Indians love to have chai, and there is no argument here. But given the fad and much-publicized love for the drink, the thought that tea has always been an intrinsic part of Indian background is something that is slightly sophisticated.
For the less initiated, the commercial production of tea in the Indian zone got flagged off by the British East India Company just before the early nineteenth century, with the aim to take down the Chinese control on the product.
Originally used by Anglicised Indians, tea was not even a known drink amidst the regular folks in the nation until 1950s, when the Tea Board’s promotion drive proved to be a game-changer for the country, which led to tea impeccably infiltrating its way into Indian households, and turning out to be an essential part of people’s lives.
In contrast, it is fascinating to make a note of coffee, tea’s strongest candidate, which has frequently elicited various arguments and discussions over its popularity and use has had a widespread historical track in the subcontinent.
There is a prolonged story of how a few beans travelled crosswise the Arabian Sea to be in India and move on to become one of the popular drinks in the nation.
So it all starts with Chikkamagalur, the well-known hill station crammed with vast expanses of coffee plants. In addition Arakku Valley, a small hill station in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where one can come across coffee plants.
There is a little shrine of Baba Budan in Chikkamagalur. He was the man who introduced coffee to India, at a time when the illegal export of the product or even its beans was declared an offence carrying a punishment of death!
As ornately described at the repository, Baba Budan was a 16th-century saint from Karnataka, who on his way back from a pilgrimage to Mecca, managed to smuggle seven coffee beans under the attentive eyes of the Yemenis and took these to Mysore.
These seeds got planted by Baba Budan on the Chandragiri crest in Kadur region of Mysore and rest is history!