How good is Indian coffee?

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Traditionally, India has been an exporter of Robusta, mainly to the Italians for their espresso blends, and two or three internationally famous Arabicas - Monsooned Malabar, Mysore Nugget and Peaberry.

Depending on the source, type of roast and method of brewing, it can be a love or hate type of polarising experience with these.

In addition, India also exports ( and re-exports) a sizeable quantity of instant coffee powder.

Lavazza, Illy & more recently Coca Cola (Georgia brand) & Starbucks are bulk buyers & exporters of Indian coffee beans.

Most of the Indian farms are still struck in the colonial era and content with origin less 1st & 2nd wave farming & processing of coffee beans. They are fairly disconnected with their international specialty coffee counterparts.

Thankfully the last decade has seen more than 20 (and counting ..) 3rd wave style roasters and specialty coffee marketers in India. Many of them are doing as much as they can given the local trade conditions, to uplift the entire chain from the farm to the cup, some with help of international coffee experts.

Of particular note in this specialty coffee bunch, and luckily just the ones you can order and sample from your location are:

Blue Tokai is the first ‘brave’ one to experiment with and retail light roasts of Indian origin Arabica.

Their cafes are top notch with well trained baristas, La Marzocco espresso machines, Mahlkonig EK 43 & Vario K30 Air grinders, offering everything from good old espresso to V60 pour overs, cold brews & nitro brews etc.

There are at least a dozen more like them of comparable quality and different varieties but unfortunately they retail only locally in India unless one contacts them & orders in bulk.

The full list curated by us can be found here

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