Coffee from south of Mysore brews Veerappan back to life

Written by RajeshRavi | Kochi | Updated: Dec 8 2012, 09:26am hrs
Notorious brigand Veerappan is unlikely to have tasted mocha or a latte in his lifetime. But years after his death in a police encounter, Veerappan is making waves among coffee aficionados and brewed passionately across the world.

Veer Attikan, the coffee from Biligiris, derives a part of its name from Veerappan and is slated for the competition section in the Grand Barista Championship 2012 to be held in Australia.

Veer Attikan comes from the area where Veerappan held sway for many years. Veer also means valour and courage. This coffee is now gaining popularity across the globe, Sunalini Menon, CEO of Coffeelabs, a Bangalore-based coffee-consulting firm told FE.

The distinctive coffee with unique cupping characteristics has won several awards in a short period of time, she added.

Experts say that the spicy and complex coffee delivers a bold coating mouth-feel, clove and cinnamon kick with a syrupy, molasses like sweetness that lingers long after the final sip.

Biligiri Rangan Hills is located to the south of Mysore and the name literally means White Hills as it is perpetually soaked in a hanging mist.

Top management of the 120-year-old Attikan Estate avoided visiting the estate during the time of Veerapan fearing kidnap.

The imposing mountain range is home to over 1,800 acres of coffee plantations flanked by protected sanctuary on all sides. The pioneer behind Attikan estates is Randolph Hayton Morris who came to the hills in 1888, ignoring those who discouraged him from pursuing his mission.

Coffee experts say that India is an attractive coffee origin because in India coffee is grown in shade and are frequently intercropped with spices and tend to pick up intriguing aromatics from these crops.

Specialty coffee is distinguished by its clear origin, distinction made by careful cultivation practices, careful routine of plucking, special processing and of course, special branding, special handling and appearance, Jawaid Akhtar, chairman of the Coffee Board said.

India offers several varieties of specialty coffees that are received well in the international market particularly European Union, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Scandinavia etc. The noted specialty coffees of India are Monsooned coffee, Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold and Robusta Kaapi Royale. In case of Monsooned coffee we have Geographical Indication (GI) also, he added. India, the world's fifth biggest producer, accounts for only 4.5 % of the world's output, but exports 70-80 % of its produce.

Coffee production in 2011-12 (October-September) is pegged at 5.3 million bags (One bag contains 60 kg of coffee bean).