SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Consulate General of India, in association with the Girijan Cooperative Corporation of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, held a promotional event for Araku Valley Arabic Coffee March 31 at the Presidio & Concordia Club here with the participation of venture capitalists, hoteliers, community leaders, restaurateurs and members of the ethnic media.
Araku Coffee is a GI (Geographical Indication) tagged product from a beautiful valley in the eastern ghats of Andhra Pradesh near Visakhapatnam at an elevation of about 3000 feet. The Araku Coffee is already popular in France where it has won the ‘Prix Epicures OR’, the first Indian coffee blend to have won such a prestigious honor.
The valley is home to 150 different tribal communities of India that produces fruits and spices besides the unique coffee. Because of its characteristic aroma and qualities, the coffee received its GI tag in 2019. A GI is a name or sign used on products which belong to a specific geographical location or origin and is a certification that the product possesses certain qualities that are unique to that locality. The tribal farmers use standard organic farming practices, and they are being helped by TRIFED of the Government of India and the Girigan Cooperative Corporation, both in production and marketing of this coffee.
Coffee cultivation in the Araku region began in the early 1900s. But it came into the limelight only a few years ago after a couple of players like GCC and the Naandi Foundation (an organization working in the social sector) entered the fray to help the adivasis grow quality beans and market their produce on the global platform.
Manoj Kumar, CEO of Naandi Foundation, says, “When I started working in the area as part of Naandi Foundation 20 years ago, people told us this was a ‘non-traditional’ coffee region! We have come a long way since then, with a strong cooperative of 10,000 adivasi farmers and a central processing unit. We opened a flagship store in Paris and won the Gold Medal for the best coffee pod at the Prix Epicures OR 2018 Award. The GI tag is a safety net and a recognition that this region’s coffee has a unique identity.”
A loyal Araku coffee fan, Vidya Raghu, says, “It is different. There is an exhilarating aroma, golden brown froth and a lingering, slightly sharp after-taste that envelopes your senses. I haven’t experienced this kind of refreshing flavor with any other coffee I’ve had.”
The Araku Coffee is available both in powder and instant coffee forms in the U.S. in a limited way at Walmart and eBay.