It is a little known fact that India is the 6th largest producer of coffee in the world. South India, in particular, has been blessed with the ideal climate and soil for the ‘Indian Monsooned’ coffee beans that grow and flourish under monsoon rainfall conditions. The two well-known coffee bean species that grow in India are the Arabica and the Robusta coffee beans. Karnataka is the highest producer of coffee in India at about 53%, while Kerala and Tamil Nadu produce about 28% and 11% of coffee respectively.
Several of the coffee plantations in the south offer homestays and luxury accommodation facilities. Over the years these have become popular holiday destinations. Tourists who enjoy living amongst nature frequent the coffee regions, pick coffee berries and enjoy trekking through acres of coffee plantations while soaking in the beauty that nature has to offer.
Some of the best coffee growing regions and plantations in India are:
Chikmagalur is one of the first places to start coffee plantations during the British Raj and is also one of the biggest contributors to India’s coffee production. The cozy hill station is located in the western ghat region of Karnataka and is known for some of the best Arabica coffee estates of the country.
Some of the major coffee estates of Chikmagalur are
• Bynekere Estate - Located at a distance of 20 km from Chikmagalur in the Muthodi forest, also known as the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. Bynekere’s Arabica coffee beans are traditionally shade-grown.
• Bettadakhan Estate - Located across 250 acres of land in the western ghats, the estate is owned by Badra Estates since 1936
• Hoysala Estate - Located in the Angadi village. It is the same place where the ancient Hoysala dynasty was founded. The Hoysala Estate was established in the 1800s and has been owned by four generations of the same family since.
Places to Stay in Chikmagalur
• The Serai
• Vismita County
• Gateway Chikmagalur
• The Vintage
• Trivik Hotels & Resorts
Owing to its year-round pleasant weather and lush green hills, Coorg in Karnataka is the most sought-after coffee destination in India. Both the Arabica and the Robusta varieties of coffee are grown in Coorg.
Some of the major coffee estates of Coorg are
• Suntikoppa Estate - Located at a distance of 15kms east off Madikeri, It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a refreshing environment. The estate is also home to many migratory birds and is a bird watcher’s paradise.
• Margolly Estate - This estate was established by Scottish coffee planters in 1850. The estate is spread over 500 hectares of rolling land in southern Coorg. Both varieties of coffee beans – Arabica and Robusta are grown here.
• Bibi Plantation - the estate is located in the heart of the coffee-growing region in Suntikoppa district in Coorg. Spread over 205 acres of land, this estate grows the Arabica coffee bean.
Places to Stay in Coorg
• Evolve Back
• Old Kent Estates
• Ama Plantation Trails
• Silver Brook Estate Homestay
• Taj Madikeri
Yercaud is also known as the Jewel of the South because of the scenic beauty that it has to offer. The hill station is located at a distance of 250kms from Bangalore on the Shevaroy Hills in the Eastern Ghats. Established in the 19th Century, it has some of the oldest coffee plantations in India.
Some of the major coffee estates at Yercaud are
• Nachammai Estate - Is located in the Shevaroy Hills and is spread over 24 acres of land. The estate has been owned by the Palaniappan Ramanathan family since 1979.
• MSP Coffee Estates - The estate covers an area of 3000 acres and includes the Moganad, Bison Valley, Stanmore, Hidden Falls, Orchardale estate and the Gowri Estate and Gowri Woodlands.
• Riverdale Estate - The estate is known for its 72-hour fermentation process of the coffee berry after which the berries are dried for 25-30 days. Riverdale estate gets its name from the natural spring situated within the estate.
• Kudripanjan Estate - Also located in the Shevaroy Hills, the estate was originally established by the British in 1878 after which it has been owned by the Palani Kandasamy Chettiar family ever since 1975.
Places to Stay in Yercaud
• Glenrock Estates
• WOW Bison Woods
• Great Trails Yercaud by GRT Hotels
• Grand Palace Hotel & Spa
• Sterling Yercaud
Nelliyampathy is a hill station in Palakkad, Kerala and is well known for its forest reserve and coffee plantations. It offers a spectacular view of the Palakkad Gap which is a geographical wonder situated in the western ghats in this region that offers a view of the adjoining state of Tamil Nadu.
Some of the major coffee estates at Nelliyampathy are
• Palagapandi Estate - is situated at the highest point in the Nelliyampathy Hills. The estate has a beautiful bungalow that was built during the British Raj in India, which has now been converted into a resort. Apart from coffee plantations, The Palagapandi estate also grows tea and cardamom.
• Seethargundu Estate - The estate provides a spectacular view of the valley and a 100m high waterfall. The estate proudly boasts of being one of the two Demeter-certified Biodynamic estates that grow coffee in the world. Which means that the coffee bean is cultivated using regenerative farming practices that do not harm the environment.
• Varadymalai Estate - Plantation on this estate began back in 1945. The estate is spread over an area of 2000 acres out of which 372 acres are dedicated to growing both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.
Places to Stay in Nelliyampathy
• Paray Village County Hotel
• Mango Village, Seethargundu
Wayanad in Kerala produces about 90% of the state’s total coffee production. Located on the western ghats, Wayanad has a pleasant climate, ideal for the growth and production of coffee beans and is also the perfect place for a weekend getaway. The first coffee plantation in Wayanad was initiated at Mananthavady, by the British East India Company soldiers, who were stationed on duty there at the time.
Most of the coffee estates in Wayanad also double up as luxury resorts and homestays. Some of the best plantations stay in Wayanad are
• Coffee Acres Plantation Resort
• Verdure Wayanad
• Wayanad Coffee Trail
• Coffee County Resort
• Pepper Green Wayanad Resort
So, all you coffee and nature lovers out there, pack your bags and get ready to venture on a unique weekend getaway sampling your favourite coffees along the way. Choose from amongst the many destination options and enjoy your much deserved ‘coffee’ break!