Panduranga Coffee - The Creator of a Captivating Coffee Culture
--Special Story by BK Jha--
Known for redefining the Taste, and Texture of Indian Coffee, Karnataka’s Chikmagalur-based
Panduranga Coffee is the cumulative achievement of five generations of coffee lovers and the
product of a land so rich and lush that it is unmatched by any other place on Earth. With a
tagline- ‘Rich in History, Rich in Flavour’ Pandurang Coffee has become a market leader. In an
exclusive interview with Tea and Coffee Media, Deepak Panduranga takes us on the Journey so
far and explains every dimension of the Indian Coffee Industry with reference to his
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : How do you see 84 years of the Journey of Panduranga Coffee? What are the main specialities?
Deepak Panduranga : We are in the industry since 1938. My grandfather named it -Panduranga coffee when my dad's
brother was born. During those days, they were selling Coffee in pounds and also in Rupee and
Aana. Established in 1938, we are now almost 84 years old. In India, we are the only people
manufacturing both Coffee and also Chicory with German machines. We own the oldest roaster
in India. We imported it in 1918. There is no one in India manufacturing chicory with German
machines and we are the only manufacturer of Chicory with German machines. With a rich
history, I along with my two brothers as Partners are making all efforts with robust R&D and
innovations to take the company to the next level.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : Has the habit of drinking Coffee changed in India over the years?
Deepak Panduranga : In India, people have a habit of drinking Coffee blended with Chicory. It is interesting to note that
for Chicory, seeds come from France, it is grown in Gujarat and is mainly consumed in South
India. When you add Chicory to Coffee, it becomes Filter Coffee. Moreover, in India, people
drink it with milk. As we need more viscosity in the cup and we need more flavours. In the olden
days, we were sourcing chicory from others. Unfortunately, there was inconsistency in the
supply and the quality was also not the same as what we wanted. Indian machines would not
give a high-quality product because when you roast chicory its thinner parts will become like
charcoal as the root will be in different shapes and sizes. But German machines overcome this
limitation and give the finished chicory’s inner and outer core will be in the same colour and
texture when roasted.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : So, what is Paduranga Coffee’s production capacity?
Deepak Panduranga : For chicory roasting, we have the capacity to roast 700 kg per hour and in India, we have the
largest roasters. That is one of the special things for us and every day we have the capacity of
roasting 50,000 kg of coffee. With these high-capacity roasters, we produce a very high quantity
of Coffee as per demand. Moreover, we own the largest granulator in India. It literally cuts the
beans and does not crush them. So, all the flavours that are present in the coffee beans will be
retained. In the normal conventional grinders, due to heat and friction, all the flavours get
evaporated in the grinder itself. Hence, our high-tech German-imported granulators cut the
beans in such a manner that flavours are retained. It happens because the temperature won't
go beyond room temperature. Interestingly, the machine we imported in 1938 is still working and
giving the best results. We have modern machines-roasters and granulators of different
capacities as well, ranging from 100 grams to 2000 kg per batch.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : How do you market your distinct high-quality coffee? What is your marketing strategy?
Deepak Panduranga : We have dealers all over India and we send products to the dealers. They supply it to retailers.
But, our main forte is B2B and it is essentially our dealers who are into B2C. Now, we have an
online store also, so anyone can buy from there. For robust sales of the wide range of our
products, we are focusing on emerging trends. E-Commerce offers a very strong platform for
Venkatesh P S of Panduranga Coffee, Chikmagalur
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : You talked about a wide range of products. What are key offerings?
