coffee in india, history of coffee, coffee beans

Origin of Coffee in India

coffee in india, history of coffee, coffee beans

“I love coffee” 

“ I can’t live without coffee”

“Coffee is life!”

How many times have we heard this or even said this out loud? But, do we really really love coffee so much that we can risk our freedom and life for it? Probably not, but there once was a man who fell so hard for coffee that he decided to throw all caution to the wind and smuggled, yes smuggled seven coffee beans! The same beans that grew into coffee plants which in turn multiplied giving India its very own coffee. 

In the year 1670, A Sufi saint called Baba Budan discovered the wonders of Coffee when he found himself in Yemen. On his way back from Hajj, he indulged in a drink that was called Qahwa by the locals. This brewed liquid gold had a divine aroma and energized anyone who had it. Baba Budan really liked coffee and wanted to grow his own coffee so that he could have uninterrupted supply back home in India. However, it would not be so easy to take beans or coffee saplings with him as Yemenis only traded sterile coffee beans to maintain their monopoly over coffee production. 

Although coffee was first discovered in the Ethiopian plateau, Yemen is one of the first known countries to start cultivating coffee. The coffee plants were grown on the highlands and exported through the port of Mocha or Al Makha to Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Coffee was also a great driving force of the Yemeni economy. As the rest of the world came to discover the beauty of coffee the demand soon overtook the supply. Merchants from across Europe were now flocking Mocha for Mocha Coffee. 

Yemenis wanted to maintain their monopoly over the cultivation and supply of coffee to the rest of the world. Hence they only gave coffee in either baked or roasted form. For nearly 200 years, the Yemeni farmers maintained their monopoly on coffee despite exporting tonnes of coffee around the world! 

Despite the challenges and the risks that came with procuring live green coffee beans Baba Budan was determined. It is believed that he chose to bring seven beans because number 7 has a religious significance in Islam. After procuring the beans, it was time to transport the coffee beans. While some claim that Baba Budan hid the coffee beans in his beard, some others say that he hid the beans in his robes. As a Sufi Saint, Baba Budan might have not attracted any suspicion and he was able to leave the country through the port of Mocha without any hassle. The fear of prosecution and the risk of being imprisoned or losing his life did not stop Baba Budan from smuggling 7 coffee beans into India.

Upon his subsequent return to Chikkamagaluru, Baba Budan planted these beans in the Chandragiri Mountains. The fertile soil and the climatic conditions worked their magic and the hills around Chikkamagaluru became the birthplace of Indian coffee. Baba Budan also introduced coffee to the locals. To this day coffee grows in the same place where Baba Budan had first planted the seven beans. The hills are named Baba Budangiri after the saint in his honour. 

coffee in india, history of coffee, coffee beans

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