We at 7000 Steps are passionate about coffee and its origin. We believe that every cup of coffee has a story to tell, and we want to share that story with our customers. That’s why we invited our most loyal customer, Nerlu Café, to join us on a trip to a coffee farm in Nongshken, Meghalaya. Shibani and Groot, the owners and Barista of Nerlu Café, were kind enough to accept our invitation and embark on this adventure with us.
We left Shillong early in the morning and drove for about four hours to reach Nongshken, a remote village in the hills of Meghalaya. The road was muddy and slippery due to the heavy rain, but we enjoyed the scenic views along the way. When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by Kong Bina, our coffee farmer, who invited us to her shop for some tea and breakfast. She had prepared a delicious meal for us, which we gratefully devoured.
After our breakfast, we were ready to trek down the forest to see her coffee farm. The coffee here is grown differently from the conventional farms. It is wild and organic, thriving in the dense forest among other plants. This is what makes it unique and flavorful.
As we entered the forest, we were greeted by a beautiful waterfall, where we stopped to take some pictures. We then continued our trek deeper into the forest, following Kong Bina and her family members who work as her helpers. Along the way, we encountered some challenges, such as leeches, spiders, slippery rocks, and narrow streams. I even got lost at one point and fell down a rock, but luckily I was not hurt and managed to find my way back to the group.
We also learned from one of the villagers that sometimes they see bears and snakes in the forest. We hoped that we would not encounter any of them today.
We finally reached the coffee plants. We were amazed by the sight of these coffee plants, growing in the wild with other crops.
Kong Bina’s Story
Kong Bina told us that she owns 600 Robusta coffee trees and a few Arabica ones. She said that her coffee production was low in 2022 due to heavy rain, which resulted in only less than 100 kg of coffee beans harvested. However, this year, she expects a better yield as the coffee plants are in good condition. She also plans to expand her business by planting more coffee on her one-acre land.
We were proud to hear that Kong Bina is optimistic about her future and wants to grow more coffee. When we started our journey, we met many coffee farmers who did not have a stable market and some even decided to destroy their coffee plants and grow something else for their livelihood. But hearing from Kong Bina and seeing her passion for coffee made us happy and hopeful.
We also learned that she employs 12 family members as workers on her farm, but some of them have left to pursue education this year, leaving only seven workers on the farm. We were impressed by her dedication to her family and her support for their education.
After spending some time with Kong Bina and her coffee plants, we trekked back to her shop, where she had prepared another delicious meal for us. We enjoyed the food and thanked her for her hospitality.
Groot then decided to make a pour over for Kong Bina and her family using their own coffee beans. He brewed it with care and skill, and served it with a smile. Kong Bina and her family tasted their coffee and gave it a thumbs up. They were delighted to see how their coffee can be transformed into a wonderful drink.
We appreciated Groot’s kind gesture and his appreciation for our farmer’s hard work. We also thanked Shibani for being adventurous and spontaneous throughout the trip. They were both amazing companions and customers.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye and head back to Shillong. As we drove through the dense fog, which reduced our visibility, we reflected on our trip and the story of our coffee. We felt grateful for this opportunity to connect with our farmer and our customer, and to share our passion for coffee with them.
Shibani and Groot are dearly missed by Kong Bina and us. We hope to reunite with them on our next adventure quest.
Writing this blog post was a joy for me. If you are interested in the unique coffee from the remotest part of NE India, then check our website 7000 Steps and place your order. You can stop by Nerlu Café if you are in Bangalore for a great cup of coffee!