Coffee Planting

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The drinking of coffee was popular in England as early as the 1600s. The first coffee house was opened in Oxford in 1650 and London’s first coffee house was opened in 1652.

There is a legend that coffee arrived in India about this same time when Baba Budan smuggled seven coffee seeds into the country after his pilgrimage to Yemen. This gave rise to the cultivation of coffee in Chikmagalur in the, now Baba Budangiri, hills of southern India.

In 1773 antagonism arose in the British colonies – particularly North America - against the East India Company’s monopoly of the tea trade. This resulted in the Boston Tea Party (wherein tea, carried by the East India Company to Boston harbour, was thrown overboard into the water) which was one of the events leading up to the American War of Independence. The effects of this also rebounded on the coffee trade – as can be evidenced by the 1780 Europa Act .

The coffee industry has remained centred in the hills of Southern India. The early nineteenth century saw an increased growth in coffee planting – the activity having spread to the Shevaroy Hills (notably at Yercaud) and the Nilgiris (Kotagiri and Coonoor). This was not long after the first coffee house in India had opened in Calcutta(c 1780) which was followed by others – thus increasing its popularity as a fashionable drink.

It is noted that Catherine Falls near Kotagiri is named after the wife of M D Cockburn, district collector of Salem, who is said to be the person responsible for introducing the coffee plant to Yercaud in 1820. In 1843 he established the first coffee estate in Kotagiri.

External links

Historical books online

Gold. Sport and Coffee Planting in Mysore by Robert H Elliot (2009) – original copyright 1898. Limited Preview, Google Books. Full transcribed version, Project Gutenburg on Archive.org Other download options Archive.org Gutenberg.org.
Vol-I (1906-07), Vol-II (1908), Vol-III (1908), Vol- IV (1910), Vol- V (1910)
Vol-VI (1911), Vol- VII (1912), Vol- VIII (1913), Vol-IX (1914), Vol-X (1915)
Vol-XVI (1921), Vol-XX (1925), Vol-XXI (1926), Vol-XXIII (1928), Vol-XXV (1930)
Vol- XXVI (1931), Vol-XXVII (1932), Vol-XXXV (1940)
Some mirror editions available on Archive.org, search title "Planters Chronicle"
  • Proceedings Of The United Planters Association Of Southern India. Pdf downloads, Digital Library of India. 1910, 1911, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1929
Some mirror editions available on Archive.org, search title "Proceedings Of The United Planters Association Of Southern India"
Some mirror editions available on Archive.org, search title "Tea And Coffee Trade Journal"

Other