Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

India -Karnataka Region 2008

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In early 2008 I visited India for the first time to get some first hand experience with coffee production here, and to get a sense of what level of quality is possible. We've already been carrying some very intriguing India coffees, delicate arabica coffees grown at respectable altitudes, robusta coffees that will change how people view the species (you can make a potent French Press brew of them and get none of the anticipated "robusta taints,") and the very odd Liberica coffee that grows on a stout, towering tree like no other coffee species. Please read my comments as a highly subjective view of someone who is viewing a small sliver of a vast and complex country for the first time, intrigued and provoked to thought, but not necessarily objective or even well informed! I was told by our contact, Ujwala of Karnataka Plantation Coffee that India would "delight and appall." This could not be more true... and at the end of this extensive collection of photos, I will give my interpretation of both "delight" and "appall".
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holding pattern
holding pattern
the advatage of these new on demand video systems, you can track that extra half hour of senseless zig-zagging you do while waiting for the ok to land.
a tag, or and ad
a tag, or and ad
bean bags was writ all over this neighborhood. i really don't get it, but it would make a great tag.
SPEED, the "ambassador"
SPEED, the "ambassador"
the ubiquitous ambassador taxi cab, a fiat copy it seems, this one ironically called "speed"
live the dream
live the dream
not just special but really special. do you want your life to be special, really special? do you now?
get fit fatty
get fit fatty
apparently, you do whatever the heck it says here and not only are you a super stud, and no longer a cripple, but you can wear tighter briefs too.
child accessible power lines
child accessible power lines
DIY is redefined here in Mumbai ... maybe not such a good thing. If there is an Indian OSHA, or buliding codes, I doubt they share much in common with US code, nor does the enforcement.
the atlas bike
the atlas bike
ubiquitous, the atlas bike. are those "leading link shocks"? bolt on an engine and you have the motorcycle circa 1910.
sidecar rig, older bikes
sidecar rig, older bikes
Bajaj and such. Very few seen a true piaggio-vespa (they have probably all been exported back to Europe or the West, just as the Vietnamese treasure trove of old Lambrettas and Vespas was. Many bike pictures to come.
hindu temple
hindu temple
they pop up here and there, under an old ficus tree, sacred ground, packed in on all sides by ___
hotel mumbai
hotel mumbai
i went back to my modest hotel room after the walk and realized I was a millionaire in a golden tower. there's a very different scale to things here.
mumbai wildlife
mumbai wildlife
The early morning walk in Mumbai (Bombay) yields a few rat sightings. Big suckers ... not quite possum size but getting there.
super pimped truck
super pimped truck
now what if someone in the US did this to a Hummer? these are water delivery trucks. i guess water is not free. The "lorries" here are beautiful. I could have taken hundreds of images of just them.
Don't Touch Me!
Don't Touch Me!
I won't... this is an "auto rickshaw", made either by the Italian company Piaggio (Vespa) or the Indian company Bajaj.
little tree, little temple
little tree, little temple
sacredness everywhere
international mutt
international mutt
the one-dog, bred for survival. oddly, I think our dog francy would fit in perfectly here. Many illustrations of the Indian street mutt will follow in my pictures since I am such a sucker for dogs.
scarey eye
scarey eye
somehow, it reminds me of duran duran (no not from barbarella)
beggars best friend
beggars best friend
curled up faithfully at owner's feet at the mumbai sidewalk hotel
women empowerment
women empowerment
on a 3 wheel taxi.
Cafe Coffee Day.
Cafe Coffee Day.
their motto is "a lot can happen over coffee..." I guess they mean good things, because it could also be that your boss finds out you are at Cafe Coffee Day, and not at your desk, and could fire you.
I could use this ...
I could use this ...
personality development that is. I guess this is where you get your fake name for use in your job providing tech support to grumpy americans.
wrestling school
wrestling school
... and a good place to crash for the night.
mmm n' mmm
mmm n' mmm
i am not too proud to drink powdered coffee in the morning. the problem is that another person poured the water in and a roach floated to the top. mmm...
so french ... so sexy
so french ... so sexy
it's the India way, strangely excessive.
outside the Bawa Hotel window
outside the Bawa Hotel window
... a new highrise project, with a noticable absence of any sort of equipment at all - no crane, no winch, just lots and lots of employed people.
On the Road
On the Road
At first the signs painted on the backs of all the vehicles ("Horn OK Please" and "Stop Light") seemed like oddly popular adornment, but I guess it's the law. They sure make the danger skulls look cute with that smile.
Rest stop waste bin 1
Rest stop waste bin 1
This area featured fun (?) themed trash cans that not everyone chose you use.
Rest stop waste bin 2
Rest stop waste bin 2
This was the most popular design, still a bit odd, especially given the trash all around.
For cowboys only?
For cowboys only?
It's a toilet as we know it, rather than the typical configuration for india - which amounts to a hole in the ground and a hose (or bucket) nearby.
Hey Shorty...
Hey Shorty...
I wasn't the most popular person at the rest stop, taking pictures in the men's room and all, but the signs were too amusing.
American Dream found in India
American Dream found in India
I bought the "American Dream" at a rest stop on the road to Pune. It cost about $1.50, and let me tell you, it was a real pick me up. I was really uplifted by the "american dream." i rattled my mouth off in the car for a while, but then it all fell apart and now i am just tired and have a headache. I'm not sayin' nothing, just stating the facts.
Motorcycle Mania.
Motorcycle Mania.
Thatsa lotta bikes....
Pune Sunday Street Fair
Pune Sunday Street Fair
Next day we hit the road for a 1.5 hour drive to Pune, where the technical arm of the growers group is headquartered. It was festival Sunday there.
Retro fun ...
Retro fun ...
As with many things (good, bad or neither) I could see shades of earlier times in the US. I remember throwing nice sharp darts at balloons and I imagine some readers remember shooting some BBs at them like this. Nowadays I doubt you would see either at a street fair.
Kinda Creepy Waste Baskets
Kinda Creepy Waste Baskets
The Pune street fair had the same goofy trash cans. This was definitely the dirtiest one.
Kinda Creepy Waste Baskets No. 2
Kinda Creepy Waste Baskets No. 2
Ouch, I lost my mind.
More old style fun
More old style fun
A mini ferris wheel, hand powered.
More old style fun
More old style fun
A more "indian" style ride, also turned by the operator. Whee!
Typical facades
Typical facades
New storefronts below with aging, tilty, wooden houses above.
More facades in Pune
More facades in Pune
With the balconies, it reminded me just a bit of New Orleans.
Making Pune Friends.
Making Pune Friends.
This little guy wanted his picture taken. At first he was too shy to even look at the resulting image. Later he wouldn't leave me alone.
Even more new friends in India
Even more new friends in India
This led to the nearby teens wanting to see their pictures on my camera...
More ...
More ...
Which led to more street portraits, more posed, more super-modelish...
The men join in...
The men join in...
Then the big fellas wanted a picture. I noticed they were all a bit crimson in the eye ...
And even more....
And even more....
Which led to demands for more ... which led me to wave, turn, and walk away quickly before I got permanantly assigned the role of Pune Street Fair Free Photographer.

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