By P.T. Bopanna
While most of my dozen Facebook pages are Coorg-centric, my ‘Coorg Coffee’ page is perhaps the only one which has a pan Indian appeal. The page followed by over 1,500 people is all set to complete five years later this year.
I started the page mainly because I am a native of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka which is the biggest grower of coffee in India. I was also buoyed by the fact that my book ‘The Romance of Indian Coffee’ had won the Gourmand international award for the ‘best coffee book in the world’ for 2015.
The page is meant to enlighten planters on the major challenges being faced by the coffee industry due to the ecological crisis which hangs over shade-grown coffee plantations on account of global warming and climate change, brought about by large-scale deforestation. That challenge could be met by preserving the Western Ghats biosphere, the core of the coffee growing region in India.
Coorg Coffee page also tries to highlight how Indian coffee is unique and stands out in the global market. Unlike the coffee produced in other countries, Indian coffee is totally shade-grown, and is much in demand internationally.
In this era of globalisation, shade-grown Indian coffee has acquired the tag of specialty coffee because coffee grown under the shade of forest trees has a distinct taste of nature which enhances the cupping quality.
Another area where Indian coffee growers can make a difference in the global market is by taking up organic cultivation. A shift to organic cultivation will increase the value of the produce and contribute towards sustainable coffee plantations.
Like in most of my ventures, I involve people with core competence in the area. I am being supported by Dr Anand Titus Pereira, who has worked diligently on sustainable technologies for the past two decades. He shares his knowledge to coffee planters through his popular posts on my page.
Muccatira devaiah, based in the United States, also assists me in running the page.
The coffee page is dedicated to Ivor Bull (in picture), a pioneer planter and the founder of the Consolidated Coffee Estates Ltd., Pollibetta, in Coorg. Bull, an Englishman, considered as Father of Indian Coffee, was a legend in his lifetime in the pre-Independent era. He encouraged Coorg planters to grow oranges, cardamom and pepper along with coffee. The inter-planting vastly improved the economic condition of the small planters.
To know the latest trends in the coffee industry, follow the Coorg Coffee page link below: