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Coffee sutra: An expert’s recommendation on Chikkamagaluru’s best coffees

A cup of coffee complements all south Indian meals
Image courtesy: ©Santhosh Varghese/

A historic destination for coffee cultivation in India, Chikkamagaluru is where it all began in the 17th century after a Sufi pilgrim smuggled in a few coffee beans from Mecca. The lineage continues with abundant production till this date. Indian coffee is truly sustainable – environmentally, economically, and socially. And the coffee from Chikkamagaluru is well known in the world market.

The highlight of a coffee trail is naturally the opportunity to taste good coffee. A third-generation coffee grower from Chikkamagaluruu at Woodway Estates and Homestay, Shreedev Hulikere is a connoisseur who gives a lowdown on the region’s best coffees.

Also Read: Shaken and stirred: get your cocktail fix at home

Also Read: Coffee trail in Bengaluru

Plantation Harvest 

A coffee plantation in Chikkamagaluru
A coffee plantation in Chikkamagaluru
Image courtesy: ©purplebeans/

If you harvest a kilo from a coffee plant, you will end up with seven types of coffee. These include Peaberry, Browns, Blacks and bits, Elephantine beans, A, B, C grades, and so on. Coffee harvested from one slope on Plantation A will taste different from another slope. The weather, aspect, and accent of the slope, type, and age of the plant, shade cover, and type of soil all affect the final taste of that coffee bean.

Popular Blends

Chicory infused coffee is a popular blend
Chicory infused coffee is a popular blend
Image courtesy: ©Nikolaeva Galina/

Arabica & Robusta: In traditional homes in Karnataka you will get a tumbler of coffee that’s Arabica with a dash of robusta. Arabica is mild and aromatic and robusta is a wake-up shot of caffeine. Arabica is gaining popularity for use in AeroPress coffee makers, and robustas are chosen for expressos.

Peaberry & Chicory: India is the only country that allows 49 percent of chicory to be added to your coffee. Peaberry is used as an export reject. Both are not for coffee connoisseurs but are cheap for mass consumption.

Types of coffee

The espresso originated from Italy
The espresso originated from Italy
Image courtesy: ©MiMaLeFi/

Espresso: Dark roast, fine-grind it for a strong shot of coffee.

Latte: Light roast, coarse-grind it for a cup of coffee with milk.

Cappuccino: Medium, for a frothy, milky cup of coffee.

A vintage south Indian filter coffee drip maker
A vintage south Indian filter coffee drip maker
Image courtesy: ©AnilD/

South Indian filter kaapi: Coffee with milk from a south Indian filter; our ancestors preferred it black with jaggery.