Guest Post from BreakAway – Journeys are about self-discovery and the discovery of new places, people, cultures and traditions. Visit India with Breakaway – Journeys off the Map
You might know what goes into your favourite coffee bottle. But to know just what is behind it, go a little beyond the label. And come with us to Chikmagalur. Trust us, you’ll never look at your morning brew the same again.
Saying “coffee” seems incomplete without saying “estate” right after. So let’s start there. Bound by the Bhadra River on one side and rolling hills on the other three, this nearly 100 year old estate sprawls over 350 lush acres. It’s still run by the family that founded it and, needless to say, their love of the land shows all over the estate. Take, for instance, the care and love with which the original planter’s bungalow has been maintained. That’s where you’ll be staying, by the way. Set amidst of fruit trees, this 50 year old marvel boasts exquisite planters’ furniture casually strewn around its drawing room, dining room and four bedrooms. It comes with the whole complement of efficient staff, the crown jewel of which is the most aptly named Amma, the resident cook who puts out spreads as if guests were her own children. We’ve also organised cooking classes in which Amma will gladly show you how she weaves her magic.
But if you think this breakaway is about sitting back and lazily sleeping off Amma’s gastronomic indulgences, think again. With its towering old trees shrouded in broad leaves and creepers and the roads little more than dirt tracks, the property is more Entwood than estate. And it throws up an almost Tolekinesque range of experiences for the intrepid. There’s a drive up to the highest peak, from where we can enjoy a peg or a mug and admire the setting sun as it winks goodbye over the Bhadra River. There’s an easy trek through the woods, picking herbs and leaves, including those favoured by bison (while they aren’t looking, of course) and bringing them back to the house for Amma to transform into delicious chutneys. There’s also a short walk to a secret waterhole, where you can try your luck at some joy fishing and on a short stroll to the nearby bridge, where watching thousands of fruit bats (not of the Dracula variety) take off against the evening sky is a sight you’re not likely to forget any time soon.
And then, our piece de resistance – a night walk around the estate, where we might run into some deer, wild boar and if we’re really lucky, bison.
You can’t come to a coffee estate without meeting the star of the show, can you? And since its picking season, the star is out on show. We’ll take you picking and teach you not just which beans to pick, but also how to roast them. And that’s not all. Did you know that coffee estates play the perfect hosts for pepper farming? No? Then you also wouldn’t know that pepper is another thing you’re going to learn to pick. We’d also love to promise you areca nut picking, but clambering up a dangerously thin looking palm and jumping from one to the other might not be your cup of coffee. Don’t worry though – the beans you’ve picked most certainly will be.
So come, breakaway and discover just why there’s more to your coffee than the beans or their blend. Breakaway – Journeys off the Map
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