Update from the field:

It is monsoon! Basically time to sit indoors and sip on hot beverages (read the Coffee Grounds story for details on which darned beverage!)

Coffee in India

India’s coffee history is shrouded in some mystery. How did coffee get here? Was it indeed Baba Budan who carried seven beans in his belt from Mecca or were there traders who crossed the Arabian Sea in search of prosperity? When the British arrived in the 1600s looking for ways to break a Dutch monopoly on the spice trade, tea and coffee were “backyard crops” in India. In 1840, an experimental plot was set up in Telicherry and thereafter across the Shevaroys, Nilgiris and Coorg. High elevation, sunny slopes, ample rainfall and soil rich in humus content was ideal for Arabica cultivation.

At this time, surrounding forests were dense and rich in biodiversity. Early planters write of 'conquering the jungle'. Their diaries are living records of what sorts of biodiversity existed at the time.

On a single occasion I secured six varieties of walking stick insects of the most wonderful forms and shapes. Edwin L. Arnold (1883)

Also cool is that coffee in India is by and large grown under the shade of indigenous trees. Although for a short period in the early 1900s, trees were cleared from plantations in India, they were also rapidly planted back. Remote sensing and Landsat data shows that since the 1970s, tree cover on coffee farms has diminished significantly - 33% in some districts.

The nature of landholdings in India is quite diverse but an overwhelming majority of producers cultivate on less than 10 acres. Many smallholder farmers depend on coffee for their primary livelihoods. Access to fair and transparent markets and financial inclusion is limited.

What goes into getting coffee right?

These are the stages of the bean to mug process. There is the tiny matter of getting all of the steps right for perfect Black Baza Coffee brew.

Biodiversity Friendly Farming

Coffee is grown san chemical inputs and amidst natural vegetation.

Selective picking and hand-pulping

Only ripe fruits are picked to reduce greeny harshness. Fruits are hand pulped to minimise any damage to beans.

Roasting

We roast our coffee beans distinctly depending on their region and variety. We roast once or twice a week and deliver within three days of a roast.

Hulling

We hull as well go, beans are kept in their skin to retain flavour and freshness

Blending

If it's a blend, our coffees are blended post-roasting to best highlight the flavour of each bean type. The heterogeneity of coffees from each region is preserved in microlots.

Grading & Garbling

Coffee beans are graded by size and quality. We never use off-grades!

Grinding

Coffee available on shelves is often a generic grind. We custom-grind beans depending on how it will be eventually brewed this further preserves freshness and flavour.

Packaging

In 2017 we decided enough is enough. We couldn't bear to have our packaging outlast our coffee by millions of years in a landfill. So our packaging is biodegradable (except our 100g bags. A callout for help here!). The outer bag comes from sugarcane waste and our inner plastic will decompose between 6-24 months in landfill conditions.

Coffee Buyer's Guide

If selecting which coffee to drink will throw you into the depths of choice paradox or information overload, fear no longer! You might find our rather unconventional buyer's guide just the sort of thing you need to help decide!

How to brew your coffee

Our coffees are quite versatile in how you brew them and its difficult to botch up their making! Yet you wouldn't be too far out if you kept a few tricks in mind.

Black Baza On The Road

We are on the road a lot! Needless to say our Aeropress comes along! Here is an evolving list of all the unique places on Planet Earth that we’ve brewed our coffee using our Aeropress! Follow us on @blackbazaontheroad.

  1. Manjigundi hamlet, BR Hills
  2. Urigam village, TN
  3. Shimsa Power Station, IN
  4. Channapatna, IN
  5. Institute of Public Health, BR Hills
  6. Hampi Express, Indian Railways
  7. Yerakanagadde hamlet, BR Hills
  8. Bangalore-Hyderabad Highway
  9. Renuka Tiffanys, Harohalli
  10. Nandi Valley, KA
  11. Singara, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
  12. Bangalore, IN
  13. Mysore, IN
  14. Kolkata, IN
  15. Mumbai, IN
  16. Delhi, IN
  17. Chennai, IN
  18. Pepper House, Fort Kochi
  19. Mussorie, Uttarakhand
  20. Malavalli, Karnataka
  21. Kagalahalli, Karnataka
  22. Singara village, TN
  23. Sollepuram, TN
  24. Hessaraghatta grasslands, KA
  25. Shivanasamudram, KA
  26. Mudumalai National Park, TN
  27. Thalli, TN
  28. Negombo, Sri Lanka
  29. Kandy, Sri Lanka
  30. Colombo, Sri Lanka
  31. Daulagala, Sri Lanka
  32. Mumbai, IN
  33. Kotagiri, TN
  34. Ooty, TN
  35. Indigo Airlines, BLR-MUM
  36. Conoor, TN
  37. Bokkapuram, TN