Fun things brewing at Bengaluru’s Coffee Santhe
The fourth edition of Coffee Santhe (market in Kannada) begins Friday in the city. The three-day event, organized by the Women’s Coffee Alliance, India chapter (WCA-I), will showcase coffee in all its formats, as Sunalini Menon, its founder-member, likes to put it.
“Most people think of coffee as a filter drink with milk and sugar; they don’t understand that you can paint or cook with coffee or use different brewing equipment to get variations of coffee,” Menon says. The WCA-I is affiliated to the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), an organization with 22 global chapters aimed at empowering and connecting women across the coffee value chain.
Coffee Santhe will have 60 stalls showcasing blends and beans produced by small coffee growers, coffee brewing and roasting equipment, a food and coffee pairing workshop, artworks made with coffee paint, and a yoga workshop. “We started out with 25 stalls in 2014. Last year, we got over 3,000 visitors. There are several second- or third-generation coffee planters who participate in the Santhe to reach out to a new audience,” says D.M. Purnesh, a member of WCA-I and managing director of the artisan coffee brand Classic Group.
The highlight of the festival, however, is a brewing contest with 19 women baristas from across India. Over two days, they will be required to make a cappuccino, an espresso and a third drink using a specified brewing device with innovative flavour pairing. “Last year’s winner, Poonam Kumari, who works for Cafe Coffee Day in Mumbai, was sent to the IWCA summit in Mexico where she was educated on developments in the world of coffee and trained by champions from the World Barista Championship for team competitions held at the summit. She came back so confident,” Menon says.
In Bengaluru, a coffee-brewing demonstration on Day 1 is a must for habitual coffee drinkers. “Merlin Raj, the National Barista Champion of 2012 who works as a trainer for the Lavazza coffee company in Dubai, will demonstrate how to use coffee-brewing devices to get different taste profiles,” says Radhika Uthappa, president of WCA-I.
Day 3 will also feature a panel of international experts—Mary Allen Lindemann (co-owner of Coffee By Design, a speciality coffee roastery in Maine, US), Spanish coffee consultant Josiana Bernardes Paes and Guatemala coffee grower Dulce Maria Ralda V.—who will talk about some of the latest trends in coffee. Performances by Chikmagalur-based rock fusion band Brahmara and Bharatanatyam artist Padmini Ravi will mark the conclusion of the Santhe.
The proceeds from the Santhe, other than the operating expenses, will be used for the WCA-I’s charity initiatives—the education of the daughters of coffee plantation workers in Bababudan, Chikmagalur, Coorg, Biligiris and Sakleshpur, health camps, and a medical health insurance scheme for families.
The Coffee Santhe is being held from 1-3 December, 10am-7.30pm, at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Kumara Krupa Road. Entry is free.