Beanrove Coffee Roastery: India's One Stop Coffee Studio
Eclectic flavours and traditional brews curated by a 5th generation planter
Nestled between sprawling warehouses and industrial estates in India’s third-largest city of Bengaluru, Beanrove Coffee Roastery goes beyond the standard offerings to provide unique experiences in the studio. At the core of a variety of carefully curated products is Shravan D.S., a planter and specialty roaster with five generations of coffee knowledge and a drive to transform the industry while staying true to the simplicity of the drink.
The Journey of a Bean from Arabia to the Subcontinent
Beanrove, established in 2019, has already made a mark upon the coffee circles in India and across the world. But to understand the success of Beanrove today, one ought to learn the history of Indian coffee plantations and their influence on contemporary society.
As colonial scholarship was focused primarily on the tea estates of Eastern India in Assam, official chronicles on coffee were left to the records and narratives of local coffee planters. Although some aspects may never be confirmed, the history of coffee in India remains a fascinating lore akin to the legendary tales narrated by Scheherazade. Accounts estimate that in the late seventeenth century Baba Budan, a Sufi saint on pilgrimage, smuggled a few green mocha beans out of Yemen and planted them on the eponymous hill. The lush forests of Chikmagalur, with abundant rain and fertile red soil, provided the ideal environment for coffee to grow and thrive.
Over the centuries, coffee estates proliferated across the green hills and provided the ruling kingdom with an important economic resource and, indeed, a badge of honour. It is then unsurprising that coffee continues to be the mainstay of these hills even in the rapidly developing era of an independent India.
Nowhere is this history more palpable than on the Kalledevarapura estate. Situated on the Baba Budangiri hills in the Western Ghats of India, the estate has been witness to the age-old counsel on methods and processes of growing coffee; a tradition being pushed to the zenith of excellence by Beanrove. Arabica beans, in particular, feature prominently on Beanrove’s ro(a)ster. With a familial heritage in the estates of Chiklamagalur, Shravan’s pursuit to capture the journey of the coffee, from bean to cup, is characterised by the company name: Beanrove.
What makes Beanrove one of India's leading roasters?
The coffee culture prevalent in the intellectual revolutions of the Islamic Golden Age or in the Viennese and Parisian cafes witnessing the changing gears of war and literature is no less similar to Bengaluru, a metropolis fuelled by start-ups and tech innovations. The city is no stranger to a humble cup of Filter Kaapi/Coffee, best enjoyed in a steel cup while witnessing the greenery come to life under the mystical spell of the monsoon. While many South Indians swear by tradition, the growing youth populace has driven the demand for unique flavour palettes and unconventional preparation methods.
Beanrove maintains a rigorous and detailed strategy to produce a variety of blends and brews. Incoming green beans are first subject to the country’s only selection process using ultraviolet light to identify physical defects and the water distribution, both of which can affect the flavour. Roasted in strict conditions to maintain profiles otherwise disturbed by variations in humidity and temperature, end products are sent to customers for feedback.
The nano-lot and barrel-aged projects particularly catch the eye. Deep in the minds of many, there exists a hope to find the synthesis of two of humanity’s greatest elixirs: coffee and whiskey. By delivering on taste and eccentricity, without a dreaded hangover, Beanrove’s barrel-aged roasts have been the talk of coffee connoisseurs in the city. Similarly, the nano-lots have gained acclaim for delivering high-quality and distinct roast profiles.
For the unseasoned and novice coffee drinkers, Beanrove also offers immersive experiences into the process of roasting and preparation. The studio prides itself on ensuring the specialty process is maintained through every step, from green to brown to rich-black, a commendable process as there are many boxes to check. To understand the scale of perfection, one only needs to turn to the Specialty Coffee Association’s (SCA) rigorous standards: in a representative sample of 300grams of green coffee, it should be traceable to the source, reproducible on demand, sustainably produced, less than the prescribed defect counts (say from birds, physical damage or insects) and a cup score of 80+.
With an average of 250 metric tonnes, sourced from over 1000 acres of plantations, Shravan has undertaken a seemingly mammoth task with specialty coffee. Unnerved by the standards and equipped with a wealth of knowledge, Shravan reflects on the historical developments,
“Back when specialty coffee was picking up steam in the 80s and 90s, the idea was to identify and source coffee which is 80+. Today, the scoring has reached 90+. With alternative processing, the whole movement and concept have revolutionised.”
Return to Roots
If one were to presume that new concoctions, methods and individual experiences are the prized horses in this race, then the core of Beanrove’s ideals may be lost. Earlier, the industry faced a lacuna in feedback which restricted the path to perfection. Through Beanrove, Shravan aspires to bridge the gap by assisting in processing and roasting. Green coffee inputs are roasted and sent to consumers for feedback which not only establishes the desired roast profile but also a relationship that customers cannot replace.
Working on a commission percentage, planters, roasters and buyers are all made aware of the value generation and money received for each unit. Without Beanrove’s infrastructure and counsel, value generation took an astounding 5-6 years.
Beanrove’s clientele extends far beyond the southern metropolis with buyers across India; under Kalledevarapura LLP, small and large orders for green coffee are placed by customers from South Korea, the USA, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom amongst others. The roasted gems of Beanrove find themselves on the shelves of specialty brands and individuals predominantly in India. Exploring new avenues in the ever-changing demographic of Indian coffee devotees has given Beanrove the ideal springboard to propel into the international market where the value is in the final cup.
Described as a “one-stop coffee solution,” Beanrove is more than just a perfect cuppa. After all, Shravan says one “cannot just have a good bean without a story.”
Only the Start of a Thousand Journeys
As his venture grows, the studio not only pays homage to the coffee tradition but to a historic tale of the saints, travels and landscapes which brought this industry to life. The growth of this coffee studio is not only a victory for Shravan but also for the coffee industry in India. With more partnerships on the books, Beanrove is on an upward trajectory and it's bringing others on the coffee supply chain with them. The next time you sip on an espresso or cappuccino brewed with Indian single-estate beans or blends, don’t forget the history and passion that went into bringing those flavours to life.
For those lucky enough to live in Bengaluru, do set an appointment to visit the studio inside Narayanaswamy Compound on the FCI Godown Road in Dooravaninagar. And for those across the world yearning for a rich cuppa, fret not because Beanrove is just one DM away on Instagram