Chikmagalur – A coffee lover’s delight

Good ideas start with coffee, and great vacations start with good coffee. And, if you are a coffee lover, then maybe you can spend your holidays amidst the source of coffee. Like a relaxing and luxurious vacation in the middle of coffee plantations in Chikmagalur.  The lush green plantations, emanating a smoky aroma, the Coffee Land of Karnataka is indeed a coffee lover’s delight. If you’re looking to go on a vacation over the weekend, head from Bangalore to Chikmagalur to spend time in coffee paradise.

The business of coffee plantations in the state is quite historic. In the 17th century, this ‘foreign beverage’ was introduced by Baba Buddan Shah. This Arab Sufi saint had brought coffee seeds with him when he was traveling through the Deccan region. It is said, that he had only seven beans, which he got from the port of Mocha in Yemen, and then planted it here in the wilderness of Chikmagalur. Apparently, this was the first ever coffee plantation in India and holds a significant place in the coffee production of the country. Later the British officials brought a stronger variety, thus giving the region two significant kinds of coffee which, later was to become the most sought-after brews in the world.

Coffee is grown

The plantations of Chikmagalur grows about 80 different kinds of coffees. But the most commonly grown coffee varieties are Arabica and Robusta. The highlight of the coffee produced in this region is the shading technique. Tall trees are planted aligning the coffee shrubs to give enough shade, so they are protected from harsh weather, but still get ample sunlight, air, and rain. Such shade-grown coffees are known to be one of the world’s best.

Exploring the plantations

The Chikmagalur coffee plantations are regarded as one of the top 25 bio-diversity hotspots of the world. Just as the dense foliage of plantations and its surrounding landscape make for a natural retreat, the coffee yields contribute a great deal to the region’s socio-economic development.

The landscape of Chikmagalur is dominated by the terraced plantations of thick coffee shrubs. The alternating shades of green, dotted with its red fruits is indeed an enchanting sight. While the greenery is a treat for the eyes, the fresh air, and the earthy smell of the moist soil and fresh beans is titillating to your olfactory senses. The plantations make for a great walk through the nature trails, intervened by sparkling waterfalls, or rising mountains. Overall, the natural bounties of Chikmagalur is a perfect combination if you are seeking a holistic vacation of relaxation, adventure, and some thrill.

You can take a guided tour of the coffee plantations in Chikmagalur and experience the detailed processes and techniques that go behind your favorite cup of warmth. From tending to planting, plucking, and harvesting, you can get a first-hand experience of the plantation workers in action.

You can also sample a few of the finest brews of these plantations. The Coffee Board, for instance, holds coffee tasting sessions where you can sample mini shots of their most exclusive varieties of coffee. There is also a Coffee Museum on the premise where you can find historical information on coffee varieties, earlier brewing machines, and other equipment. Stop by at the gift store to pick up some souvenirs and coffee samples for home.

Plantation stay

The best way to experience Chikmagalur and its coffee bliss is to stay within one of its plantations. There are plenty of homestays run by the estate owners, or guest houses and luxury resorts of leading coffee brands like Tata or Coffee Day. Here you can wake up and smell the coffee every day, literally! Even if you live in a different part of the country, you can fly down and book airport cabs from Bangalore to get there. The panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, hills, and valleys make your stay a retreat in the real sense. The warm cottages, complemented by home-cooked meals, and of course, a cup of fresh brewed coffee and coffee desserts to wrap up the day, can make your holidays perfect!