‘Bengaluru’s coffee culture has changed tremendously’

‘Bengaluru’s coffee culture has changed tremendously’

Culinary legend Ferran Adria’s book ‘Coffee Sapiens’ explores innovations in coffee making. He says our city’s tastes have moved from kaapi to frappuccino

Ferran Adrià began his career in the food industry in 1980.

Spanish chef Ferran Adria is known for his immense contribution to the culinary world. From experimental cooking to exploring molecular gastronomy, he is considered to be one of the world’s greatest chefs. Understanding the need of innovation, the latest book ‘Coffee Sapiens’ is a product of a partnership between Lavazza and Ferran Adrià, that encourages exploring and experimenting with the art of coffee.

In an interview with Metrolife, the culinary expert talks about his book and more.

What inspired your book ‘Coffee Sapiens’?

I was encouraged by two factors. Firstly, my passion for coffee and my longtime relationship with Lavazza, and the will to analyse different aspects of the gastronomic phenomenon.  

Is the book derived from your own experiences?

Each work contains the subjective experience of the author. In this book, we have applied the methodology of contextualise, order, comprehend and analyse anything related to a concrete product, with the aim of covering all the extensions that the magic product coffee, can offer.

Does the book describe coffee’s connection to different cultures, people’s habits and customs?

Our gastronomic studies are focused on the Occidental (Western) tradition because it is the one we know best and unpretentiously. We do not see ourselves capable of approaching other big gastronomic traditions. A great part of the work is dedicated to the role that coffee and its elaborations play in the Occidental fine dining sector.  

Your observations about experimentation with coffee in India and Bengaluru.

The coffee culture in Bengaluru has changed tremendously. And so have the city’s coffee drinkers, from ‘one filter kaapi’ to ‘a frappuccino’. These so-called coffee drinkers choose among cappuccinos, espresso and cold coffees with add-ons and what not. Although Indian Coffee Houses and ‘darshinis’ are still frequented by those who cherish the traditional south Indian coffee, international coffee chains and little cafes have managed to attract a significant crowd. 

The most recent trend in the city’s coffee culture stems from the growing emphasis on artisan coffee and the perception of coffee as an experience rather than just a daily dose of caffeine. This comes from an increasing interest in quality coffee among the millennial who look at coffee consumption as an aspirational experience, a new lifestyle, especially as far as out-of-home coffee consumption. The third wave of coffee, a movement to produce high-quality coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, has been a significant trend in India.

Coffee lovers riding this rapidly-expanding wave are concerned with every little aspect of their coffee elaboration, starting from where the beans come from to drinking etiquettes. And it doesn’t stop there, these coffee connoisseurs insist on brewing their own coffee for which they invest in different brewing equipment and experiment with recipes and techniques from around the world.

Which are your favourite types of Indian coffee?

The coffee genus includes more than 100 plant species, all native of tropical Africa and islands of the Indian Ocean. The most popular are coffea arabica and coffea canephora, commonly known as robusta. Indian coffee is one among the highly valued coffee in the world market, especially in Europe, where it is sold as premium coffee. In fact, I believe that India is the only country where the total coffee cultivation happens under shade, is handpicked and then sun-dried. India grows both arabica (around 1/3 of production) and robusta (around 2/3 of production) varieties of coffee.

My favourite type is arabica which is a high-grade coffee and contains less caffeine than Robusta.