The World Coffee Conference (WCC) has enhanced the image of India as the producer of some of the finest coffees besides highlighting the emerging vibrant coffee culture in the country.

Also, the four-day event organised by the International Coffee Organisation and the Coffee Board in Bengaluru that concluded Thursday showcased how the Indian coffees are grown sustainably to the global stakeholders.

The response to WCC2023, from both global and domestic stakeholders, was incredible and that it should help the Indian growers fetch better price going forward, besides attracting investments, technology and fuelling innovation, said KG Jagadeesha, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board.

Over 2,600 delegates including 323 overseas participants from 31 coffee growing and consuming countries attended the event, where discussions revolved on “Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture” and challenges faced by the sector.

Fetching premium

India is among the only few countries where coffees are grown under the shade of other trees, while large producers Brazil and Vietnam grow them in the open.

“Today Indian coffees fetch premiums better than any other coffees. The showcasing of coffees to global buyers should help the growers fetch better prices,” Jagadeesha said. Indian coffees now fetch premiums of 15-20 per cent over the terminal prices in London and New York compared with 10-15 per cent discounts some 20 years ago, he said. While stating that India as a market has still a long way to go in catching up major consuming countries in terms of adopting processing technologies, Jagadeesha said the coffee culture was spreading fast in the northern parts of the country. Mumbai is becoming the second capital of coffee after Bengaluru, he said.

Training baristas

While the cafe culture is spreading fast across the country, the lack of trained baristas is seen as a challenge in the sector. To overcome the skill-related issues, the Coffee Board is planning to train over 1,000 baristas across the country and has set up a mobile team for skill building, Jagadeesha said.

Also, the Coffee Board unveiled the India Coffee App which will help stakeholders such as growers and exporters avail all services offered by the Board, besides providing information on weather and market prices among others.

Addressing the growers conclave, Additional Commerce Secretary, Amardeep Singh Bhatia, said the demand for coffees has been on the rise over the past three decades globally. The growing demand for the speciality coffees is a positive development for the industry.

The changing climatic pattern is seen emerging as big challenge for the coffee production globally. Bhatia said that producing countries should come up with a plan to deal with challenges like climate change, rise in pest attacks and residues, while stressing upon the need to accelerate the research and development activities.

The government is looking to encourage coffee cultivation in the non-traditional growing regions, Bhatia said. The government is aiming to bring in an additional two lakh hectares under coffee crop over the next 10 years in the non-traditional growing States of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and the North-East.

The four day WCC2023 showcased a diverse array of products and innovations taking place in the coffee industry, in which representatives from ICO member country representatives, coffee growers, roasters, curers, cafe owners, policymakers, start-ups and HORECA representatives participated.