The Planter : MSP Coffee
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 (1)
The Estate : Orchadale
Orchardale Estate is the baby among all our estates being the newest addition to our group of properties. It is one of the highest coffee plantations in the Shevaroys with fields ranging between 4700 and 5000 feet above mean sea level. The bauxite soil is rich and deep producing excellent coffee and oranges with huge potential for producing our best coffee yet. Most of the planting area is west facing and newly planted with Chandragiri, S.5B and S.9 varieties of Arabica. Orchardale Estate is also home to the highest campsite in the Shevaroys with a capacity of accommodating in excess of 50 people with regular training camps for both children and adults. Oh and the sunsets here are truly a magical experience. (2)
The Roaster : Blue Tokai
BlueTokai, are indian specialty coffee roasters established in 2013 by Matt Chitharanjan, with cafes now across India. they have varied and lovely selection of coffees and have now also expanded to single origin easy pourover sachets. whether you drink specialty coffee or not, BlueTokai is a name that most cafe-frequents are familiar with. when I first started shifting towards specialty coffee, I was hesitant to try BT because I saw their coffee as part of the Koffee with Karan coffee hamper and assumed it would be too much for me. they had so much information on their pack – what’s with the varietals and processes and why are you sending me whole beans?! now I find comfort in that brown paper bag. it has every info I need and I can be assured of the best roast and handling of the beans. throughout this journey, my fondness for BT has grown just as much as they have. it’s not easy to firmly plant your roots and grow in a country that predominantly drinks tea or strong “kaapi”. it’s not easy to cater to Reddit-snobs while still serving coffees in their signature blue ceramics to the non-initiated. but BT has done it. BT stands strong as symbol of having understood what people need – coffee that they can enjoy, just as they want it.
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What I Want To Remember
Orchadale has brilliant coffee, though no surprises there. Okay, so i dint get mango, white chocolate or strawberries – notes on the roaster pack. For me this coffee was a really flavourful cup. It was bold, good mouthfeel and a very a fruity-tea aftertaste. This worked superbly as a Japanese Iced V60 and also using an Aeropress (Though i did bypass)