Vishnubhotla, who is Indian-American, says his mom would use rich, chocolatey Monsoon Malabar Arabica beans that she bought online or would make traditional Indian filter coffee with chicory and coffee. "Coffee has been a way for our family to catch up after a long day, and it’s a big part of South Indian culture, where my family hails from," he says.
When he got older and started buying coffee on his own, Vishnubhotla couldn't find any Indian coffee like what he grew up having. His friend Ajay Mehta, who is also Indian-American, had the same experience. "India is the fifth-largest coffee exporter in the world, and yet only two percent of those exports come to the U.S. It’s nearly impossible to buy or brew a cup of specialty Indian coffee here," Vishnubhotla says. "Americans have trended towards coffee beans with fruitier, brighter notes that come from places like Ethiopia, but Ajay and I think they’ve been missing out on the lovely, chocolatey taste of Monsoon Malabar coffee beans from India." So, the two decided to change that and created their own Indian coffee line, Hill Station Coffee.
"India is the fifth-largest coffee exporter in the world, and yet only two percent of those exports come to the U.S. It’s nearly impossible to buy or brew a cup of specialty Indian coffee here."
The coffee line has two blends to choose from, one where the Monsoon Malabar coffee beans are blended with rose and cardamom and one where it's blended with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. The inclusion of these herbs not only gives the coffee a richer taste, but also ups the nutritional benefits. Turmeric, ginger, and cardamom are all linked to helping prevent chronic inflammation. And cinnamon keeps blood sugar levels steady and is good for the heart.
"I was raised in an Ayurvedic household, so we wanted to put together invigorating spice blends that reflected regional tastes and traditional wellness principles," Vishnubhotla says of how the blends were formulated. "The Shimla blend, named after a hill station in the Himalayas, has rose petals, cardamom and coffee in it. The rose petals provide a soothing, cooling taste and aroma that balances perfectly with the energizing flavor of the cardamom and coffee. The Ooty blend, named after a hill station in the rolling hills of Tamil Nadu, features three antioxidants with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. It’s a lively blend that wakes up the system in the morning in tandem with the coffee beans."
The integration of warming, anti-inflammatory herbs isn't all that sets Hill Station Coffee apart. The blends come in single-serve pour-over sachets instead of just a loose grind. "We wanted to grind and infuse our spices along with the roasted coffee. The pour-over sachet was a perfect solution to make our product accessible without sacrificing any of the taste," Vishnubhotla says. "Plus it ties back to the experience of Indian filter coffee, which is made every day by millions of people in India."
The end result is a high-end coffee that doesn't require any fancy equipment that you can make at home. And it packs even more health benefits than the average cup of coffee. Just when you thought you couldn't look forward to your morning coffee even more, right?
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