Authors: Manasa Karanam & Levine Lawrence
Are you one of those who cannot begin your day without a cup of coffee… Do you find it difficult to collect your thoughts and express yourself without caffeine… Then you must have visited a festival to celebrate everything about this magical drink that makes the world go buzzing!
India Coffee Trust and the Coffee Board of India organized the seventh edition of the India International Coffee Festival (IICF) in Bengaluru in January 2018. The main objective of IICF 2018 to promote the Indian coffees globally and build a brand for our local specialty coffees. “Express yourself with coffee” – the theme of the fest best represented this endeavor. The event is projecting ‘coffee tourism’ to build a brand and help small farmers add value to their produce by growing organic coffee and specialty estate coffee varieties.
The IICF festival had a plethora of activities such as skill workshops on coffee brewing and machinery handling, coffee tasting sessions of specialty estate coffees, networking sessions for buyers-sellers, conferences for experts to present their insights, awards for top brands, and even a quiz on coffee!
Insights from eminent experts at IICF festival
José Dauster Settle, Executive Director, International Coffee Organization spoke about gaining a global coffee outlook by addressing challenges to meet future demand. Indian producers have a great opportunity to cater to massive demand from expanding domestic and export markets. However, climate change is going to be the biggest challenge, since 50% of the cultivated land will be unsuitable by 2050. Further, there is a large gender gap with just 30% of women working in the industry, so we need to help farmers to overcome these long-term environmental and social issues, Settle opined.
Srivatsa Krishna, CEO, Coffee Board of India served a strong dose of espresso with his wake-up call. He stated, “There is no doubt the Indian coffee industry is at a crucial turning point where government subsidies have dried up while coffee prices have fallen. So when you come to a crucial juncture in life, you need to confront your problems and fight it out. The most fundamental changes needed are planters need to become tech savvy, improve their supply chain, build brands and ensure product traceability. Product origin details are essential since export markets are stringent about prevention of chemical contamination and sustainability.”
So it is essential to grow organically and build trust among buyers. Krishna felt that organic coffee or gourmet coffee can really build the brand of specialty coffee in India and get maximum value for growers. In this endeavor, the Coffee Board is undertaking various initiatives such as ‘coffee tourism’ where they offer “Bean to cup trails” for tourists who visit home stays in coffee estates and understand the processing of coffee production.
Brands showcased at India International Coffee Festival
Araku Valley is a picturesque valley nestled deep inside the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh, which has emerged as the prime location for organic coffee grown by tribes. The recent development of organic coffee plantations in Araku Valley has been a boon to the tribal population here, since it has provided them with a viable alternative to their traditional methods of shifting cultivation.
Araku Aroma is a premium coffee blend from the Araku Valley, where tribal farmers handpick the organically grown coffee beans from their high elevation plantations. Produced by Krish Food & Fun, this coffee is characterised by medium body, medium to sharp acidity and intense aroma with spicy notes. The company has invested INR2.5 crore to set up a coffee roasting facility and market tribal grown coffees. Further, it has signed an agreement with tribal community, to spend 10% of its profits from selling Araku Aroma to procure anti-venom drugs and for providing medical facilities to the tribal community.
Bengaluru being one of the most caffeine addicted cities in India enabled the emergence of Hatti Kaapi, a quintessential mom & pop coffee stores serving filter coffee. The store was started by Mahendar in 2009, who hails from a coffee grower’s family. Hatti Kaapi started its journey with just INR5 per cup which grew exponentially to 2,800 cups a day in just 27 day, which enabled it to become a filter coffee brand. Currently, the company serve 40,000 cups per day across 46 outlets in Bengaluru and Hyderabad many of which are also located in corporate campuses.
Now Hatti Kaapi has evolved to become large food brand serving filter coffee and pure coffee varieties, South Indian snacks like Akki Rotti, Rice Roti Roll, Nuchina Unde, Honey with black coffee and Puliyogare in a few selected outlets. A key aspect of Hatti Kaapi’s business is employing physically challenged and senior citizens in their cafes and production units.
Western Ghats is one of the eight most important hotspots of global bio-diversity, which has a total of thirty nine properties including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Understanding the importance of preserving this biodiversity, Wild Kaapi was launched as the India’s first wildlife-friendly coffee certified by the Global Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network.
Wild Kaapi’s objective is to produce wildlife-friendly coffee and manage actions of around 1,100 coffee farmers across the Western Ghats in Karnataka. Being certified wildlife-friendly, their main aim is to build sustainable livelihood and create a network of coffee growers who foster wildlife on their lands while serving the highest quality, freshly roasted coffee to the consumers. A recent project in measuring biodiversity on 187 coffee, areca and rubber plantations has identified specific elements of coffee management that offer both direct and ancillary wildlife conservation benefits.
True South brings you ready-to-use coffee through a decoction dispenser. This readymade solution is created by a few coffee planters. True South comes in pouches, whose lifespan is up to 5 months hence, they can also be shipped overseas with friends and family. These coffee planters wanted to make good coffee available easily so came up with this amazing idea. True South’s filter coffee is offered through a ready-to-use decoction dispenser machine that was perfected over four years of development and innovation. The machine produces consistent quality coffee by mixing ready-to-use decoction, milk and sugar. The decoction varies from classic to royal, which are slightly different from each other varying in percentage of coffee and chicory.
For those who travel a lot and miss the taste of filter coffee, Habicaf provides a unique readymade authentic filter coffee decoction anytime you desire. Habicaf (acronym of habit and coffee) is a Mysore-based venture started by Vijai Bopanna recently in 2017. Bopanna hails from Kodagu which is synonymous for coffee estates.
Apart from making this filter coffee from the coffee powder from Bopanna’s hometown, Habicaf also produces decoction sachets that are specially designed to retain the aroma of coffee. From regular coffee they are planning on to come up with various flavors like Vanilla, Cinnamon, Hazelnut and much more including Herbals from health point of view. Habicaf is now available in Mysuru and Bengaluru, soon they will be selling their products across India through an e-commerce platform.
Bayar’s Coffee is a reputed coffee roasters in South India established in 1971 by Ramchandra Rao. Several million cups of Bayar’s coffee is served everyday rediscovering the authentic taste of coffee having large number of outlets across Bengaluru. This famous coffee brand has now launched a new premium product ‘Red Sirocco’ for the Indian domestic market.
Red Sirocco is brewed from the finest Arabica specialty coffee beans sourced from India, Kenya and Columbia. Catering exclusively to the taste buds of coffee connoisseurs, Red Sirocco will be retailed at INR1,000-2,000 per kg. Bayar’s is also endeavoring to impart coffee education experience in India by regularly organizing coffee tasting sessions.
Eltex Marketing Services is a large manufacturer of Coffee machinery and accessories which was established in Tamil Nadu in 1982. The company has now pioneered into producing accessories ranging from espresso machine, coffee filters to temperature gauges that are equipped with latest technologies. They use advanced machines with fine grade materials and have adapted cutting edge quality testing units as per latest industrial norms. Due to these reasons they have been able to produce exquisite design, light-weight metal, longer life and also in terms of quality and price. The company’s enthusiastic approach has enabled in meeting maximum clients such as Barista, Hindustan Unilever, Cafe Coffee Day, etc.