STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 1

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16 STiR tea & coffee industry international STiR:The expansion of Coffee Day, Lavazza, and the Tata Global Beverage-Starbucks alliance has led to fast-growth of coffee retail in select urban areas, extending the availability of prepared coffee outside the traditional south India cities, such as Bangalore and Coimbatore. Describe how coffee is taking off in India. Chairman Akhtar: Coffee, as a beverage, is break- ing geographical barriers in India and making inroads into non-traditional areas of coffee consumption. Cof- fee consumption is no longer confined to southern states. The beverage has transitioned as an aspirational drink for India's young upwardly mobile population. The potential in the domestic market is apparent with high levels of investment by a number of domestic and international coffee chains in the Indian coffee sector especially in non-south regions. As northern India has a higher percentage of occasional – as opposed to daily - drinkers than the south, the region is believed to have the greatest growth potential which could be served by new cafes, kiosks and other coffee retailing formats. STiR:India is major supplier of both robusta and arabica coffee. Will you describe in brief the demand for export, and is demand increasing in both cultivars? Where are these coffees destined? Chairman Akhtar: India has evolved as a reliable producer and supplier of both high quality arabica and robusta coffees. Both arabica and robusta coffees (green beans) have retained a growing demand from major coffee consuming countries especially EU coun- tries such as Italy, Germany, and Belgium. Indian cof- fee's visibility is also increasing in high-value markets such as U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, CIS, and the Middle East countries with the Indian coffees fetching a fairly good premium therein. While Indian washed arabicas are appreciated for their mild- ness, sweet characteristics and a balanced acidity, In- dian washed robustas are particularly sought for their good body and softness which are desirable character- istics to prepare roast and ground as well as espresso blends. Also, Indian soluble coffee is preferred by Rus- sia and the CIS countries. In recent years, significant volumes of soluble coffee are also being exported to Turkey. STiR:Given the growing demand within India's domestic market, will you estimate the export capacity for arabica, How much is production growing? Chairman Akhtar: Since 2010-11, India's annual coffee production has consistently exceeded 5 million bags (60 kg bags) with growth in robusta output higher than arabica. The growth in production has been pos- sible due to the adoption of better production prac- tices and expansion of coffee-growing areas in non- traditional areas and the north-eastern region wherein Arabica cultivation is being taken up. While domestic coffee consumption in India is growing, most of In- dia's domestic coffee consumption is soluble coffee which is produced using a liberal proportion of ro- bustas (primarily due to cost considerations and the taste preferences of the consumers). Considering the growth in arabica production (due to expansion in area under arabica) and domestic consumption patterns, we are confident to meet the export demand of Indian arabicas in the medium term. The country is increasing its production to meet domestic coffee demand, while increasing quantities of both coffees that are available for the export market. STiR:Coffee consumption is still largely soluble, vs ground roast and whole bean. Describe the thriving soluble coffee market of India. How fast it is growing and where it is concentrated. Chairman Akhtar: It is estimated that soluble coffee currently constitutes about 57% of Indian do- mestic consumption. The per-capita consumption of soluble coffee is higher in the non-south regions while demand for ground roast and whole beans is dominant Jawaid Akhtar was named chairman of the Cof- fee Board of India in May 2010, replacing G.V. Krishna Rau. During his five years of service coffee has grown in popularity and importance to the domes- tic market. Akhtar has championed many projects including the expansion of coffee areas, development of new coffee cultivars, mechanization of coffee farm operations, sophisticated training on coffee quality and entrepreneurship while popularizing specialty coffee shops and the role of baristas. NEWS Q A Jawaid Akhtar Chairman, Coffee Board of India

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