The Journey of your coffee from Farm to Cup

The Journey of your coffee from Farm to Cup

When you pick up a jar of coffee from the shop, buy a pack online, sip your cappuccino in a fancy café in your town, or pick up a cup of curated coffee at a high-end roastery, do you ever pause to wonder where the magic beans are coming from? If you are a coffee lover, you must be curious about the origin of your coffee, right?

There is a coffee plantation nestled in the valleys of Chikmagalur, Karnataka that has been producing high quality Arabica and Robusta varieties of coffee for the past 100 years. Karadykan Estate, Chikmagalur is a part of the Sangameshwar group of Coffee Estates which is a family owned coffee plantation. It had been originally purchased from the British by founder member Shri. K.S.Vaidyanathan some 70 years back and is presently owned and operated by his grandson Mr. S. Appadurai and his wife Mrs Hamsini Appadurai. The plantation is almost 100 years old and it has been in the family for the past 70 years during which time the family had nurtured the plantation for enhanced production and progress. The farm is split in two parts; one side of it grows Arabica while the other side grows Robusta variety. The whole process of harvesting depends on the monsoon rains, Blossom showers in the plantation lingo, aids the ripening of the crop. The farmer waits for the crops to fully ripen ands acquire a deep burgundy colour before starting the harvesting process. The farm engages around 110 permanent staff members that include supervisors, foremen and labourers. During the harvest season around 300 additional skilled labourers are recruited to facilitate the process of hand picking the crop.

To ensure authenticity, all processes from sowing the seed, nurturing the plant to harvesting and processing are done directly at the farm. Standard and quality are maintained along every step and beans are sold directly to selected roasters who the farmer believes can bring justice to the profile.Sangameshwar grades, sorts and specially processes all its coffee to bring out the best in each cup. They were among the first to produce naturally processed coffee in India and hence bring awareness to the washed coffee sector in India.

The Social Endeavour:

Karadykan Estate is not just a coffee producing farm, over the years it has introduced various social initiatives that make the living standards of its members better and more fulfilling. After the farm was taken over from the British, Shri. K.S.Vaidyanathan opened a 20 bed hospital called ‘Lakshmi’ within the premises. The hospital facility is still operational at present with a doctor, nurses and staff, the facility provides free medical services and treatment to plantation workers in the region. Some of the plantation workers are from nuclear families where both parents head out to work and there is no one to take care of the young children. Keeping this scenario in mind the plantation owners have opened a day care centre where children can spend time playing and interacting with each other while their parents are at work under the supervision of trained helpers. The day care has been fondly named Prakriya.

Mrs Hamsini Appadurai has personally taken the initiative to educate 15 girls from the group of plantations that she owns. She believes that a plantation worker’s child doesn’t necessarily have to be a daily wage earner. The right guidance and education can enable these girls to choose a profession of their dreams when they grow up. She likes to set an example by working around the farm herself-facilitating the robust harvesting and production processes.

Kamadhanu is another initiative that makes an endeavour to make the farm eco-friendly and self-sufficient by cattle rearing. The farm produces its own dairy products and gives the workers milk at asubsidised rate.

Apart from the above initiative the farms in the Sangameshwar group of Coffee Estates provide free accommodation, electricity and other basic facilities to the permanent staff. The management also makes sure that the residents receive nutritious food by offering 54 families a weekly supply of eggs.

The Sangameshwar Coffee Estates wishes to keep as close to nature as possible in the farm hence Biomass is accumulated to generate Biogas which is used as an alternative to cooking gas or electricityaided devices.

Natural Surroundings:

The Estate is preached next to the Bhadra WildLife Sanctuary in Chikmagalur and boasts of a diverse range of Flora and Fauna. The region mainly has Deciduous and Evergreen trees including Rosewood, Thaasal, Halasu, and Fig among other varieties. The region is also home to Indian Gaur, spotted deer, wild boar, leopard, elephant, jackal, common languor, flying squirrel as well as peacock. The common Cobra, Vipers, Rat Snakes and Lizards are some of the reptile species that can be found in the region. Different species of butterflies and insects add to the biodiversity of the Estate.

Production and Distribution

The annual combined coffee production of the four farms under the Sangameshwar group accounts for 600 tons Arabica and 250 tons Robusta. The farm produces mostly three types of coffee including Washed, Honey and Natural variety. Post production the coffee is sent to some acclaimed roasters in India as well as exported to countries like Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, China, Singapore, France, Finland, Italy, Germany, Canada and the U.S among others.

Vision and About the Planters

Mr.S. Appadurai the grandson of the founder Shri. K.S.Vaidyanathan- was literally born into coffee. He harboured a keen interest in coffee growing and after completing his education he formally joined the business pumping fresh ideas into the already blooming farm. After the market opened around 1994 and coffee growers were allowed to sell and market their products directly instead of selling through the Coffee Board, Mr.S. Appadurai introduced several specialization techniques in harvesting and production. Mrs Hamsini Appadurai had moved to the plantation post her marriage and since then she has been actively involved in the workings of the plantation. Presently, a Certified Q Processor- Mrs Hamsini Appadurai shoulders the responsibility of harvesting, production, post production, sales and marketing at the plantation. Together Mr.S. Appadurai and Mrs Hamsini Appadurai have significantly contributed to the coffee production and export, putting India in a prominent position in the International map of coffee producing countries while at the same time considerably improving the lives of the plantation workers.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.