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.
Historical books online
- Life in the Jungle or Letters from a Coffee-Planter in Ceylon to his Cousin in London by Sampson Brown. Simmond's Colonial Magazine and Foreign Miscellany, Volumes 10 and 11 1847. Google Books and Hathi Trust. Page 13, page 150, page 323, page 376, page 14, page 155, page 401. First published as a book in Colombo 1845 under a slightly different title: Life in the Jungle or Letters from a Planter to his Cousin in London Google Books. (Print quality is poorer in the latter version).
- "Ceylon. Coffee Planting" page 191 Supplement (No.I) to the Eight Report from the Select Committee on Sugar and Coffee Planting. British Parliamentary Papers. Reports 1847-8. Seventeenth Volume –Part IV. Also called Volume 23, Part 4. Index. Google Books.
- "Gampola and the Coffee Regions" page 222 Ceylon: An Account of the Island, Physical, Historical, and Topographical, with Notices of Its Natural History, Antiquities and Productions, Volume II by Sir James Emerson Tennent 4th edition, thoroughly revised 1860. Includes Map of Coffee Estates which requires strong magnification. Additional versions of the same map Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, Staatsbibliothek Berlin
- A Handbook to coffee planting in Southern India by John Shortt (1864). Particularly useful for its list of coffee planters on the Shevaroy and Niligiri Hills and descriptions of these estates (pages 164-176) Google Books
- Coffee: its physiology, history, and cultivation adapted as a work of reference for Ceylon, Wynaad, Coorg and The Neilgherries by Edmund C.P. Hull 1865 Google Books
- A concise essay on the medical treatment of Malabar coolies employed on the coffee estates of Ceylon and India by J. Thwaites M D 1865 Archive.org
- The Experiences of a Planter in the Jungles of Mysore by Robert H Elliot 1871. Volume I Google Books. Volume II HathiTrust Digital Library. Health management of plantation coolies page 290, Vol. II. Includes Coffee, Chinchona, Cardamon, Tea, Cotton, Silk, Sandal-Wood, Rhea-Grass.
- Gold, Sport and Coffee Planting in Mysore by Robert H Elliot 1894 Archive.org.
- Coffee planting in Southern India and Ceylon by ECP Hull 1877 Archive.org
- On the Indian Hills: Or, Coffee-planting in Southern India by Edwin Lester Linden Arnold. A new edition, with illustrations 1893 Archive.org. Also: Volume 1 1881 edition, Volume 2 1881 edition Limited preview,google books
- The Wynaad and the Planting Industry of Southern India by Francis Ford 1895 Archive.org
- The Planters' Chronicle. Published at Madras by the United Planters' Association of Southern India. Initially a monthly, in early 1910 it became a weekly, and remained so until 1930, with a bimonthly journal during World War II. Pdf downloads, Digital Library of India.
- 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"
- The Tea And Coffee Trade Journal, published in New York. Pdf downloads, Digital Library of India. (1916) Vol.31, (1917) Vol.33, (1918) Vol.35, (1920) Vol.38, No.1, (1920) Vol.38, No. 2-6, (1920) Vol.39
- Some mirror editions available on Archive.org, search title "Tea And Coffee Trade Journal"
- Horticultural and economic plants of the Nilgiris edited by S Krishnamurthi 1953 Includes Tea, coffee, chinchona etc Archive.org
- Planting Directory Of Southern India 1956. Published by the United Planters Association Of Southern India, Pdf download, Digital Library of India. it is also available on Archive.org
- Indian filter coffee Wikipedia. Gives an interesting account of coffee drinking habits with topical quotes.
- M D Cockburn Wikipedia
- "Evolution of Plantations, Migration, and Population Growth in Nilgiris and Coorg (South India)" by Steen Folke, Geografisk Tidsskrift Bind 65 (1966) Docs.google version, original pdf
- "The white planter’s exalted club" by Shashikiran Mullur, The Deccan Herald (2009). Recalls British coffee planters in the town of Munzerabad (Sakleshpur).
- The Path to the Hills: History of the Plantations on Western Ghats. Tea Coffee and Rubber. original pdf www.stayhomz.com
- UPASI (The United Planters' Association of Southern India) is an apex body of planters of tea, coffee, rubber, pepper and cardamom in the Southern States of India viz. Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka in existence since 1893.
- "From the pages of history" April 12, 2005 The Hindu The United Planters' Association of Southern India
- Planting History [Central Travancore] poabsestates.com