India's Andhra Pradesh region is home to a unique and exquisite coffee-growing area. Pronounced "Ahn-dra Prah-desh," this southeastern state boasts lush landscapes and a rich coffee heritage. The coffee farms in Andhra Pradesh are situated at an altitude of around 900 to 1,100 meters above sea level. One interesting fact about this region is that it is one of the few places in the world where coffee is grown in both shade and sun.
Coffee cultivation in Andhra Pradesh dates back to the 18th century when the British introduced the crop to the region. Since then, coffee has become an integral part of the local economy and culture. Coffee from Andhra Pradesh has gained recognition and appreciation worldwide for its distinct taste and aroma. The Araku Valley, known for its bio-diverse ecosystem, is one of the most prominent coffee-growing regions in Andhra Pradesh.
While specific farming and processing methods in Andhra Pradesh might vary, it is known that the majority of the coffee is shade-grown. This means that coffee plants are grown under a canopy of taller trees, which creates a microclimate that allows for the optimal growth of high-quality coffee beans. The shade also provides a habitat for diverse flora and fauna, promoting biodiversity and ecological balance.
In India, and likely in Andhra Pradesh as well, coffee is typically processed using the wet or washed method. This method involves removing the pulp from the coffee cherries and then fermenting the beans in water to remove the mucilage. After fermentation, the beans are washed, dried, and sorted. This method is considered to produce a cleaner and brighter flavor profile compared to other processing methods.
Coffees grown in the Andhra Pradesh region are known for their unique tasting notes, which can be attributed to the blend of fertile soil, altitude, and processing methods. The coffee beans from this region feature a medium to full body with a smooth mouthfeel. The flavor profile is characterized by a pleasant acidity, mild fruity sweetness, and subtle hints of chocolate or caramel.The Araku Valley coffee, in particular, is renowned for its well-balanced taste with notes of red fruit, chocolate, and a hint of spice. This coffee has gained international recognition and appreciation from coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.
One notable organization working in the Andhra Pradesh coffee sector is the Araku Coffee brand, which is a social enterprise that empowers small-scale coffee farmers in the Araku Valley. They work with over 10,000 tribal farmers, providing them with training and support in sustainable and organic coffee farming practices. Their efforts have resulted in the production of high-quality, organic coffee beans that have gained recognition at global specialty coffee competitions.
Additionally, the Naandi Foundation, an Indian non-profit organization, has played an instrumental role in promoting sustainable and organic coffee farming in the Araku Valley. Their initiatives have helped improve the livelihoods of local farmers while preserving the region's biodiversity.
Overall, the Andhra Pradesh coffee region holds a unique place within the global coffee landscape. Its rich history, distinctive farming practices, and exceptional flavor profiles make it a must-try for any coffee enthusiast.