Coffee is a beverage, usually served hot, prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. These seeds are usually called coffee beans. In monetary terms, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, trailing only petroleum. Coffee is one of mankind's chief sources of caffeine, a stimulant. Its potential benefits and hazards have been, and continue to be, widely studied and discussed.

The history of the origination of coffee is quite interesting and has got many legends behind it. It is said that the coffee plant grew naturally in some areas of Ethiopia and was first observed by a sheepherder when his sheep ate the coffee fruit and became hyperactive. He then consumed the fruit himself. The plant was later taken to Arabia and there it became so popular that people there started relating it to their religious sentiments and made it monopolized.   One legendary account is that of the Yemenite Sufi mystic named Shaikh ash-Shadhili. When traveling in Ethiopia he observed goats of unusual vitality and, upon trying the berries that the goats had been eating, experienced the same effect. This is how coffee was popularized as a drink in the rest of the world and people started planting coffee as a crop. Coffee beans were first imported from Ethiopia to Yemen.

Coffee was introduced in England in the 1430s by the Greek professor in Oxford Ioannis Servopoulos. Consumption of coffee was outlawed in Mecca in 1511 and in Cairo in 1532, but in the face of its immense popularity, the decree was later reverted. In 1554, the first coffeehouse in Istanbul opened. Largely through the efforts of the British and Dutch East India companies, coffee became available in Europe in the 16th century, with first coffeehouses opening in the mid-17th century in Cornhill , London in 1652, Boston in 1670, and Paris in 1671.

In India during 1600 A.D., a Muslim Pilgrim Baba Budan brought seven coffee seeds from Yemen and raised in the “Chandragiri” hills of present Chikmagalur district in Karnataka. The commercial cultivation of coffee started by Britishers in the “Coorg” district of Karnataka, during 1820. East India Company took interest in Coffee growing as early as 1823. Great inducements such as grant land on long lease were given for coffee planting. In 1830, some 4000 acres were under coffee cultivation but yield was poor. Some experiments in the highlands of Southern India proved to be successful and within few years Mysore and the surroundings hilly region became an important coffee producing area and remain the sole source of coffee supply even today. Majority of the large estates in South India were established between 1830 and 1865.


The most desirable coffee is grown in altitudes about 3000 feet. The altitude produces more elegant, complex flavors in the coffee cherries which contain the beans. The fruit must be hand-picked from trees which can bear flowers, green fruit, and ripe cherries all at the same time.

The outer pulp and parchment of the coffee cherry are removed to reveal two beans, which are then cleaned, dried, graded and hand-inspected. The beans range in color from pale green to dark yellow when raw. They are exported in their raw state for roasting, blending and grinding at their final destination.  Most commercial companies use primarily C. robusta and C. arabica in their blends.

Botanically, the Coffee plants belong to the family Rubiaceae and genus Coffea. There are two speices of Coffee, which are commercially cultivated Known as Arabica Coffee (Coffea Arabica) and Robusta Coffee (Coffea canephora).


Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam is the three top coffee producing countries of the world. Other Coffee producing Countries are India, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Ethiopia etc.


There are over 170,000 coffee farms in India, cultivating nearly in an area of 3.55 lakhs hectares with an average production of around 2.7 lakhs tons.

Most coffee in India is cultivated in the forest ecology of Western Ghats sprawling in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. These states accounts for over 92 percent of India's coffee production in growing season.

The traditional coffee producing areas in India are: - Karnataka (Chikmagalur, Coorg including Mysore, Hassan districts), Tamil Nadu  [Pulneys, Nilgiris, Shevroys (Salem), Anamalais (Coimbatore)],  Kerala  (Wyanad, Travancore, Nelliampathies)

The non-traditional  tracts of Coffee cultivation includes Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh and North Eastern Ghats of Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,  Orissa,  Assam , Manipur , Meghalaya , Mizoram, Tripura , Nagaland ,Sikkim etc.


The world production of coffee is around 6 million tons annually. Including the above-mentioned countries coffee is produced in 70 countries of the world. The top three producing countries account for over 50% of the total production and hence control the world coffee market. The level of production in India stands at the 6th position in the list of coffee producing countries.

India accounts for less than 5 percent of total global coffee production. However, the fortunes of Indian coffee growers are closely linked with global markets as the country exports more than 80 percent of its output.

India, a major coffee producer, has traditionally been a tea drinking nation but a growing middle class has increased the popularity of coffee shops. Coffee consumption in India is about 85 grams of coffee per person per year.


Particulars 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
PRODUCTION 4319 3950 4794 5033 5333
CONSUMPTION 1438 1518 1605 1713 1763

EXPORT OF COFFEE FROM INDIA (In '000 of 60 Kilo Bags)

Coffee is an important export commodity, it is exported to 74 countries. However, the major destination of India’s coffee export is Europe. Coffee exports from India witnessed a 10-year low in 2009, exporters believe the trend would change and exports will pick up in 2010 because of good output.

Particulars 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
EXPORT 2950 3378 3007 4577 5840

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