This writer has spent many fragrant Decembers at her maternal grandparents’ coffee estate in Kodagu. As a plantation kid who married another, I can smell harvest season from miles away. I can close my eyes and go over the morning plantation rituals: days with noisy beginnings and quiet ends; workers trickling into the middle. Evenings filled with dramatic and competitive story telling sessions about how many elephants tried to kill the crop or lurking big cats who’ve become like pets.
Harvest season lasts only until the end of this month, so if you're planning a plantation visit, go now. The estates are abuzz with activity, but still there is peace that warms your heart, quite like a strong cuppa filter coffee. Currently, untimely rains have filled the estates with unexpected sugary-white cherry blossoms,which means you won’t be needing any sweet in your cup.
Woodway Estate: To Meet A Tiger Tracking Roaster
Chikmagalur planter and wildlife conservationist Shreedev Hulikere runs this estate in the Giri hills and tracks tigers in his spare time. The coffee fruit though, is his “pride and joy”, and he refers to it as “she” in the same way that a captain speaks about his ship. Here in the coffee bushes of his ancestral plantation home, Woodway, he will wax eloquent about stripes and tails, while someone makes up your bed inside. They let you sleep over, see how coffee is made (and drink a boat load too!), cycle around the estate, watch birds, play golf and eat akki roti and koli saaru (chicken curry). But what you should really be doing is sniffing around the plantation for this scoop: Shreedev has just developed his new brand of coffee, and intends to have it out on the shelves this year.
Woodway Estate, Chikmagalur, 5-hour drive from Bangalore, visit http://www.woodwayhomestay.com/.
Currently, untimely rains have filled the estates with unexpected sugary-white cherry blossoms,which means you won’t be needing any sweet in your cup.
Kallu Copa Estate: For The New Bean From Coorg
So far, Kallu Coppa, the sexy Arabiaca that four months ago got the hills to peak…er perk up, was available only in Coorg. Now finally, they ship to Bangalore, which means you can nod in agreement with co-founder Narain Kuttaiah when he says, “I have disdain for the generic dark roast”. And so for snobs was born Kallu Copa coffee on the hills of Pollibetta, with beans sourced from Narain’s own estate of the same name, and ten others in the neighbourhood owned by cousins and friends, kind of like a community coffee pot (luck). We’ve tried this aromatic roast, and suggest you order a packet, despite the long wait.
Visit and buy through www.kallucoppacoffee.com, Rs 120 for a 200 gms packet.
With beans sourced from Narain’s own estate of the same name, and ten others in the neighbourhood owned by cousins and friends, it's kind of like a community coffee pot (luck).
School Estate Homestay: Apply Filter
Lush and lording over 100 acres, the School Estate Homestay is a 110 year old colonial bungalow and plantation run by the famously hospitable Rani Aiyappa. The coffee estate is beautiful enough to warrant a #NoFilter (kapi) pun, and besides letting you go on coffee berry picking expeditions, they also teach you how to angle for fat, silver mahseer fish in the river Cauvery and grill them for dinner. Those whose moms won’t let them stay overnight, can walk through the estate and take back homegrown coffee and pepper.
Visit www.schoolestate.in/experience, approx 5 hour drive from Bangalore.
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