During the Christmas break I travelled to South India and as an avid coffee drinker was delighted to see the coffee plantations and find out a little more about growing coffee.
One of the main area’s within southern India for coffee growing is Wayanad which is an area known for its national parks, wild elephants and the Indian tiger.
Wayanad sits approximately 600-900m above sea level and receives an average of 1100mm of rain making it the perfect warm humid climate for growing Robusta. Other crops which are also grown are Pepper, Banana, Ginger and other green vegetables. Unlike in South American countries, coffee in India is cultivated under a mixed canopy of shade trees, which greatly influences the microclimate in the coffee ecosystem.
Coffee is processed either by wet method to produce ‘Plantation / parchment coffee’ or by dry method to obtain ‘Cherry coffee’. For preparation of both these types of coffee, picking only ripe fruit is essential. Over ripe or green (unripe) berries result in poor cup quality after processing.
The fruits must be pulped on the same day of the harvest. Clean water should be used for washing coffee. Once picked and washed the coffee must be dried on wire mesh trays to drain off the excess water rapidly. Later the coffee must but dried on clean, tiled or concrete drying yards. The coffee must be covered during night to avoid re-wetting it must be then dried to the prescribed test weight or moisture standards.
Coffee cannot be stored with fertilizers, pesticides and such other materials, which may contaminate the bean.
Other crops grown are Pepper.