Recently, we published a blog post about the significance of Indian Coffee House in shaping India’s coffee culture. In the same vein, there are many influential figures who have also played a role in defining the country's coffee revolution.
All of you already know about Baba Budan as being the forerunner in this space. So let’s take a look at a few other important names in India’s coffee history.
Known as the Coffee Tzar of India, Sundaram Iyengar’s work helped establish coffee cooperatives in the country, empowering coffee farmers to devote themselves to the trade and improve the quality of their harvest.
Iyengar was also known to have introduced fair trade practices which meant the farmers could work in better conditions, receive fair prices for the yield, and also produce coffee sustainably.
A member of the Indian Coffee Board, N.S Devaiah’s role in Indian coffee history dates back to the 50s.
Not only did he champion the commercial cultivation of coffee, he strived to improve the quality of Indian coffee by conducting extensive research and educating coffee farmers about modern agricultural practices they could adopt. Moreover, he also actively led the development of disease-resistant coffee varieties and post-harvest coffee processing techniques.
Through D.S Aithal’s dedication to India’s coffee trade, more regions in the country began coffee cultivation. In the mid-19th century, his focus was to modernise coffee farming.
This meant research labs were set up, training programs were conducted, and modern processing methods were implemented under his guidance. He worked towards highlighting the unique flavours of Indian coffee.
The fact that Indian specialty coffee has now reached almost every corner of the world is something Anand Pereira would be proud of.
A coffee grower and exporter, he helped spread awareness about the characteristics of Indian coffee, its flavour profile, etc. in the global specialty coffee market.
Sunalini Menon is the brain behind India’s first coffee magazine - Coffee Table. Her keen interest in and knowledge of India’s coffee landscape translated into the most engaging stories she conveyed through her magazine.
They spoke of the country’s rich heritage, the struggles of coffee farmers, and the potential that India’s coffee industry has in reaching new heights.
An expert coffee taster and judge, Rachna Saksena has won awards for her exemplary work in paving the way for Indian specialty coffees to enter the global market.
But her work goes above and beyond that of an analyst. She has also promoted the implementation of sustainable and ethical practices at all levels of the coffee production process.
Sundaram Bangaru’s efforts as an agricultural scientist enabled him to develop cultivars that are resistant to plant diseases. With his help, coffee farmers were able to improve the quality of their harvest and even increase yield.
These crops were also designed to thrive in India’s varying climatic terrain. Following in Bangaru’s footsteps, more and more individuals have dedicated their talents to improving the agricultural aspects of coffee production in the country, thereby allowing Indian coffee quality to scale further.
The founder of one of India’s largest coffee chains (Cafe Coffee Day), V.G Siddhartha’s vision for India’s café culture was pivotal to the commercial popularity of the beverage.
Having set up the first branch in 1996, Siddhartha realised the potential for expansion when crowds flocked to the café. With the turn of the century, CCD went international, and today, there are more than 1300 outlets in India alone.
There are hundreds of names like these that work behind the scenes to make Indian coffee a globally recognised and cherished commodity. Unfortunately, not all of them enjoy the spotlight, and their efforts may never be celebrated widely.
We are grateful for their determination and skills that collectively boost the industry’s growth even today.
If you like reading blogs that delve into a country’s coffee history like this, you should also visit our sister company, Beancraft’s website, where we explore more of the coffee world and deep dive into coffee-producing regions across the globe.