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29.06.2017

For a breakfast treat this weekend, may we recommend an aromatic single-origin that goes well with your omelette and respects fulsome biodiversity from the Western Ghats? A new brand of beans called Wild Kaapi, the brainchild of biologist and conservationist Dr. Krithi Karanth, just launched this week, and calls itself “the world’s first wildlife-friendly coffee,” certified by the global Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. 

The certification means that each estate growing the Wild Kaapi coffees practices conscientious farming, and does not disrupt the growth of indigenous species on their property.“Through our research, we found that coffee plantations are more wildlife friendly than areca, rubber and tea,” Krithi explains. “This is because of non-invasive farming techniques and the emphasis on natural shade - coffee farms have a diverse number of trees, amphibians, butterflies and mammals.” 

Paw(r)-Over

Over three years, Krithi and her team conducted an ecological study that tracked 180 plantations, including 61 coffee estates. Nine were audited for certification; currently, four Chikmaglur estates are bringing their brews, named Agora, Bindiga, Corner Stone and Hulikere, to the table. 

Wild Kaapi is trying to create a network of coffee growers who will foster wildlife on their lands while producing high-quality coffee.

All four inaugural Wild Kaapis are 100% Arabica, aromatic and delicate in flavour. “With each variety we stated the geographical location of the coffee’s origin, the wildlife that it grows alongside and the flavour notes that go with it,” says Avinash Sosale, co-founder of Wild Kaapi. 

All-organic Agora is from Kerehauckloo Estate, meaning “valley of lakes.” Rohini Rajagopal, who took up twenty acres of her father’s estate for this experiment, discovered through the certification process that her patch of the garden is “home to 124 species, and some endangered frogs, too!” 

Shreedev Hulikere, coffee grower at Hulikere Estates near Mallandur Forests, is a conservationist himself, and has long been concerned about man-animal conflict. “Through the Wildlife Friendly certificate, coffee growers can be encouraged to increase their brand value and ensure the safety of the animals,” he says. Bean-counting you can approve of?

Wild Kaapi is trying to create a network of coffee growers who will foster wildlife on their lands while producing high-quality coffee. “This is a coffee for a consumer that is discerning and aware,” Avinash tells us. Your discernment will pay a hefty price, of course - but can you begrudge a little extra cash for a crop that’s friends with the Great Indian Gaur and the Malabar Barbet?

Getting there: To buy Wild Kaapi log on to https://wildkaapi.com/.  Prices start at Rs 390 for 250 gms of coffee.  

Image Credit: India Online

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