According to a recent report by Statista, India ranks as the sixth largest coffee producer globally, following Brazil (the largest producer), Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Honduras.
- Recently, there has been a growing focus on the health advantages of South Indian coffee blends, particularly emphasizing the use of chicory and milk in coffee preparation.
GS III: Agriculture
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is South Indian Coffee Blend?
- Key Points about Coffee
- Health Benefits of Coffee
What is South Indian Coffee Blend?
- It is a coffee blend popular in South India that combines coffee and chicory powders.
- This unique blend gives the coffee a distinct flavor and characteristics.
- Origin: Chicory is an herb native to Europe and Asia.
- Inulin Content: It contains inulin, a starchy substance known for its health benefits. Inulin is also found in various fruits, vegetables, and herbs like wheat, onions, bananas, leeks, artichokes, and asparagus.
- Mild Laxative Properties: Chicory possesses mild laxative properties, aiding in digestion.
- Anti-inflammatory Effects: It helps reduce swelling and inflammation in the body.
- Rich in Beta-Carotene: Chicory is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that provides superior protection against oxidative damage.
- Complement to Coffee: Chicory is caffeine-free, making it a suitable addition to coffee, which naturally contains caffeine.
Key Points about Coffee:
- Coffee was introduced to India in the late seventeenth century.
- The initial arrival of coffee in India was marked by the smuggling of seven coffee beans from Yemen by an Indian pilgrim in 1670.
- The Dutch, who occupied parts of India during the 17th century, played a role in spreading coffee cultivation.
- Commercial coffee farming flourished during the British Raj in the mid-nineteenth century, particularly in the Mysore region.
Coffee Varieties in India:
- Arabica and Robusta are the main coffee varieties.
- Characteristics of Arabica: Grown at higher altitudes and known for its aroma, commanding a higher market value.
- Characteristics of Robusta: Known for its strength and commonly used in various coffee blends.
Coffee Plantations and Biodiversity:
- Predominantly grown under thick natural shade in ecologically sensitive regions of the Western and Eastern Ghats.
- Coffee plantations in these regions are recognized as biodiversity hotspots.
- Coffee cultivation contributes significantly to India’s unique biodiversity.
- Approximately 65% to 70% of the coffee produced in India is exported, while the remaining is consumed domestically.
- Role in Sustaining Biodiversity and Socio-economic Development:
- Coffee cultivation plays a vital role in sustaining biodiversity.
- It fosters socio-economic development in remote hilly areas.
Climatic Conditions and Soil Types:
- Hot and humid climate, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 28°C and rainfall between 150 to 250 cm.
- Frost, snowfall, high temperatures above 30°C, and strong sunlight can be detrimental to coffee cultivation.
Ideal Soil Conditions:
- Well-drained loamy soils with the presence of humus and minerals such as iron and calcium.
- Fertile volcanic red earth and deep sandy loam soils are also favorable for coffee cultivation.
- Heavy clay soils and sandy soils are less suitable for coffee cultivation.
Coffee Plantation Locations in India:
- Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh (Araku Valley), Odisha, Manipur, Mizoram, and other northeastern states.
- Major Coffee Producer: Karnataka accounts for approximately 70% of India’s total coffee production.
Health Benefits of Coffee:
- Protection against oxidative damage: Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of cell damage caused by free radicals.
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: Studies have shown that regular coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee may improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Reduced risk of age-related diseases: Coffee has been linked to a decreased risk of age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancers.
Benefits of South Indian Filter Coffee with Milk:
- Enhanced taste and flavor: Unlike plain coffee, South Indian filter coffee is typically served with hot milk. The addition of milk adds a creamy texture and enhances the overall taste and flavor of the coffee.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Research conducted by the University of Copenhagen suggests that coffee with milk may have anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of proteins and antioxidants present in milk could contribute to this effect.
- Ongoing human trial: A large-scale human trial is currently underway to study the health effects of milk-added coffee. This study has sparked interest among Indian coffee lovers and may provide further insights into the potential health benefits of this specific coffee preparation.
-Source: The Hindu