March 05, 2018:
Organic Araku coffee from Andhra Pradesh has its own distinct credentials in the cup. This high quality Arabica coffee is often characterised by an average body, medium to high acidity and powerful aroma with spicy notes. But that is just the beginning of the inspirational story of the product, which is grown by 100,000 tribal families in the Araku Valley in Vishakapatnam district.
Earlier, these tribals used to earn their livelihood through shifting cultivation or podu. This was neither too lucrative as a profession nor good for the ecology of the region. Today, they grow this coffee under the shade of kackfruit, silver oak, mango and banana trees at a height of 1,100 m above sea level. The shift to shade grown coffee plantations, a process that was initiated in the 1950s with active support from the Coffee Board and Andhra Pradesh Girijan Cooperative Corporation Ltd, has not just improved their livelihoods but also been a blessing for the environment. Moreover, the tribals are able to retain their deep connection with the forest land where they have lived for many generations.
The Coffee Board has applied for a GI tag in March 2018 for Araku Coffee to protect the distinct identity of Araku Coffee. Over the years, Araku Valley coffee has gained national and international acclaim. In February 2017, four Indian corporate stalwarts – Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra; Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder, Infosys Technologies, Satish Reddy (Chairman, Soma Enterprise) and Rajendra Prasad Maganti, Chairman, Soma Enterprise collaborated to set up an enterprise – Araku Global Holdings - that launched the first store for Araku Coffee in the city of Paris. The coffee now has a niche market in markets including France, Sweden, Dubai and Switzerland and had emerged as a major origin brand of Indian coffee, and a GI tag will help protect it from unethical competition.