India has been a major producer of coffee since ancient times, as far back as 1670, when coffee beans from Yemen were introduced to the Chandragiri hills of Karnataka. Today, India has several coffee plantations which produce quality beans and is counted among the top 10 coffee-producing countries. Coffee production in India is dominated by the south (in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and some in Odisha), but other states are gradually making a mark with quality coffee and winning international awards. Nagaland's Naga Coffee recently won the prestigious Gold award for its Nagaland Washing Station Natural Coffee at the Aurora International Taste Challenge (AITC) 2023, held in South Africa.
The winning coffee is grown by local farmers in the state capital Kohima. Local news reports say that this year, it underwent an experimental process. Ripe coffee cherries from local farmers were dried via a new procedure that included playhouse drying during the winter season in Kohima, followed by sun-drying in Dimapur. This double-drying process produced amazing sweetness. This season, just 120 kg of this coffee was produced. However, this was the first time Nagaland produced a coffee that scored above 85 points on the Speciality Coffee Association's rating. The team that processed the award-winning coffee included co-founder Dr Pieter Vermeulen, Kajiikho Ariicho, and mill manager Ënga Antühü.
About Naga Coffee
Naga Coffee, established in 2016, is a public-private partnership between the Nagaland Department of Land Resources and Noble Cause, a South African firm formed by Peter Vermeulen. Nagaland's numerous districts grow high-altitude speciality coffee in natural forest shade. The Coffee Board of India obtains coffee seeds and distributes them to small growers for planting. The Naga Coffee staff then roasts these coffees. The goal is to promote locally produced Himalayan coffee with a natural citrus flavour while also creating jobs in the state.
The Aurora International Taste Challenge was created to highlight and honour food and beverage quality on a global scale while also assisting customers in making confident purchases of award-winning, expertly-rated items. The AITC was hosted in South Africa in 2023 to commemorate and honour universal food quality. This year the Aurora International Taste Challenge was held in South Africa and had some of the top food professionals judging products from around the world. The goal was to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.
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