Evolution of the Indian coffee culture – Sanjib Chakraborty
I was invited to a friend’s home for breakfast and I enjoyed the first few cups from a gem of a coffee maker machine he picked up during his recent visit to London.
Come to think of it, I have transformed into a coffee lover during the last decade of my sojourn in Africa where in earlier I was a die hard tea drinker. I still have my two cups of tea everyday but in between it’s only coffee.
My country India may not be as famous for this particular beverage as most European nations are. But, little do people know that we are the 6th biggest coffee producers in the world. The landscape, weather and processing conditions have given our coffee a less acidic and unique flavor. For these reasons alone, it has never run out of demand.
But what’s worth noting is that, out of our production, only about 33% is used domestically and the rest is exported worldwide. This highlights our loyalty to tea. We’ve gotten so attached to tea that any beverage that isn’t tea doesn’t sit well on an Indian stomach – or so it was until recently. According to numerous studies, our tea culture is shifting gradually towards a delicious coffee culture. The coffee culture in India actually has a history that dates back to the 1670s when an Indian Muslim saint smuggled seven beans and planted them in the country. This plantation grew over the years, until India decided to focus on exporting them to the rest of the world.
At the beginning, however, it was considered to be a drink of the privileged. Rich and educated classes were mostly among them and the rest settled to drink tea. But with time, coffee became a specialty beverage in India and later spread to other areas. As of now, coffee is consumed by almost anyone, regardless of their caste or religion.