The Araku coffee venture promoted by top corporate honchos – Araku Global Holdings – has finally expanded its operations overseas. Formed by Anand Mahindra, Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Dr Reddy’s Chairman Satish Reddy and Rajendra Prasad Maganti, Chairman, Soma Enterprise the venture has opened its first retail store in Paris. The venture is managed by Naandi Foundation’s CEO Manoj Kumar and other trustees.
Here are some of the clicks of Araku Coffee Store in Rue de Bretagne, Paris, France. Inspired by the cooperative farming idea, tribals from the Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh are growing top-notch quality coffee. More than 150 tribal communities including the Bagathas, Valmikis, Kondus and Poorjas will benefit from this enterprise. Profits made from the venture will be used to improve the quality of the farmers’ lives.
Marking the global debut on the Indian coffee brand ‘Araku’ in Paris and Switzerland, next on plans is to make its presence known in Europe too. In addition to the flagship store, the coffee will also be sold at the LVMH Group-owned La Grande Epicerie de Paris and other high-end Parisian concept stores.
In Araku Valley, a unique agri enterprise has taken root. The tribals from this region are growing quality Araku coffee that will make its debut overseas. They are doing it with the support of four business leaders.
Four business leaders – Anand Mahindra (Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra), Kris Gopalakrishnan (Co-founder, Infosys), Satish Reddy (Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories) and Rajendra Prasad Maganti (Chairman, Soma Enterprise) – have come together and formed an enterprise that will launch Araku Coffee soon in Paris. The global debut will be a big step forward for coffee trade in Araku.
15 years ago, the tribals would depend their livelihood on collecting forest produce. The state government created a special development and funding plan for the tribes. All the land in this area comes under the government, while any tribal here can get as much land as he/she wants for free, to eke out a living.
Coffee cultivation is not a novel idea to the area. The British did it while they were here and now the government continues to grow beans under their own banner. But it is only in the recent past that the tribals have truly tried their hand at it on a larger scale. Few years ago, coffee was cultivated only on 1000 acres of land. Now with the production gone up, it is cultivated on 20,000 acres of land.
Now the four investors have stepped in to assist these tribals in increasing bean production by bringing in global experts. They want to make Araku a gourmet coffee brand and hence they chose Paris for the debut. The profits made from the venture will reportedly be used to improve the quality of life of these farmers. With the coffee being sold in five variants, the most expensive of them priced at Rs 7000 per KG.
The steepness of the price can be attributed to the fact that a new technique is being used to produce this coffee, similar to those of making wine. Wines taste different, depending on the quality and type of soil they’re grown in. The variants in Araku coffee will also draw their flavours from their environment. Araku coffee is unique and premium because of its ‘terrior’ or unique environment.
What started as a non-profit supported by Naandi Foundation and the brainchild of CM Chandrababu Naidu has now transformed into a social enterprise for-profit. The coffee already has an identification tag that will authenticate the unique properties of the region. Till now, the Arabica coffee being produced by the locals was being sold in bulk to roasters ready to pay premium.
There are plans to launch the coffee next in New York and Tokyo.