Coffee at 4,137 feet above the sea level.
Yes, you read that right! Sitting in a beautiful cafe in the city of Kohima with my regular dose of pour-over, overlooking the blue-skies and surrounded by the mountains, I think of how far the coffee has come. For many of you, it might be a very new thing to see and understand, or perhaps you’re even hearing it for the first time that the state of Nagaland to grows coffee. Just as surprising to us, we heard about Ete Coffee two years ago and found out that they are the first generation of coffee roasters there, and that they even have their own specialty roastery and coffee bar in Nagaland. Ete Coffee works very closely with the local coffee growers of Nagaland by encouraging, educating, motivating and leading them through the EML network.
As for their history, the Coffee Board of India worked with a few agriculture and allied departments of Nagaland back in the 1980s. They did take the initiative then, to plant coffee there, however, the project could not live up full-fledged due to a lack of buyers/market linkage.
I was privileged enough to meet these first generations of coffee growers of Nagaland, and through our conversations, I learned how they are willing to take up the coffee plantation and farming very seriously and that they are trying to give their best to ensure that even Nagaland is very much a part of the coffee map of India. Nagaland has its own unique challenges. One of the main drawbacks, which I noticed, was the road conditions which is not at all in a very good shape, which in turn makes it difficult for growers to have access to their own farms for timely maintenance work. Even when we visited the coffee farms during my trip, it took us a couple of hours to reach our destination. One of the owners of the farm was telling us about how during the monsoon season, which is one of the most crucial times for a coffee planter to come and check on the plants, there were a lot of unforeseen landslides because of which, for almost two months he was not able to see the coffee plantation at all. The plants were definitely affected but they still have a lot more hope to do better than what the coffee scene looked like in the earlier years.
On this short trip, I was able to meet and interact with the owners of just a couple of coffee places in the town, looking at their cafe’s and their passion for coffee but I can surely say that a new culture is arising up here in the hills. Moments like this, I am filled with joy for just being a part of this coffee community that is slowly but greatly growing. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here again and really soon too!
If you wish to visit some of these coffee bars and roasteries, here are the links of the cafes:
- Ete Coffee Roastery & Bar
- Sorshia and Co