Situated at an altitude of 1100 meters, the estate was first developed by JJ Murphy, often referred to as the pioneer of planters in India. The Pambadampara Estate has the reputation of being the first organized cardamom plantation in India. Changing hands in 1946, it has since rested with the MSP family. Coffee was introduced to the estate as early as 1965. It has now spread to almost 1,000 acres of prolific coffee plantation interspersed with forest trees. It lies adjacent to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the richest biodiversity spot of the Western Ghats.

For the past eight years, the estate’s washed Arabicas have won the Regional Fine Cup Award, instituted by the Indian Coffee Board. It is also the proud recipient of premium certifications issued by UTZ and Rainforest Alliance. The estate is now run by S.B. Prabhakar, a 4th generation planter, who is steadily making valuable additions to enrich the estate.

SLN.9, a highly acclaimed Arabica strain, is predominantly planted on this estate. High quality washed Arabica produced by this estate is well-accepted by the world’s leading roasters.

THE PROCESS: Day 1: Ripe fruits are carefully handpicked, sorted, pulped and fermented. (There will be 5 rounds of handpicking.) Day 2: Coffee washed mechanically and manually in a tank of clean stream water. The Next 15 Days: Sun-dried to enhance the taste and fragrance. Later: Coffee is packaged and dispatched to processing mills. And a well-articulated estate-process goes on to define the finer attributes of the perfect cup craved worldwide.

Pambadampara Estate has been a regular recipient of Regional Fine Cup Awards for these notable cup flavor characteristics: sweet pepper, coconut, bright citrus, earthy, winey, cedar, balanced, very clean, consistent.


The story of Colombian coffee begins in the nursery where thousands of carefully selected beans are planted, close together and covered with fertile soil. They germinate and the roots develop after eight weeks. Only the healthiest of plants are then transplanted and nurtured for six months. When they reach two feet in height, they are transplanted to the plantation where careful cultivation continues.

Unique in that they bear ripened fruit and flowers simultaneously, each coffee tree produces one pound of coffee annually. It takes three to four years to grow to maturity and begin to blossom. The first fruit appears about six months after that. The rich red cherries are picked by hand, bagged and taken by mule or donkey to be de-pulped. De-pulping (removing the red covering) is the only mechanized operation available to Colombian coffee growers. The pulp is used as fertilizer for new plants. The beans, still encased in a tough parchment husk, go to large concrete tanks where they soak in cold water for 24 hours. This begins a slight fermentation, necessary to develop the coffee aroma.

Next all defects are discarded, the beans are carefully washed,  then dried in great open-air terraces where they are turned repeatedly, until the wind and sun have dried them completely.

Colombian coffee is unique in part to the high quality control standards of all who come in contact with the coffee — growers, operators, sellers, governmental agencies, etc. Only the best crops are sold for export. This nation has approximately 300,000 coffee farms. Colombia exports 10 million bags annually, grown on the 2.5 million acres devoted to coffee growing.


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Tracie Burket
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