On the Himalayan coffee trail…

Kathmandu is packed with coffee shops and bars – both international and local – of various formats which indicates the rapid growth of coffee industry and coffee culture in Nepal which was almost non-existent even in 10-15 years back in a primarily tea drinking country where coffee was considered as the drink of tourists and westerners and found only in the menu of specialized restaurants and five star hotels catering to tourists & expatriates.

Photo Courtesy – Café Himalayan Java, Kathmandu

I have traveled to Nepal extensively both for work and leisure in the last few years. Wrapping up my day’s work with a big cup of cappuccino or double espresso shot with a piece of my favorite confectionery has been a regular ritual of my business trips. It was during one of those trips when I discovered the magic of Himalayan organic coffee. The very first sip of coffee on a chilly winter evening refreshed me instantaneously and made me feel like I was ready to start my day all over again. The deep, intense taste and aroma still linger and whenever I am in Nepal, fresh locally produced organic Himalayan coffee is my first choice of beverage.

One of my favorite spots to get my caffeine fix is Himalayan Java Cafe located in the touristy Thamel area in Kathmandu,  which uses only 100% organic Nepal Arabica beans which are freshly roasted and brewed by their baristas. The warm and informal ambiance, along with the wide range of regular and gourmet organic Himalayan coffees in various blends, makes this place a very popular hangout for tourists, expats, and the local populace.

Apart from the Himalayan Java Cafe, another highly recommended place for organic Himalayan coffee and gourmet food in town is the Roadhouse Cafe in Thamel, Kathmandu.

The cultivation of coffee in Nepal is not new, however, it has picked up momentum over the last few decades. Nepal’s unique terrain, topography, soil, altitude and climatic conditions constitute the perfect conditions required for coffee plantation. This, along with eco-friendly practices used for organic cultivation, gives this coffee its distinctive Himalayan flavor, aroma, and body.

More farmers are turning to this high-value cash crop – coffee – from traditional crops such as maize and millet as it is arduous to grow and more profitable.

National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) has played a major role in improving and diversifying processes, providing skill-based training, technical and financial support to farmers and all involved in this new but promising industry.

Through consistent efforts of NTCBD and government bodies, coffee cultivation has gradually spread to about 40 districts in the hills of Nepal and resulted in increased coffee consumption in the local market as well as given a boost to coffee exports to South Korea, Japan, UK, US and other Asian and European countries and helped in improving employment opportunities in Nepal.

Though the growth looks promising, Nepalese coffee still has a long way to go before it can make it in the global coffee market.

In my last trip to Kathmandu, I not only enjoyed numerous cups of organic Himalayan coffee, but also carried gift packets which made for a great and thoughtful souvenir for family and friends. This was my small contribution towards spreading the awareness about Organic Himalayan Coffee!