April 2, 2009

Yet another short trip to Coorg

When we went to Coorg two weeks ago, we already knew that it was not going to be siginficantally cooler than Bangalore. And indeed, save for an occasionally misty early morning, it was every bit as warm and sunny as Bangalore gets in March. A few distant clouds were seen rolling over the hills, but they were unorganized mutinous soldiers and not the disciplined brigade it takes to start a downpour. Yet, they did manage to tinge the sunset with a bit of color and drama that the clear blue sky of all day long could hardly have managed alone.

A beautiful sunset at Coorg

A beautiful sunset that could be anywhere (but was at Coorg)

But what this visit stands out in our minds for is coffee blossoms. Given how unpredictable the rains have been in Coorg, a lot of coffee estate owners have taken to irrigating their plantations themselves. Since everyone follows their own schedule, there is no one day you on which you’ll see all the estates blossom. Apparently this year, it had rained just a week before our arrival and practically every single coffee plant was bedecked with beautiful white blossoms. It was our noses that pointed this out first to us - the breeze in Coorg was fragrant with the scent of coffee flowers. Our eyes took notice of the unending sea of white much later.

Coffee Blossoms

Now if you are thinking coffee smell’ here (you know the sort you get when you brew filter coffee, or step into a Café Coffee Day/Barista/Starbucks outlet), you are mistaken! Coffee flowers don’t smell even remotely like coffee. In fact, if you were classifying the coffee plant based on the smell of its flowers alone, you’ll place it somewhere next to Jasmine. This I think makes discovery of coffee an even more remarkable feat!

Coffee Blossoms

Unfortunately, the blossom is short-lived. Within a day, the flowers begin to wilt and turn brown. As we drove back to Bangalore, it was hard not to feel sad at their decay. But we had the smug satisfaction of knowing that hundreds of tourists who’d throng Coorg a week later (a long weekend) would have no idea what they had missed.


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Notes from a Coorg visit in June The monsoon is supposed to be at its peak in June/July in Coorg. No such thing this year. An occasional drizzle which would threaten to grow into