India has primarily been a tea drinking nation. And if you look at the per capita consumption in the Indian market, tea clearly leads as compared to coffee. However, with the increasing urbanisation, the consumption of both commodities will continue to increase and coffee in particular is expected to find more young consumers.
However, India still needs to have a consistent branding strategy for the export markets. Indians by nature are marketing shy as compared to any competitors. For instance, on one of the trade shows, a visitor from Norway told the Indian players that you do not know how to market your product. This was a very broad message and South Indians in particular tend to play down on marketing. The other fact is that almost 70 per cent of coffee produced in India is exported. However, Indian coffee in the global market is not sold as it is; it is used as a blend to create a final product. That is one of the main reasons why Indian coffee is not well known globally.
If it is a freshly roasted, freshly brewed Indian Arabica coffee, it can be compared to any coffee in the world. At the same time, Indian Robusta can be an excellent espresso because it has a good body which Arabica does not have. These are some of the factors that distinguishes Indian coffee from the other coffees in the world. Earlier Indian coffee didn’t have a premium but is gaining that slowly as individual planters now market themselves with passion. Washed coffees from India carry a premium in the global market. In fact, washed Indian Robustas are one of the best in the world. As a result, majority of coffee production in India is slowly moving towards the washed variety. However, a sustained branding push is required in this field to position Indian washed Robustas in the global market. In addition, Indian coffee is one of the only ones to be grown in shade. Less stress on any plant will certainly yield a better flavour.
At the same time, Indian coffee is more environmentally friendly and uses less chemicals. As a result, Indian coffee production promoted the coexistence of flora and fauna.