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Mainland: Two coffees from Chickmagalur, India

Coffee from mainland Asia isn't new -- and, specifically, coffee in India has a storied history that traces back farther than anywhere in the world besides Ethiopia and Yemen. Indian coffee dates to the late 1600s when, according to legend, a Sufi pilgrim named Baba Budan smuggled coffee seeds from the Arabian Peninsula, planting them in the Western Ghat mountains range.

Despite the long history, we haven't always associated Asian coffees with the qualities we seek out, and Huck had previously limited our roasting to a few coffees from the Pacific islands, rather than the mainland.

Over the past few years though, producers in India, China, and Myanmar, to name a few countries, have raised the bar for specialty coffee in Asia, and we've had to reconsider our preconceived notions. Gundhikan and Ratnagiri Estates are among the producers that have forced us to open our minds to coffees from mainland Asia, and both happen to lie in Chikmagalur, India, the same region where Baba Budan purportedly planted his smuggled seeds.

Gundhikan Natural and Ratnagiri represent the best of our first year roasting coffees from India. We're stoked to share these two beautiful coffees with you, and expect that there will be more coffee from mainland Asia - perhaps not only from India - in HUCK's coffee future.

Ashok and Divya Patre are 3rd-generation coffee and pepper farmers, and for the past decade or so, the family has focused on innovative processing techniques and equipment to push flavor potential at Ratnagiri Estate. “Anaerobic” can mean many things, but in this case, the Patres depulped their coffee, then fermented the seeds in oxygen-purged, stainless steel tanks, before washing and drying. The result is a coffee that’s bright, clean, and creamy. We’re tasting citrus and mango, balanced out with sweet shortbread cookie and nougat.

Saif Ulla and his farm, Gundhikan Estate, are founding members of KaadKaapi Collective, a group of environmentally-conscious farmers aiming to preserve habitats and migration corridors for native animal species. Extremely dense shade cover and the occasional downed tree - courtesy roaming elephants and Gaur (Indian Bison) - make for significantly lower productivity and higher costs, offset by pursuing quality and earning higher prices. This small, natural-processed lot is wildly fruity and a bit boozy, with notes of red wine, honey, bittersweet cacao, and pomegranate.
Mainland is available as two options:
1. A boxed set of both Gundhikan Natural and Ratnagiri, each in 8 oz bags
2. Ratnagiri on its own, in an 8 oz package.
While most of the credit undoubtedly goes to Saif Ulla, the Patre family and their teams in India, kudos to David Stallings and the team at Osito Coffee, too. Without David’s interest in seeking out Indian coffee, getting to know the producers over the years, and Osito importing their first Indian coffees to the US this year, we definitely would not have tasted these coffees and been able to roast them here at Huck.
Photos of Ashok + Diviya Patre, Saif Ulla courtesy David Stallings, Osito Coffee

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