Black Baza Coffee is a Bengaluru-based coffee company that goes beyond the coffee bean, with an aim to conserve biodiversity and secure the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The company’s founder, Arshiya Bose, completed her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge on the impact of certifications for sustainable coffee production, and joined the coffee industry out of a sense of responsibility towards the farmers she had studied.
Black Baza Coffee sources beans from 650 smallholder farmers across different locations, varying from BR Hills in Karnataka, to Wayanad in Kerala, and The Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. Apart from championing the local community’s indigenous practices which result in growing coffee with minimal impact on surrounding forests and biodiversity, they also provide support with research, outreach, and capacity-building to help them strengthen resilience towards factors such as climate change and peoples’ access to fair and transparent market practices.
Why We Love Black Baza Coffee
- Biodiversity conservation – The farming practices focus on growing shade-grown coffee under native trees, and move away from commonplace non-native species such as Silver Oak.
- Indigenous knowledge – Their approach to sustainability begins with coffee growers themselves designing collective farming practices that conserve biodiversity, and are based on traditional ecological knowledge about soil and ecosystem health as well as coexisting with wildlife.
- Support to smallholder farmers – The knowledge of the farmers is further supplemented with information from newer practices, and research undertaken by Black Baza Coffee. For instance, when coffee farmers in BR Hills were facing leaf rust outbreaks exacerbated by climate change, an anomaly that is unfamiliar to them, they intervened to provide support on how this fungal outbreak could be managed through organic and regenerative practices.
- An immersive coffee experience – For a coffee novice or expert, Black Baza Coffee’s website is an educational experience. They offer details on the flavour profile, the growers, the coffee varietal, its origin, and a lot more in an accessible way.
- Kaadina Makkalu – Beyond the work with coffee, they are also involved with the community in other ways. They have facilitated the launch of a YouTube Channel, Kaadina Makkalu, that shares indigenous stories about the forest, wild animals, and birds. These stories have been created by the local community for their youth and others who are passionate to learn more.
Note from the Producer
We know that Black Baza is an ambitious idea! Coffee is one of the most commodified crops in the world. Even in the specialty coffee space where producers can enjoy some visibility, smallholder producers have no voice at the table. When we started Black Baza, our research showed that smallholder producers in India are not only vulnerable to exploitative markets, but they are also amongst the oldest and most resilient regenerative farmers in the world.
Farms are nurtured as shared spaces, where coffee is grown considering all forms of life, from earthworms to elephants. Our role in Black Baza is to champion smallholder producers such that they may continue to grow coffee via biodiversity-friendly practices. We now work with over 650 growers across Southern India, and hope to continue to shape the coffee industry such that there is value of people, places, and ecologies.
— Arshiya Bose (Founder), M. Sannarangegowda & M. Kethegowda (Grower First Programme)
The Locavore Bite
TL Bite offers a glimpse into how a partner producer runs their operations, and reflects their core principles and values. The idea is to provide insights into their practices and highlight their positive efforts descriptively. We have identified seven key areas of assessment – origin and source of ingredients, composition and integrity of the products, workforce policies, production practices, community-related initiatives, approach towards preserving or celebrating traditional knowledge and the materials used in packaging. While this assessment may not be entirely comprehensive, we hope it helps you make an informed decision about why you might want to support them, and the ways in which to.
The information below offers you a snapshot of where Black Baza Coffee stands on these parameters. We have put this together based on several rounds of conversation with Arshiya Bose, the founder of Black Baza Coffee. Click on a piece of the pie below to find out more.
No Data Found
Between Bean-to-Cup Combo Pack
Black Baza Coffee’s Cascara and Coffee Flour are a step towards a model of production in which resources are used to their maximum potential.
Cascara is a sun-dried, by-product of the coffee making process made from the outer layer of the cherry that surrounds the bean. Brew it with hot water to make a delicious, low-caffeine cascara tea which has distinct flavour notes of dried raisins, dates and prunes. If a cold beverage is what you prefer, cook it with water and jaggery, and strain it into a liquid which can then be used for making refreshing drinks like Cascara tonics and highballs.
Coffee Flour isn’t technically a flour. Made from sun-dried coffee pulp that is further ground, this flour has versatile applications in cooking and baking. Although it doesn’t add any specific flavours to the end product, you can substitute it in place of other flours in low proportions without significant impact, especially in recipes for breads, cakes, etc. Coffee Flour is also gluten-free and high in antioxidants.
This is a paid partnership with Black Baza Coffee. We strive to keep the practices of a producer transparent and honest across all forms of partnerships.