How coffee came to India - History of Coffee in India
Today, India is home to 16 unique coffee varieties. Blessed with a plentiful forest and heavy rainfall, Chikmagalur has coffee plantations all around. Some of the best blends of Indian coffee are homegrown here and its taste will satisfy any mochaholic. One of the most significant events in the history of Chikmagalur district is that coffee was introduced for the first time in India through the Chikmagalur district. The first coffee crop was grown in the Baba Budan Giri Hills in 1670 A.D. It is believed that the saint Baba Budan, on his pilgrimage to Mecca or the Haj as it is popularly known, happened to travel through the seaport of Mocha, Yemen. It is here that he discovered coffee for the first time and brought it back to India. while on a pilgrimage to Mecca, smuggled seven coffee beans from Yemen to Mysore in India and planted them on the Chandragiri Hills. It was considered an illegal act to take out green coffee seed out of Arabia. However, Baba Budan carried exactly seven beans with him. As number seven is a sacrosanct number in the Islamic religion, the saint’s act of carrying seven coffee beans was considered a religious act. Arabs had exercised strict control over its export to other countries by not permitting coffee beans to be exported in any form other than as in a roasted or boiled form to prevent germination. In order to do this, he wrapped seven coffee beans around his belly and brought it out of Arabia back to India. When he returned home, he planted the beans in the Chandragiri Hills of Chikkamagaluru, which are now named Baba Budan Hills in his honor.
Systematic cultivation soon followed Baba Budan’s first planting of the seeds, in 1670, mostly by private owners and the first plantation was established in 1840 around Baba Budan Giri (‘Giri’ means “hill”) Formerly knows as Chandragiri Hills and its surrounding hills in Karnataka. Interestingly, the variety of coffee that is widely grown in India is also called as Coffea Arabica indicating a reference to Arabia. It is also interesting to know that the place where Baba Budan first grew coffee is also the highest producer of coffee in India. Karnataka accounts for 71% of the coffee production in the country. And that too in Karnataka, it is Chikkamagaluru which is on top and it is also referred to as the Coffee City.
Some extra information about Tea
Tea was first introduced into India by the British, in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. In the early 1820s, The British launched a tea industry by offering land in Assam to any European who agreed to cultivate tea for export. Tea was originally only consumed by Anglicized Indians, and it was not until the 1950s that tea grew widely popular in India.