Whiff of Araku Valley

S Krishna Chaitanya gives us an insight into the world of organic coffee and tells us what makes the bean to cup experience of drinking an Araku Aroma Coffee so special

BY NAMITA GUPTA

Blended in the Eastern ghats, Araku Aroma coffee is enriched with the goodness of high quality coffee beans. Produced by the local tribes at high elevations that are suitable for coffee growing, these beans are roasted to the highest of industry standards and that’s what gives it the rich flavours. Araku Aroma coffee opened its first outlet in New Jersey in 2018, and closer home, it was unveiled at Nagarjuna Circle in Hyderabad by Chaitanya. We caught up with the humble and savvy entrepreneur from Hyderabad S Krishna Chaitanya, who shared his knowledge on organic coffee, cafe culture and more.

What is your family background and how did you get into coffee growing?
We hail from a family run business and we are also into agriculture. I was associated with coffee plantations for many years and from my childhood I was attracted to the tribes and the coffee growing culture. After completing my post graduation in Vizag, I used to visit the Araku valley often. I got into dry land farming and since we had experience in this field, I personally wanted to get into quality coffee making myself. I started Araku Aroma Coffee for the cause of tribal welfare under the umbrella of our company Krish Food and Fun India.

What is special about Araku Aroma Coffee?
As of now we are the only company in the entire country and USA who are growing our Araku Valley coffees in Araku Valley itself and are also selling it in our cafes. Our backbone is strong R&D and we specialise in traditional roasting methods. Even if the bean is good, if the roasting process is not upto the standards, then the coffee that comes out may not be of the best quality. Our roasting adds value to our beans. People have understood that Araku coffees are by default organic, but the yield is low compared to other coffees that are grown in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Araku is completely arabica without any robusta. Here the coffee plantations are grown with pepper alongside so the spice notes come in the coffee. In Araku, there are lot of fruits grown alongside the coffee, so those lend an organic sweetish note to the coffee, which is extremely unique. We don’t encourage chicory at all. Most of the coffees grown in the South have a lot of chicory, but we make only pure, organic coffee.

What are the Araku Aroma blends and flavours?
Currently instant coffees and premixes are predominating the market. We come in a niche segment of Araku valley grown organic coffee that is mild and smooth and leaves a wonderful and completely refreshing taste on the palate. Arakuccino and Lovelatte are our two exclusive coffees, that we serve and these are also on retail at the Araku Aroma coffee outlets. Arakuccino is mild yet flavourful, whereas Lovelatte is rich in flavour. We have 15 outlets currently. Our cafes not only serve a perfect hot cuppa coffee, but you can also witness a live roasting set-up with Arabica beans and the friendly staff patiently explaining about the beans and any other questions one might have. The aromas are something that one must experience first hand.

What’s your opinion on the sad incident that shook not just the coffee industry, but the entire entrepreneurial community globally?
It’s unfortunate what happened recently. In my eyes he was a successful man and will always be. He never failed and he will always be known as the entrepreneur who gave employment to thousands of people across the world.

Some tips for budding entrepreneurs in the coffee industry?
The location of the cafe is very crucial. Also keep the manpower of the cafe to minimal possible. Sustaining a lot of employees is not easy.

What are your growth plans?
We are now present in the north, east and south our presence is there and we are planning 100 more cafes in the coming few years. We are looking to open in Bengaluru very soon. We have signed up Sonali Swami, Bengaluru-based fitness athlete and coach as our brand ambassador. Sonali believes that black coffee has many benefits and may boost your metabolism and may even aid in fat loss, as long as one is physically active and eating a healthy diet. Next month we are planning to launch in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Dallas and we are already present in New Jersey and the response has been very good.