Chikmagalur

India

It was in the south of the subcontinent, in the Chikmagalur district of the Karnataka region, that coffee first arrived in India about 350 years ago. It is said to have been brought here by Baba Budan, a Sufi monk still revered today by Hindus and Muslims. Despite being surrounded by imposing mountain peaks, the area is mainly hilly, reaching altitudes of 700-1200 m. It has a pleasantly mild climate and luxurious vegetation with

a huge variety of animal species including India’s national bird, the peacock, which lives here undisturbed. The region is home to 1500 growers, most of whom have their own smallholdings. Apart from coffee, this land also grows vanilla, pepper, oranges and cardamom, a heady mix of fragrances and aromas enriched with the flavours of many local legends. It is this rich variety that gives the well-known Chikmagalur coffee its unique personality.

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Vaidhyanathan Murali

India

monoarabica Murali
Name:
Vaidhyanathan Murali
Territory:
Chikmagalur
illy since:
2002

The fruit trees and tall trunks provide shade for everything in the plantation, including the coffee plants that colour the mountain slopes with green. Vaidhyanathan Murali is happy to live in this part of the world, a place where humans and animals coexist peacefully.
Not much has changed in the region of Chikmagalur since Murali’s father first visited the area in the 1950s on behalf of an English coffee trading company. It was love at first sight, and as soon as he had the chance, he bought three plantations.

Murali is now sitting on one of them. For him, as for his father, coffee is everything. Even more than an occupation, it tinged his childhood with sweetness. His mother used to serve it for breakfast with warm milk and sugar, according to the Tamil tradition. In Chikmagalur, growing coffee means respecting a fragile natural equilibrium. Murali is convinced that this is the X factor in his fine coffee, which has been a great success in his own country and abroad. It has also won over illy, with whom he has established a strong, durable collaboration based on mutual esteem.
It’s now almost evening, and as he returns home Murali smiles as he thinks of his coffee leaving the beautiful plantation and travelling all over the world.