“They’re different species of coffee, sir. Arabica has round beans and bigger leaves and came to Coorg way before Robusta (also known as Canephora)!..The Cottabetta estate (which literally means ‘Cold Mountain’) grew Arabica and was later transformed into a Robusta plantation…Now we’re in the Woshully estate.”
And thus began my foray into coffee-estate jargon on a cool, rainy day.
Robusta is easier to tend to, has a higher yield and is less sensitive to insects. It has more caffeine compared to Arabica that makes it bitter in taste (often described as burnt tires or rubbery) and also toxic to bugs. Green beans of Robusta is about half the price of Arabica green bean.
Do you know what concoction goes into your cup of instant coffee or espresso blend!?
The Arabicas are grown in mixed shade of native species of fruit bearing trees. These attract wild animals like elephants, civet cats, flying fox, and wild boar. No, we did not see any but the guide proudly boasted that at least 22 jumbos roam these estates.
Interestingly, the leaf droppings from the large shade trees coupled with composted coffee fruit skin results in high humus and balanced nutrient content of the soil.
The coffees are then selectively hand picked at the right stage and undergo traditional processing – fermentation, aqua washing and sun drying.
Phew! It’s time for my cuppa!