Veer Attikan - More than a fig forest

Posted by Stella Cochrane on

If you haven't noticed already, we are pretty excited to have the new harvest of green beans. In a world where the modern grocery store has more or less conditioned us to believe that everything is available at all times of the year its so refreshing to reminded of the link from cup to nature.

With this in mind, let's take a look at one of our reemerging stars of the single origins - the Veer Attikan.

Veer Attikan estate sits on a nature reserve in the Biligiri Rangan Hills (or B.R Hills as they are more commonly known). The estate was founded some 100 years ago by early English explorers and much of the original infrastructure — like the processing mill and bungalow accommodation – are still in use today. The old estate bungalow sits on top of one of the highest peaks in the range and overlooks the breathtaking Attikan coffee estate which sprawls across 400 acres of natural rainforest.

From above, you’re hard pressed to see a single coffee tree with the estate utilising much of the dense natural rainforest canopy as its shade. The estate itself is named after this natural shade canopy — Atti (Fig) and Kan (Forest).

It really is an amazing coffee location. From the front porch of the bungalows, you are greeted by the sweeping vista that is Veer Attikan estate. A short two minute walk behind the bungalows greets you with another vista, this time looking back toward the town of Hassan which is barely noticeable through the layers of cloud and mist. At the more arid times of year you may be able to spot wild elephants on the estate as they often come to seek food and water. 

Veer Attikan estate is an easy place to fall in love with — from the incredible wildlife and natural terroir of the place to the stunning coffee estate and friendly local people. It’s located at the edge of the world but at the forefront of India’s finest quality coffee. The nature reserve and coffee estate come together to produce something of incredible beauty, balance and harmony — this place is special, unique and irreplaceable.

But what about the coffee you shout?!? As with viticulture, I get the impression that coffee production and coffee quality often collide and counteract each other. Strangely, some of the best yielding environments and cultivars simply do not produce the greatest cupping results. Fast growing, high yielding estates like Karadykhan whilst looking healthy and vibrant on the surface, encourage coffees trees which are more akin to spoilt children. The trifecta of plentiful rain, rich soil and a lower altitude encourages fast growth and maturation, but does little for cup quality, nuance and complexity. The coffee trees get what they want when they want it in this scenario. The result? Spoilt little cherries!

One of the things that hits you as you enter the Veer Attikan, is that the landscape is more dry and arid than the one at their sister estate, Karadykhan. For a start, the altitude is some 500-600m higher in elevation than Karadykhan which has a huge impact on coffee cherry maturation and slower growth rates. Such conditions generally favour the development of coffee flavour, especially in Arabica. The plants also tend to be more vibrant in colour — being a deeper, richer hue of green especially in the higher altitude lots around the bungalow; and in general, the entire region experiences its bloom and start to the flowering season much later than its lower altitude cousin.

Stressing and straining plants to improve the quality of production is a known technique in this area too and examples of this in horticulture can be seen everywhere amongst fruiting varieties such as stone fruit, grapes and many different vegetables. The general gist of this idea is that denying the plant what it needs helps to establish a deeper root system that increases the uptake of nutrients during fruit development. This also makes the plant generally more hardy in nature, as with this more established root system the plants are more capable of flourishing in times of drought. To see this happening at Veer Attikan naturally with little influence from its ground staff truly suggests that this is one of the most ideal landscapes for coffee production in the area and perhaps in India. Couple the ideal environmental conditions with Sangameshwar’s progressive attention to agricultural practices and processing detail makes logical sense.

You can get your hands on a bag of this deliciously rich coffee with a warming aroma of dark fruits, bakers chocolate and dried tobacco flavours just click on our store. Your tastes buds will thank you for it.

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