Bababudangiri, pronounced as "baba-budan-giri," is a mountain range nestled in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, India. The region sits at an altitude of approximately 1,900 meters above sea level and is home to some of the oldest coffee plantations in India. Interestingly, it is believed that the coffee culture in India was introduced by a Sufi saint named Baba Budan in the 17th century, after whom the region is named.
Coffee has been grown in the Bababudangiri region for over 350 years. It is said that Baba Budan, during his pilgrimage to Mecca, brought back seven coffee beans from Yemen and planted them in the hills of Bababudangiri. This marked the beginning of coffee cultivation in India. Over the centuries, coffee production in the region has expanded, and today, Bababudangiri is renowned for producing some of the finest Indian specialty coffee.
While specific information about farming and processing methods in the Bababudangiri region is limited, it is known that coffee farming in India generally follows sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Most coffee farms in India are shade-grown, meaning that coffee plants are grown under a canopy of native trees. This method not only protects the plants from extreme weather conditions but also promotes biodiversity and improves soil fertility.
In terms of processing, the majority of Indian coffee is processed using the wet or washed method. This involves removing the outer skin and pulp from the coffee cherries, followed by fermentation in water to remove the remaining mucilage. The beans are then washed, dried, and sorted for quality. This method typically results in a clean and bright flavor profile in the final cup. Some farms in India also practice dry or natural processing, where the coffee cherries are dried whole before the outer layers are removed, resulting in a fruitier and more complex flavor. It is likely that a combination of these processing methods is employed in the Bababudangiri region.
Coffees from the Bababudangiri region are known for their unique and complex flavor profiles. Due to the region's high altitude and fertile soil, these coffees showcase bright acidity and distinct fruity and floral notes. A typical Bababudangiri coffee may exhibit flavors of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and papaya, complemented by floral and citrus undertones. The coffees also tend to have a medium to full body, with a smooth, velvety mouthfeel.
While specific information on well-known farms and farmers in the Bababudangiri region is scarce, it is worth mentioning that the region as a whole is gaining recognition in the global specialty coffee community. In recent years, Indian coffee from the Bababudangiri region has been featured in several international coffee competitions, further showcasing the exceptional quality and unique flavors of coffee from this historic growing region.