Indian robusta bowls over Boston roasters
A quick look back at the Emerging Market: India feature discussion held at this year’s Specialty Coffee Association of America exposition in Boston in The Hindu BusinessLine.
BANGALORE MAY 21:
Indian robusta coffees have been received well at the Specialty Coffee Association of America meet held recently at Boston, US.
“With Boston being in close proximity to major coffee roasters in the US, the event was attended by a sizeable crowd,” Jawaid Akhtar, Chairman, Coffee Board told Business Line.
“Robustas are generally known to be harsh, but when American roasters tested our coffees, they were amazed to discover the mildness and aroma of Indian coffees,” he said.
The Coffee Board had taken up space at the specialty coffee association and visitors tasted liquid coffee, instead of coffee samples from different regions.
At the event, a session on “Emerging Markets in Specialty Coffee: India” was also held to educate the US roasters. The one-hour session mainly focused on why specialty coffee needs Indian robustas. The session was attended by about 70 roasters from the North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Sunalini Menon, CEO, Coffeelab Ltd, talked about the distinct characteristics of Indian coffee and coffee growers’ representative Nishant Gurjer, Partner, Kaapi Royale Coffee, and Chairman of Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA), spoke about the farm practices of cultivating coffee in India. The moderator of the event was Andrew Hetzel, consultant, CafeMakers.
The Indian delegation had, besides the Coffee Board Chairman and the KPA Chairman, quality control expert Sunalini Menon, M.P. Devaiah of Allana Sons, Bharat Mandanna of BBTC, Jacob Mammen of Bhadra Group, Kurien who was representing Small Coffee Growers Association, Kerala, and US coffee trader Joseph John.
For the last three to four years, the Coffee Board has been focussing on the US market. “Roasters in US are increasingly using robustas in their blends, it is here we are focusing our attention to penetrate the most important market in the world,” said Gurjer.
Creating awareness of the Indian coffee in the US has led to gaining some ground in the market. Indian coffee exports to US are currently averaging at around 6,000 tonnes and is the 14th important market. Exports have doubled in the last five years. In 2008-09 exports stood at 2,556 tonnes.