Indelible Affair At A Coffee Plantation In Coorg! #Lockdown

Tripoto
3rd Mar 2020
Photo of Indelible Affair At A Coffee Plantation In Coorg! #Lockdown by AdriftCouple
Photo of Indelible Affair At A Coffee Plantation In Coorg! #Lockdown 1/1 by AdriftCouple
The coffee plant grows fruit after three to five years of planting and provides optimum yield for about 50 to 60 years. However, some can live and bear fruit for upto 150 years. In some areas of this estate, coffee trees which are close to 100 years old can be found!
Day 1

Tea or Coffee? That is a no brainer for us now.

It is more romantic for a nature lover to be staying at a coffee plantation. Anyday! Certainly if it is like the Old Kent Estate in Coorg (Karnataka, India).

A ruminative evening walk, through the Old Kent coffee plantation, transforms into an indelible affair for us.

Here during the 1800s Col Wright, perhaps on horseback, surveyed his produce – red coffee beans, white flowers with the fragrance of jasmine, cocoa, cardamom and orange trees which gave an added fragrance to the strong shade grown Arabica (the premium type) and Robusta beans.

The tree lined paths, largely shady, are so inviting that a feeling of being pleasantly lost in another world befalls, wistful that this is not our real one.

Our shadows get longer in the late afternoon sun, rays filtering through the trees down on the path.

Ranjana ahead, often a lone, diminutive figure on one of the many trails of the vast 200 acre estate as I dawdle, reflective, on the ephemerality of this now.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade. – Great Expectations, Charles Dickens.

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

After another half an hour in this Neverland, as we take a turn, nature metamorphoses into commerce.

Day 2

There is a multitude of daily wagers sorting and getting weighed the coffee cherries they have picked during the day. The timing of our visit at Old Kent (earlier known as Horoor Estate) is propitious – the end of the harvesting season. We are fortunate to see the first blossom showers from the earlier harvested coffee shrubs, the last of the red coffee beans still on the plants waiting to be gathered and because of the ongoing harvest an opportune time for us to be able to see the pulper in action and the sorting, grading, removal of the beans from the pods and then the drying out in the sun.

Coffee beans coming out of the Pulper and then left for drying in the sun.

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

Sorting Of Coffee Beans

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

The Pulper in Action

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

We take the circular ‘Blue Trail’ behind the pulper which is a longer way back to the Lodge and are pleasantly surprised to come down to a large pond ringed by rain forest on one side, the vegetation a shimmering emerald reflection in the clear waters.

The large pond ringed by rain forest on one side, the vegetation a shimmering emerald reflection in the clear waters.

Photo of Old Kent Estate Road, Horur, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

As twilight hits, we emerge from the jungle and onto the metaled road with the plantation on both sides.

The sprinklers for watering the coffee bushes have started and between sauntering back lazily, at times, we sprint to avoid showers wetting us as a sprinkler changes direction.

We hasten on as we abruptly realize that darkness is falling fast and we are still a couple of kms away from the Lodge; but again idle, as we came across an explosion of silvery luminous robusta blooms. However, it is a full moon night, the darkness cut by a pale ribbon of moonlight on the now rocky trail, silhouetted rosewood trees with pepper creepers clinging endearingly lend a charm to the evening while coffee plants with their red cherries and snowy blossoms form the understory.

Pepper creepers growing around Rosewood trees. See inset for the unripe peppercorns.

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

Shortly we reach The Lodge, the original residence of Col Wright with his living room, study and bedrooms, all converted into public areas now. This was built in 1864 and is perched at a vantage point within the estate with magnificent views. It is said that the estate was originally a jungle in which big game abounded before Col Wright transformed it into a flourishing plantation. The mounted antlered deer heads in the verandah are evidence to this part of history.

Here, we enjoy a cup of strong and hot coffee savoring its taste and aroma, completing our Crop-to-Cup experience of coffee.

The Lodge, the original residence of Col Wright

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

After an early dinner we retire to our cottage, a home in itself. There are just eight cottages for guests making Old Kent the perfect place for a sequestered and tranquil sojourn.

Birdsongs in the morning break my slumber, tempt me outside to mingle with nature, to rejoice in the pleasures of daybreak. I walk around enjoying the first blush of light and try to capture the loud but only fleetingly visible birds, mostly hidden in the verdant foliage.

Our Cottage At Old Kent Estate - Cannock Chase!

Photo of Old Kent Estates & Spa, Coorg, Old Kent Estate Road, Kodagu, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

Our cottage, Cannock Chase (named after a district in England known for its spectacular natural beauty) is a large suite enhanced by a four poster and a comfortable living area with floor to ceiling windows allowing in an abundance of natural light, looking out to the plantation and hills beyond.

Ranjana loves the huge bathroom with its period bathtub and foot spa.

For me the favorite place is the small verandah and the adjoining private garden with full-blown flowers lending freshness to the air.

As I read The Coffee Story (on the board at the foot of my cottage) I drift down the annals of time from 1600 AD when Baba Budan (an Indian Sufi Saint) secretly brought back to India seven coffee beans from Mocha (Yemen) and planted them in the courtyard of his home in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

Photo of Coorg, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

Drifting down the annals of time at Old Kent Estate, Coorg!

Photo of Coorg, Karnataka, India by AdriftCouple

Article Authored By: Achal Bindraban.

Pictures By: Achal Bindraban.

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