Nestled in the southern part of India, the Travancore region, pronounced as "truh-van-kohr," boasts a rich history of coffee cultivation. Located in the state of Kerala, the region sits at an altitude ranging from 500 to 1500 meters above sea level, making it ideal for coffee growth. An interesting fact about Travancore coffee is that it has been grown here for more than 200 years, with the region being one of the pioneers of coffee cultivation in India.
Coffee has been grown in the Travancore region for over two centuries, with the first coffee plantations established by the British East India Company in the early 1800s. The region's fertile soil, high altitude, and favorable climate made it an ideal location for coffee cultivation. Over time, the coffee industry in Travancore flourished, and the region gained a reputation for producing some of the finest coffees in India. Today, Travancore coffee is highly sought-after by specialty coffee connoisseurs worldwide.
The coffee farms in Travancore are primarily small-scale, family-owned estates. Farmers in this region take great pride in their coffee cultivation and are committed to using sustainable and eco-friendly farming methods. Shade-grown coffee is a common practice in Travancore, as it helps maintain the natural ecosystem and promotes biodiversity. While specific processing methods may vary from farm to farm, the majority of the coffee in India, including the Travancore region, is wet-processed. This method involves removing the coffee cherry's pulp and skin, fermenting the beans to break down any remaining mucilage, and then washing and drying the beans.
Wet processing typically results in a clean and bright cup profile, which is characteristic of many Indian coffees. However, some farms in the region may also use the dry or natural processing method, which involves drying the coffee cherries in the sun with the skin and pulp intact, resulting in a fruitier and more complex flavor profile.
Travancore coffees are known for their balanced and nuanced flavor profiles. Often described as medium-bodied with a smooth and velvety mouthfeel, these coffees exhibit delicate acidity and a mild sweetness. Common flavor notes found in Travancore coffees include chocolate, caramel, nuts, and mild fruity undertones. The wet processing method used by most farms in the region contributes to the clean and bright cup quality of Travancore coffee, making it a delightful and sophisticated coffee experience.
While there are numerous small-scale coffee farms in the Travancore region, one standout estate is the Peermade Coffee Estate. Established in the early 1900s, the Peermade Coffee Estate has been family-owned for generations and is known for its commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly farming practices. The estate produces high-quality Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, which have garnered a reputation for their exceptional flavor profiles and have been recognized with several awards in recent years.
As specialty coffee enthusiasts continue to explore the vast and diverse world of coffee, the Travancore region in India stands out as a unique and captivating origin. With its rich history, sustainable farming practices, and distinct flavor profiles, Travancore coffee is sure to delight and intrigue coffee lovers across the globe.