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From farm to cup – How the coffee brewing culture in India is evolving

Here’s how coffee became a lifestyle beverage in a predominantly tea-drinking nation like India.

From farm to cup – How the coffee brewing culture in India is evolving
Is coffee harmful? Know it from the expert

India is majorly considered as a tea-drinking nation, with filter ‘Kaapi’ mostly consumed in the southern parts of the country. With time, coffee became a part of our lifestyle. People started counting on coffee farmers, beans and roasters, not just the high-end luxury coffee shops. This came when people started showing interest in the flavour profiles of each bean a region or processing method produces. To understand this evolution, details about the coffee market, the per capita consumption of coffee, and more, we got in touch with Nishant Sinha, founder of Roastery Coffee House. Here’s what he has to say:

How is coffee brewing culture evolving in India?

India’s coffee culture is undergoing a revolution at the moment. We are drinking and brewing more coffee than ever before. There is genuine curiosity, interest and eagerness to drink, brew, understand and know more about Indian coffee among Indians.

What are the coffee trends?

The biggest change that has happened is the exodus from instant coffee to specialty coffee. It’s not a fleeting trend, rather a lifestyle change that is here to stay.

More people are inclined to drink good coffee and they are ready to go the extra mile for it. The ‘extra mile’ in this case happens to be, investing in specialty coffee, investing in home brewing equipment, and investing a little more time every day in brewing specialty coffee at home.

What is organic coffee? How is it better?

Speciality coffee refers to the highest-grade coffee available. It is single-estate coffee that is grown in small batches under expert supervision and care.

Speciality coffee is grown in small batches, at the perfect altitude, at the right time and in quality soil. From cultivation to processing, the coffee is always under expert supervision and care at all stages.

The beans are then roasted by experts with utmost attention and care. These freshly roasted beans are then brewed to produce coffee that has complex flavour profiles and is delicious.

How does the taste differ?

Specialty coffee is delicious coffee. Store-bought instant coffee lacks complexities in flavour, depth, and freshness and is stale. Speciality coffee tastes delicious because of the effort and attention that goes into cultivating it, roasting it and then brewing it.

Is coffee harmful?

Coffee is not harmful. It has many health benefits, it is anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, it boosts heart and brain health. However, anything in excess can be harmful and coffee is no exception.

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How coffee became an art and became a lifestyle beverage in a predominantly tea-drinking nation like India?

India has always been a tea-drinking nation. As far as coffee is concerned, it was always instant coffee except in southern India, where filter coffee is a popular beverage.

In the 2000s, when Indian youngsters started to travel and explore the world, they were introduced to delicious coffee in the west, but more importantly, they explored a coffee culture that didn’t exist at all in India. Exposure to American films and sitcoms also contributed to the demand for a coffee and cafe culture among Indian youth.

There was a growing demand and slowly, there were brands to fulfil the need for good quality coffee, various brews and active cafe culture.

How has India seen a Spike in the per capita consumption of coffee over the last 10 years?

India is brewing and drinking more coffee than ever before. Interestingly, there is a raging demand for good Indian coffee. In fact, the demand is such that Indian farmers are more inclined to sell their produce to Indian brands rather than exporting, which they have always done before.

Young Indian speciality brands like ours pay premium if not fair prices to farmers. This further motivates farmers to produce superior-quality crops.

-The rise in the awareness of coffee and its types in the younger generation

There is awareness, interest and eagerness about coffee among students and working professionals across cities and towns in India.

The pandemic worked in favour of the Indian coffee industry. The youngsters were already actively visiting cafes for specialty coffee. When the cafes were closed during the lockdown, there was a demand for cafes like coffee so they started educating themselves about home brewing. As a matter of fact, once somebody sets on the home brewing journey, there is no looking back. The community of homebrewers began to grow ever since.

-New-age Indian entrepreneurs – Indian market and developing products for making artisanal coffee

New coffee entrepreneurs realised the potential of Indian coffee. Indian coffee is one of the world’s finest shade-grown coffees. Plus, monsoons contribute significantly to its complex flavour profile. There is a demand for Indian coffee among coffee lovers across the globe.

For centuries, 70 per cent of our coffee was exported. Only since the last decade, farmers in India are choosing to sell their crops to Indian brands rather than exporting. New coffee brands like us, pay a premium if not fair prices to the farmers. We have been able to build a relationship with farmers where we work closely with them to produce superior-quality crops.

Indian consumers are drinking more coffee than ever before. They are eager to explore various estates and various brews. The home brewing community is growing and more people are dropping by cafes to drink their choice of brew.

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First published on: 01-12-2022 at 15:31 IST