It was the 17th century when a Sufi saint smuggled the ferociously guarded coffee beans all the way from Yemen to India through the Arabian Sea, planting the seeds in the hills of Chandragiri. With time, it spread along the hills of the western ghats, grown on a large scale and consumed by the newly emerging urban centres under the colonial rule. Today, coffee has rooted itself firmly in south Indian culture and an average individual’s morning routine.
This journey follows the exotic aroma of coffee, trailing through the slopes of the undulating Western Ghats where South India's tryst with coffee began, to the urban centres where coffee drinking evolved into a culture of its own. It will begin in the city of Bangalore moving South to the scenic landscapes of Chikmangalur also known as as the Coffee House of India. The Journey will then take you towards the tranquil hill station of Coorg, before descending into the untouched Wayanad forests. The trail will continue into the more urban environment of Mysore, before coming to an end in the streets of Chennai
Begin your journey in the urban centre of Bangalore - the city that has metamorphosed from a sleepy cantonment to a bustling cosmopolitan. With coffee shops around every corner, the city will serve as the perfect fix for your caffeine cravings before moving on to the source of South India’s favourite beverage.
From the busy streets of Bangalore, move Southward towards the lofty landscapes of Chikmagalur, where the first coffee beans were planted in India. With pristine waterfalls, hill temples, and untrodden trekking trails lined with panoramic coffee plantations, Chikmagalur is a haven for those seeking respite from the two-dimensional cities. The fruits vegetables and meat available in the mountain ranges have, over the years, shaped the Malanad cuisine of the region characterised by less usage of oil and heavy influence of spices.
The aroma then leads you to the picturesque landscapes of Coorg, a serene hill region eluding the grasps of urbanity, nestled within verdant rainforests, and the hill slopes carved into coffee plantations. These rugged hills that were inaccessible bore within them a community known for its unique culture and way of life. Secluded from the rest of the region for most of its history, their Kodavu culinary tradition has been preserved with minimal external influence.
Inhale the rich aroma of coffee with the occasional winds, while the air of Wayanad is smooth and a raspy confluence of green spices and the mountain soil. A spread of towns, villages and wilderness, the Wayanad region allows one to slow down and revel in its charms. Protected from outside influence by the guardian mountains, this region offers a wide range of dishes that form the cuisine of indigenous tribes.
Travel all the way to the fragrant city of Mysore to share a ‘by-two coffee’ with a friend. The pleasant tree-lined boulevards and well-spaced buildings welcome one to a city with a vibrant culture. Influenced by the Udupi cuisine and the Malanad cuisine, Mysore has carved a place for itself in the famed culinary traditions of India.
Fly down to the city of Chennai, where the early morning streets fill with the robust aroma of the coffee decoction that drips down the special filter in every house. A city that rose to prominence under the colonial rule, Chennai and it's crowded cacophonous streets offer to the travellers a quick glimpse into the myriad cultures of Tamil Nadu and has over time given rise to cultures and traditions of its own.
Bengaluru is a world apart from the rest of the state and in many ways India’s most Westernized urban centre. Once a sleepy cantonment, the charming, verdant “Garden City” of just over 600,0000 people at Independence has been completely transformed by the technology boom into both a trendy, racy business hub and a bustling, smog-choked megalopolis of around 8.5 million, perhaps the fastest growing city in India. Bengaluru is also known for its year-round pleasant weather and its lush green landscapes.
In the northeastern corner of Tamil Nadu on the Bay of Bengal, Chennai (still commonly referred to by its former British name, Madras) is India’s fourth largest city, with a population nudging seven and a half million. The attractions of the city itself are sparse, though it does boast fine specimens of Raj architecture, pilgrimage sites connected with superb Chola bronzes at its state museum, and plenty of classical music and dance performances.
Situated in the Deccan plateau, Chikmagalur city belongs to the Malnad region of Karnataka. The Western Ghats start from this area. Chikmagalur is famous for its serene environment, lush green forests and tall mountains. Baba Budangiri, Mulliyangiri and Kemmanagundi are the popular hills for treks in Chikmagalur.
Coorg, the ‘Scotland of India’ as it is often dubbed, lies in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Famed for its coffee and spices, it’s a hill station far removed from the clutches of urbanity, and boasts an abundance of picturesque landscapes encompassing lush valleys, waterfalls, verdant forests and mountains. Its beauty appeals to everyone, from nature lovers to adventurers and wildlife explorers.
A city of palaces, temples and yoga , Mysore —recently renamed Mysuru was the former royal capital of the erstwhile eponymous princely state , a place of culture, eccentricity, architecture, beauty and manners; a gently pious, highly literate and quietly arresting city, connected to nature and imbued with the sacred. More recently, Mysuru has become known for Ashtanga Yoga where the only “modern” variety of classical yoga—was first codified
The name ‘Wayanad’ comes from the combination of two Malayalam words ‘Vayal’ meaning ‘paddy fields’ and ‘Naad’ meaning ‘land’. It is known as ‘Mayakshetra’ or the land of illusion, in the ancient texts. Its history goes back to prehistory although recorded history tells its tale from the 19th century. Home to several indigenous tribes and set high in the Western Ghats at an altitude of around 2,100 metres. Wayanad is also known for its huge coffee estates apart from its paddy fields.
The word ‘Chettinad’ refers to a social caste that specializes in the preparation of food, thus making Chettiars excellent master chefs. Experience the food through the feel and smell of ingredients, taking part in the cooking, followed by an elaborate lunch on a banana leaf
Climb through the forests towards a temple that stands on top of a hill. One of the best treks in the region, there's nothing like the smell of coffee in the lush, green plantations. Take in the knowledge of the locals, their brews and test their finest blends.
Coorgis were originally a warrior tribe. Being a landlocked region, their cuisine is unique in the way that they have retained their traditional recipes and ways of cooking. Taste the fascinating ways in which meat is cooked in this region.
The food trail through the busy streets of Sowcarpet & Mylapore is guaranteed to be an assault on your senses. Let the food weave a story for you through its fascinating history and explosion of tastes