Coffee was introduced to Araku in the early 1900’s from neighbouring Pamuleru Valley, and in 2007, Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers Mutually Aided Cooperative Society (SAMTFMACS), a coffee farmer cooperative formed with assistance from The Naandi Foundation, was formed to push the coffee production there even further. It operates across seven mandals in the area – Araku, Hukumpeta, Dumbriguda, Anathagiri, Paderu, Pedhabaylu and Munchinpet – where the farmers have decentralised small and scattered plots. They are subsistence farmers, balancing cash crops such as pepper, turmeric, and ginger with coffee production.
A state-of-the-art Coffee Processing Unit was set up in Araku, fully equipped with latest machinery such as coffee pulpers. Naandi, in association with Araku Originals Private Limited (AOPL), a connected for-profit social enterprise, is also the first in the country to receive global accreditation as a Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) Premier Training Campus offering courses on green coffee, barista skills, brewing, and roasting, along with authorized SCA trainers.
Cherries are picked red and brought to be pulped within six hours of harvesting. Coffee skips the formal fermentation stage and goes to the drying beds – both raised and patio -where it is slowly dried under shade protection. This means extra care and attention is required when raking and turning to ensure even drying with no spoilage.