper, Hill Banana and Avocado trees. The entire farm is professionally maintained under the consultation of an agronomist. They also use customised organic fertiliser which ensures that adequate nutrients are provided for the plantation avoiding any oversupply or deficiency in nutrient requirements.
Continuous efforts are undertaken in order to maintain shade density, such as the re-plantation of ‘shade trees’ on a periodic need-basis and the annual pruning of trees. With support from dedicated farm workers, the best practices in the industry are adopted for coffee harvesting; right from picking fully grown red cherries to cleaning, sorting and removing the floaters and drying the beans on beds.
Cleanliness has been a motto of the estate since its inception and is ingrained in each stakeholder involved in the estate’s maintenance. An abundant presence of flora and fauna along with exotic birds lends rich biodiversity to the estate. From its humble beginning, Ram Estate has steadily developed into a state-of-the-art facility that is now geared up to provide high-quality coffee to the coffee connoisseurs of the world. (18)
For someone with strong roots in Palani, iam beyond stoked about the coffee from this estate. The estate’s coffee is one of the rare times i raved about washed process. Also Barista on Bike Magic. Cant wait to create year-on-year series with the wonderful coffees from Ram Estate