With the popularity of chai taking over the west, it’s understandable for one to assume that tea is mostly produced and consumed in India. Unbeknownst to many on this side of the world though is India’s long history of producing some of the world’s best coffee. In fact, India exports its coffee to over 45 countries with coffee planters finding an aggressive traction in the homeland as well.
Production aside, India also offers a treasure trove of coffee destinations and experiences. That’s right, not only will you get some of best damn coffee you’ve ever had on the streets of India, there are also numerous destinations that allow you to see production first hand and revel in coffee euphoria.
Below are 5 destinations, many off the beaten path, of coffee estates and plantations that will surely make for an unique experience.
1. Glenrock Estates
This coffee, cardamom, and pepper plantation is located near Kakkampadi Village in Yercaud. Nicknamed “The Jewel of the South,” Yercaud is located in the Shevaroys, a hilly, forested region within the Eastern Ghats mountains in the state of Tamil Nadu. Silver oak, eucalyptus, Cyprus, and sandalwood trees grow here. The region is famed for its production of coffee and citrus fruits, particularly oranges, as well as jackfruit, bananas, and pears.
Glenrock plantation is located 6,000 feet above sea level and has a relatively mild climate compared to the heat of some Indian states. Tourists can witness the coffee harvesting process from beginning to end.
Visitors to Glenrock Estates will find accommodations in the plantation’s wooden cabins, which are surrounded by the forest and offer a breathtaking view of the valley below Yercaud. Each cabin has its own balcony. Trout fishing, hiking, and camp fires are encouraged, and hikers can visit a treehouse in the woods.
2. Honey Valley
As the name suggests, Honey Valley is not only a homestay getaway and a coffee farm, but also a honey farm. The plantation grows cardamom and black pepper as well as both arabica and robusta coffee beans. Here the coffee cherries are picked by hand. The estate at Honey Valley also serves as a base camp for mountaineers as they climb Mt. Tadianadamol.
Honey Valley is located in the region of Kodagu, which under British colonialism was known by the Westernized name of Coorg and nicknamed “The Scotland of India.” Kodagu is located in Mysore state in the Kamataka region, another of India’s great coffee-producing regions, and abuts the Western Ghats mountain range.
Visitors to Honey Valley can stay in one of the five guest facilities, two tribal huts, or Chingaara (the private guest house). Chingaara’s luxurious accommodations include a private waterfall. The surrounding rainforest is an excellent place for hiking and viewing wildlife, and guests also enjoy unobstructed star-gazing views. Nearby tourist attractions include the Golden Temple at Kushal Nagar (a center of Tibetan culture still visited by the Dalai Lama), Igguthappa Temple, and Nalknad Palace, and travel to each of these places can be arranged with the help of the Honey Valley’s owners, husband and wife Suresh and Susheela Chengappa.
3. Misty Woods
Another Kodagu coffee plantation worth visiting is Misty Woods, located 3,800 feet above sea level in Kakkabe, where Igguthappa Temple is located. The 100-acre plantation is found at the foot of Thadiyante Mol mountain. Misty Woods is surrounded on two sides by mountain streams that grow to roaring waterfalls during the rainy season.
Guests at Misty Woods can stay in the wood-and-brick cottages designed in either traditional Kerala style or in a more Westernized style with lofts, fireplaces, and a view of nature. Accommodations include a recreational center, an outdoor pool with a separate children’s pool, and ATV rides along the plantation trail. On clear days visitors can see all the way to the Arabian Sea at Kerala.
The nearby hill station town is Madikeri (sometimes Westernized as Mercara). Visitors to Misty Woods can enjoy Madikeri tourist destinations like the Raja Seat (a favorite viewing spot with spectacular mountain, valley, and sunset vistas), the River Kaveri and Iruppu Falls, and Nagarhole National Park (a nature preserve where visitors can see elephants, tigers, mongoose, peacocks, barking deer, and other uniquely Indian creatures).
4. Palace Estate
While touring Honey Valley and Misty Woods, you’ll also want to see the homestay at Palace Estate, located in Kakkabe. This 50-acre plantation grows coffee along with avocados, bananas, cardamom, oranges, and black pepper. Guests stay in wooden cabins with their own open verandas, offering stunning views of the mountains and the valley. A guided plantation tour offers guests a firsthand look at the coffee-making experience.
5. Thalanar Coffee Estate
Thalanar is located about an hour away from the city of Pollaci in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, southwest of where Glenrock Estates is located. Wild elephants, wild boar, and bison roam the lush, forested mountain region of the Anamallais Hills surrounding the plantation. Anamallais Tiger Preserve is nearby.
The 5-kilometer coffee plantation, neighbored by tea plantations, produced arabica coffee beans. When the coffee receive adequate water, they turn a bright red and stand out from their green surroundings. Although the estate itself does not offer on-site accommodations, visitors to this region can stay in nearby lodgings to enjoy the remote forest locale teeming with birds and wildlife.
Source: The Teal Mango