The Hindu: In love with coffee


 

Marc Tormo Altimira wants to make Indian coffee famous around the world and create excellent cups of coffee for India

It all started when he visited India at age 19 and fell in love with it, says Auroville-based coffee entrepreneur and consultant from Spain, Marc Tormo Altimira.

“When I went back to Barcelona, I decided to learn more skills that I could bring back to India. That is when I met some Italians who were distributing espresso equipment and they exposed me to the art and science of brewing coffees.”

He then opened a cafe boutique with his sister. “It was a speciality coffee shop that introduced different types of coffee to the city. People started to understand that there could be more than one type of coffee. We exposed them to different coffees from around the world, different roasts and brews.”

Running that café, he says, was a university in itself. And so, as he had promised himself, by the time he returned to India, he knew how to brew coffee but he wanted to learn how it grew.

“I visited plantations in the South and through my visits, learnt a lot about the cultivation of coffee, post-harvesting techniques and what makes for good coffee.”

Soon he started making organically (and sustainably) grown speciality coffees, after having helped other brands, in 2008. His research in coffee is therefore based on the concept of ‘From seed to cup’.

He is now among the first coffee entreprenurs in India to produce bio-dynamic, organic, fair trade and UTZ certified high-quality coffees under the name ‘Marc’s coffee’. He has consulted with several cafes, including The Brew Room in Chennai. He is also the co-founder of Marc’s Cafe, Roast & Taste, (2011) a boutique cafe and Catami, Dreamer’s cafe, (2013) at Auroville Visitor’s center.

“The journey has been slow but exciting because the Indian market is still virgin, when it comes to speciality coffee. We needed to invest a lot in education and in helping our clients acquire the taste to enjoy our coffees. But after 10 years, we can see a significant change. People are now more curious about speciality coffee, they have a lot of questions,” says March, who was in Bengaluru to curate a menu of organic, gourmet coffees at the 1Q1 Kitchen and Bar.

And that’s why Marc also conducts workshops explaining the brewing process, and brewing methods featuring a menu that explains the differences between them.

“There has been a good evolution since we started. We get more clients every year and we have so much more than just Nescafe now.”

He predicts that coffee is now going to be understood in different light. His speciality blends include Kaveri Espresso Blend, Buma Devi and Balmaadi. He shares his creative process: “It begins when you need to know what you want to create. For instance, when we wanted to create a breakfast South Indian filter coffee blend, we realised that we would need a strong, round, body with a strong aroma and dark colour. It needed to be something that could wake people up. That is how we came up with Buma Devi.”

Through his work, Marc seeks to make Indian coffee well-known around the world. “I want the world to recognize Indian coffee as among the best. I also want to ensure the best coffees are enjoyed here in India, not just abroad. I want to create a sustainable coffee movement in India, where we take into account the impact that plantations have on the ecology and ensure we protect the environment.”

He also wants to create a ‘coffee culture’ in India that is not ‘just about coffee but about crafting food from the scratch without chemicals, essences and flavours. “I want to bring more authentic food around the coffee cup.”

Harshini Vakkalanka

(originally published in The Hindu – DECEMBER 20, 2017)