Farm – Seethargundu
Altitude – 1050-1350 masl
Location – Nelliyampathy hills, Chittur Taluk, Palakkad district, Kerala state, South India
Preparation – Washed, patio dried
Variety – SL9
Owners – POABS Organic Coffee Estates
We have selected a washed coffee from the biodynamic and organically certified ‘Seethargundu Estate’ which can be found nestled in the Nelliyampathy hills in the Palakkad district of Kerala in South India. The area is situated amongst the Sahyadri, also known as the Western Ghats, which is the mountain range running across the west coast of India. It is one of 28 areas in the world recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to the rich biodiversity found there. Twenty seven per cent of the country’s plant species can be found in this
region and coffee grows amongst tea, cardamom, orange, pepper and vanilla plantations. The Nelliyampathy hills run adjacent to the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary where wild elephants, leopards and bison can be found roaming the area.
The Seethargundu Estate has been owned by the POABS Group since 1989 and had previously been derelict for nearly 16 years. The prior neglect actually turned out to be an opportunity as the land had been allowed to lie unused for a period of time, which formed a perfect base for organic farming. Since then, all practices on the farm have been carried out organically and from the year 2000, the Estate has adopted Biodynamic processes with direction from the certifying body Demeter who declared that the estate is an exemplary organic project in India, meeting all the expectations of organic plant production. It has been the aim of Seethargundu to follow holistic agricultural practices to ensure the surrounding ecosystem can become self-sustaining. The estate produces its own compost, seeds and livestock and all waste products from the farm are used for compost. Biodynamic composting is also practiced using cow horn manure which can renew degraded soils and promote soil fertility.
Coffee is planted under a double canopy of shade resulting in an incredible habitat for bird-life. Much of the area is protected and the soil is rich in humus. The estate employs around 500 workers during the harvest season who select ripe red cherry and deposit it at the estate’s wet mill where dense cherries are separated from unripes in a floatation tank before being pulped using a McKinnon depulper. The pulped beans then undergo dry fermentation before being washed to remove the sticky mucilage and are finally laid to dry on patios for a period of up to 10 days dependent on weather. Once dry, the parchment beans are then sent to a dry mill