Deepak Panduranga : We have different varieties of Coffee for both domestic and international markets. We have a
brand ‘1938’ and it is our signature brand. Another attractive blend is ‘Made in Chikmagalur’ and
the third exotic blend is known as ‘Panduranga Peaberry.’ Here, in one fruit there will be only
one seed which gives a different flavour. Peaberry is sour in flavour and it is mainly liked by
people of Tamil Nadu. We have one more blend called ‘Grand Aroma’ which is actually
balanced coffee. Normally, five flavours- Caramel, Chocolate, Vanilla, Nuts, and Butter- will
inherently be present in coffee beans. In ‘Grand Aroma’ everything is balanced. It is the
favourite Coffee of Karnataka people. ‘Aroma Gold’ is yet another popular blend and it has 30%
Chicory and is mainly consumed by people in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. People
from these states want stronger, viscous, and slightly bitter coffee. ‘Aroma Gold’ has more
caramel notes in the cup and it is stronger, viscous and bitter as well.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : There is a buzz around ‘Wild Coffee,’ a unique offering from Panduranga’s Coffee? What is so unique and exotic about it?
Deepak Panduranga : We have recently launched a few more blends. One of them is known as ‘Wild Coffee.’ It
comes from the periphery estates of the forests of Chikmagalur. In these estates, tigers and all
other wild animals roam around. Because they will not be knowing the boundaries so they enter
into all these estates also. These wild animals indicate that we have ecologically balanced
Coffee estates. Therefore, the nutritional value of coffee procured from these estates is very
high and that makes “Wild Coffee’ unique and exotic.
Another interesting and exotic blend of ours is ‘Monkey Coffee.’ There are hundreds of monkeys
in these estates. Interestingly, a monkey chooses the right coffee fruits. Beans coming with a
monkey’s touch make them exotic in taste. We wash these beans, which are picked up from the
floors, are roasted to make this coffee. ‘Agaraharam Coffee’ is yet another unique offering from
us, especially for the priests’ fraternity and families of Tamil Nadu. These people are very
specific about their coffee. ‘Agaraharam’ is blended with cells of different deposits of chicory.
The roaster is different. So, this filter coffee is among our premium blends.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : Does the ongoing geopolitical situation affect your export? How do you rate your overall growth rate?
Deepak Panduranga : Not much. For example, we were exporting our coffee to Ukraine but to the Russia-Ukraine
conflict, we stopped exporting there because we cannot take the risk. However, we are
exporting our products to the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. We are sending it there
even now. We are exporting coffee to many countries in the Middle East and the Americas. We
have branches there and we are also associated with Amazon in the US and the UK and
anyone can buy from Amazon there. We export both normal and premium blends. Not only
export but also import some Coffee from Colombia and Brazil.
Regarding growth, I would say if your coffee is good, it always goes up. When there is no
money, people’s monthly consumption will be high because they would really be having lots of
worries. We witnessed that during the COVID-19 lockdown coffee consumption went up
tremendously as people were confined in their homes and had more and more cups of coffee.
Overall, we are witnessing robust growth.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : Does coffee come with some health benefits?
Deepak Panduranga : First of all, coffee may help in weight loss. We have one blend known as ‘Weight Loss Coffee’-
the green bean powder. That green bean contains a chemical called chromogenic acid which is
the main reason for weight loss. Consumer needs to boil this coffee for 15 minutes and drink it
empty stomach. This helps in losing weight.
Along with coffee, we are offering some tea brands also and these include Punjabi Masala Chai
(Tea), Kerala Cotton Chai, Jasmine Chai, Bombay Cutting Chai and Kashmiri Kawaha.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : What would be the Indian Coffee Industry’s size?
Deepak Panduranga : It is tough to comment on that, but the coffee production is almost four and a half lakh
tons for sure. Tons of coffee is produced in India. One and a half lakh Indian production is
meant for domestic consumption and the remaining three lakh tons are exported. This figure
sounds very authentic as the prices have gone very high recently. It's almost doubled from last
August. Last year in August it was Rs 9000 per 32 kg bundle and now it is Rs 17,000. Mind you,
coffee prices are always determined internationally with the US and UK Commodities markets.
Tea & Coffee Trade Media : What is the reason for such a price hike?
Deepak Panduranga : There was a frost in Brazil. So, Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. Due to frost
there, major estates were burnt. And it takes almost five to six years to regain production
capabilities. When this happened, there was a huge demand-supply gap worldwide. Beans and
coffee-producing countries started supplying their products at a higher rate.