Roxanne Bamboat was greeted by verdant green valleys and all the world’s tranquility in Coorg—exactly what she expected. But, a coffee picking exercise later, the place bought itself a whole new dimension. Photographs by Adil Jain

Picking beans at TATA coffee plantation in Coorg.
Picking beans at TATA coffee plantation in Coorg.

Coorg is home to fragrant teakwood forests, rolling hills, lush tall trees with pepper vines entwined around them, picturesque green valleys, and over all tranquility that’s earned it the moniker ‘the Scotland of the east.’ I woke up on a misty morning in an enormous bedroom furnished with charming old wooden furniture giving one a taste of the past, coupled with thinkable present-day creature comforts. Lush green gardens with a quaint patio to sit out at and enjoy your evening coffee or even a sunny breakfast outside the colonial style bungalow.

Did you know after crude oil, coffee is the most sought-after commodity in the world. It’s worth over US$100 billion worldwide—more than even gold?

TATA Coffee offers a wonderful getaway in their coffee-growing estate Pollibetta where these heritage plantation bungalows are. The days are spent relaxing in the comforts of the bungalow or taking a tour of the plantations and understanding how coffee is grown and cultivated. Not only do you get to a chance to pick beans but also interact with coffee planters and understand the finer nuances of the business. For those not keen on coffee-picking, there are various other activities to keep you busy—an early morning bird-watching walk, a day trip to Nagarhole Forrest for a quick safari, a visit to the nearby Buddhist Monastery, or a day at the 9-hole golf course. Warm hospitality by the skilled and trained local staff of TATA coffee even includes a butler. Hearty homemade food included some Coorg specials like Pandi (pork) curry, Koli (chicken) curry, or Kadumbuttu (rice dumplings).

Know More About Coffee Picking

▪ While other countries use machinery to pick their coffee, in Coorg all the coffee is picked by hand.
▪ While the idea of strolling through the plantations for a brisk walk sounds appealing, it can be dangerous as you might chance upon an elephant lumbering about. You are advised to wander with a guide.
▪ Harvested coffee needs to be dried so that there is barely any moisture in it. Once again no machines are used; instead the beans are sun-dried.

Coffee is picked by hand in Coorg.
Coffee is picked by hand in Coorg.

▪ There are two varieties of coffee grown, Robusta and Arabica. The harvest months for Arabica are from April to November and Robusta are from December to March.
Coffee plant flowers when it matures and the blossoms look just like jasmine.
▪ There is nothing more exciting than picking fresh peppercorns from the estate which you can take back home and use in your cooking or even pickle.
While most people think the tall trees in Coorg are for coffee, the actual coffee plant is much smaller and resembles a big bush. The trees grow pepper which give ample shade to the coffee plant which is vital for their growth.