India - Day 1

Louise Hyl @ 2020-06-22 12:32:26 +0100

So excited that the boys have actually put something in writing that I'm copying here for you. The pics won't copy and Will is sending them to me tomorrow, so use your imagination when it refers to any pics!!!
Enjoy the read, I'm really impressed with Chris Howard and Will Howard

After 13-14 hours of travel (including plane change) we arrived at Bangalore airport, our wonderful hosts Akshay and Komal collected us, and about 7 hours later due to traffic, we arrived at the beautiful Mooleh Manay estate, we were absolutely wrecked, but the sight of where we were going to be staying for the next few days, and a cold beer, brought us back to life. The house, a classic colonial style, with a large, wrap around veranda, just exactly what you’d imagine in a tropical environment. The main house backs into the edge of deciduous/rainforest jungle, it’s hard to describe, but the sound is all encompassing, I’ve got no idea what the animals are that are making all these noises, but it’s hypnotic, and somehow soothing. A few beers and a chat around a bonfire on the edge of the jungle. Magic.

Day 1 – Late start, breakfast outside, incredible food, and the jungle chorus for company, what a start to our first day, had a tour of the coffee beds, where the coffee cherries are drying on the patios, the selective is dried on the lower patio, and the non-selective is dried on the higher patio. The beans in these beds are hand raked daily to ensure even drying and are covered with a breathable sheet at night to prevent dew on the beans. The photo of the coffee in the bags has been damaged by heavy, late rain, you can see the difference between the good coffee and the damaged coffee, in one hand, the good, even coffee, in the other, the ruined, uneven coffee. Sadly, this year, about 45% of the crop has been damaged so will be sold cheap, into the local market.

The part of the estate where the house is situated, is 850m above sea level, this part of the estate is mostly used to grow robusta, there are some wild liberica beans, and a small amount of wild arabica, and some wild robusta, I even got to try some wild chili, hot, hot, hot! This part of the estate backs onto the backwater of the Harangie river, which is a tributary of the Kaveri river, which is the life source of the state of Karnataka. The building overlooking the lake is a little temple.

We went to Kanbile estate which is run by the same family and on the way checked out the construction of the modern staff quarters. We went to the wet mill to start the process of an anaerobic fermentation, which is an experiment they are running, in the hopes of getting a coffee with the fruitiness of a natural, but the clean taste of a washed. They add the coffee cherries to a barrel of water, and add some yeast, and jaggery (unrefined sugar), to start the fermentation, it’s then kept airtight for around 7 days, before washing. Hopefully this works, and we can get access to some very special coffee in the future.

Got the bonfire going, had a few beers, sat around talking coffee, marvelling at the wonderful surroundings, and then time for dinner.