After a quick flight from Mumbai to Bangalore, we were picked up by a chauffeur and driven to the Tata Coffee Guest House. Situated right in the center of Bangalore, in Frazier town, the house is quaint and homely. A delicious dinner of Hyderabadi biryani (which is quite different from the biryani I am used to in Mumbai) was prepared, and after getting to know the other guests a little bit, I went to bed, extremely excited about the next day.
Breakfast was at 6.30 that morning, and I thoroughly enjoyed the spread they had prepared for us. After we had eaten a hearty breakfast, in preparation for the long drive to Coorg, we met with the spokesperson of Tata Coffee, Gautum Prakash. He gave us insights into what we would be experiencing and told us about the activities that we would take part in. Did you know that there are about 105 coffee estates in Coorg and only one tea estate? Well, neither did I, but I was very excited about what I was to learn over the next few days. He gave us interesting trivia on the flora and fauna in the area. Gautum also told us about the golf course, where we could engage in a few rounds the following afternoon, and the helipad, where you can arrive at, if you’re willing to part with 2 lakh rupees for a ride one way.
The drive to Coorg was fairly long, about 6 hours, but let me tell you that it was completely worth it. The fresh air, soothing greenery, and the sound of silence only a tad disturbed by the sound of birds and the rustling of leaves, I was in heaven.
There are 8 bungalows at the Tata Coffee Plantation Trails available for guests. We were to stay at the Thaneerhulla bungalow, which is one of the two premium bungalows at the estate (the other being the Cottabetta bungalow). As we stepped into the bungalow, we were traditionally welcomed with flower garlands and wet towels, etc. This bungalow has five rooms, each decorated very differently from each other. It was an absolute pleasure to explore each room and discover the different themes that they offer.
My room was gorgeous, furnished with a beautiful bed, and stunningly crafted armchairs, just perfect for one to sit and read a book or chat over a cup of coffee. There was also another room, furnished with a single bed, for families, accompanied by a child.
The restroom included a shower room as well as a bath tub, and plantation trails herbal body wash, and shampoo made for a nice touch.
After a short tour of the bungalow, we were led to the dining room, which I must say, was always kept so neat, and presentable. Everyone ate together and the butler service was impeccable. They told us later that this was to add and offer a more heritage feel to the overall experience. All meals were delicious and included signature Coorg dishes too. It was heavenly!
After a satisfying lunch, we were driven in a jeep, yes, a jeep, to the coffee estate where we learnt a lot about the coffee business and the estate.
Our guide for that afternoon, has worked at the estate for 29 years and knows every nook and corner of that place. I was in awe of the fact that he knew every tiny detail. The estate is about 1050 acres, which is 620 hectares. Massive, right? We learnt about the two types of coffee; Arabica and Robusta. We learnt how to differentiate between them, as the leaves of the Robusta plants are larger and the berries are smaller. We were also shown the pepper vines, growing in abundance. We walked through the plantation trails for a while, picked some coffee berries, and then headed to the place where the coffee beans are dried and roasted.
I was in coffee heaven. As we got into the driveway, the heady aroma of coffee was absolutely overwhelming. Our guide showed us the coffee beans kept out to dry, as well as the ones that had already been roasted. He educated us a little bit more about the whole process and showed us the place where they harvest water too. It was absolutely gorgeous.
A well-spent afternoon ended with a refreshing drink of coconut water and then we headed back to the bungalow.
Quite worn out after a long day, we were served dinner by a bonfire, and introduced to some of the managers of the estate. After learning more about the estate and their 19+ years of experience, we retired to our rooms, as we had an early morning ahead of us.
Experienced by Kristianne Mascarenhas