Far from the din of city life, snuggled amidst the coffee plantation is a little oasis of tranquility where the day starts and ends with coffee…. join us on a journey through Malnad.
If you have seen our Instagram feed, you might have already got a clue. This post is all about coffee, coffee, and some more coffee…
Last week, I got an opportunity to be part of an Experiential Bloggers retreat organized by Skreem at The Serai, Chikmagalur. It was one helluva trip with 9 other bloggers.
( Ps: If you’re a blogger, do download the Skreem App. They have some amazing campaigns in the works )
Chikmagalur – Home to the first coffee plantation in India and is 250 km from Bangalore. It took us around 4-5 hours to reach the resort. As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed by the waft of brewed coffee and garlands of jasmine flowers.
The staff guided us to the sky lounge for a welcome drink and the refreshment that was waiting for us. Introduction and briefing about the resort followed quickly. Post that we were all ushered to our villa.
ABOUT THE SERAI CHIKMAGALUR
The Serai Chikmagalur is set amidst 70 acres of coffee plantation and is owned by Cafe Coffee Day group. The other properties owned by The Serai are at Kabini, Bandipur, and Andamans. The Serai Chikmagalur goes by the tagline – “Inspired By Coffee“.
The roots of coffee’s history in India began with Baba Budan who smuggled seven beans from Yemen and planted on the hills of Chikmagalur which is renamed as Baba Budan hills. He introduced coffee beans in India. Chikmagalur ideal coffee- growing condition was a boon and it became the home to the first coffee plantation in India. The main variety of coffee that is grown in Chikmagalur is Arabica, which is grown in shade. Cafe Coffee Day is one of the major exporters from India.
Karnataka is one of the major exporter of Coffee to other countries, which is more than 70% of the total coffee produced in the country. #itsallaboutcoffee.
With the weather just about perfect, The Serai, Chikmagalur is an ideal destination to escape to a blissful solitude in the lap of nature and rejuvenate. A perfect retreat to soak in all the greenness, whilst your time in your own private pool or jacuzzi, grab a cup of homegrown coffee and settle down with a long-pending book.
The resort has in total of 29 Villas – Estate Villa with Jacuzzi, Estate Villa with Pool, Estate Terrace, and The Residence.
The villas are crafted ideally for R&R and to wipe all your maddening stress with a refreshing coffee whiff as your wake-up call. We stayed at Estate Villa with Pool.
All villas are extravagantly furnished in a soothing palette of beige, cream and brown. Moreover, tropical garden flatteringly hugs the villas and has access to a private pool/ jacuzzi with outdoor showers. The Villas cater not only to couples but to families too. Each villa has a range of amenities from LED TVs, minibar, coffee maker, hairdryer to name a few. Bathrooms are quite dope too.
At Jacuzzi Villa, the private pool is replaced by Jacuzzi. Rest everything stays the same.
Odyssey – The restaurant overlooks the villa and offers mesmerizing views. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner is served here. There are also live counters where the Chef dishes out lip-smacking Malnad and South Indian delicacies.
Blue Sky Lounge –
Order a drink and immerse yourself in the beauty that surrounds you at the lounge bar.
Other Activities & Facilities
With ample space and multiple facilities, the resort is perfect for couples, families, and friends. Gym, Gift Shop, Library, Recreation room with indoor games like Table Tennis and Snooker are some of the highlights of the property.
Stay at The Serai is more about experiences that are gonna be etched in your mind for a lifetime. We’ve listed some of the experiences you can’t afford to miss.
– Experiences to Savor –
– Devour Malnad Cuisines –
Sampling local food is one of the best things about travel and devouring Malnad delicacies is a treat for your taste buds. Prior to this trip, I had no clue about Malnad Cuisine and how it is different from Malabar or other regional cuisines.
Served on a banana leaf, Malnad delicacies are highly influenced by the culture and geography and is quite a unique mishmash. We were served a multitude of dishes, ranging from the traditional Kudubu to Hurlisaru.
If you are wondering about all the delicacies that you see in the above pic, we’ve listed down all the lip-smacking dishes we had –
Harlikai Gojju – Made from the local Pomelos marinated.
Kosumbari – Soaked Urad Dal with fresh cucumber and coconut tempered in South Indian style.
Kalule Palya – Made from a locally procured fresh Bamboo shoot.
Halsinkai – Raw jackfruit
Bendekai Gojju – Fried tender Okra Gravy
Hurlisaru – Horse gram reduction
Kaima Unde – Mutton balls
Eery Fry – Mutton liver
Kesa – Colocasia leaves
Holige & Thupa – Pancakes served with ghee
Kudubu – Rice dumplings served with a local chicken
Gangalada Dosa – Local “Oul” river fish served with tawa roasted local dosa.
Mavinhanina Gojju – Mini mangoes dipped in a sweet yogurt masala with tadka
Steamed Rice with Rasam
Halagana Hittu – Sweet made with milk and flour
Kuskus Payasa – Roasted Poppy seeds, grounded and slowly simmered in a sweetened milky concoction.
Quite a drool-worthy experience to give a miss, I must say!!!
– Coffee Talk –
Behind every cup of coffee is a story….On this trip, we had a tete-a-tete with none other than the man behind the perfect cup of coffee at Cafe Coffee Day — Dr. Pradeep Kenjige. We talked at length about coffee – Everything from the cheapest instant coffees to one of the world’s most expensive coffees – Kopi Luwak – made with civet’s poop.
We got an insight into the homegrown coffee, how it is grown in India, varieties, about various plantations in India and the world, how to distinguish and above all drinking coffee the right way.
( Trivia: 4 shots of caffeine is good for health and no one flavor should outweigh another )
– Factory Visit –
For all coffee lovers, factory visit is another experience you don’t want to skip whilst your stay at the resort. You’ll get an insight into the entire process in the journey of the coffee from seed to cup — Starting from harvesting the seeds, to processing and packaging. The seeds picked from the plantation are brought to the factory, where it is segregated and the finer ones are roasted to desired color and temperature. Once the roasting is done, they are grounded and packed accordingly.
On this trip, we got a chance to visit the research lab which was quite an experience in itself. I used to hang out a lot at CCD ( that’s what we used to refer Cafe Coffee Day ) with my friends during school/ engineering days. So looking at the old cups was quite a trip down the memory lane.
At the lab, we also got an opportunity to taste different types of tea & coffee that Cafe Coffee day exports – Black coffee, vending machine lemon tea, Pomegranate dry fruits, Peppermint green tea, Chamomile lemon honey & Blue Butterfly plee flower.
– Detox at Oma Spa –
Rejuvenate your senses and detox yourself by opting for their signature therapy – Coffee Cure. A generous amount of grounded coffee is massaged and scrubbed from top to toe which will leave your body feeling relaxed and soothe any aching muscles.
– Soak in the Beauty / Nature Walks –
You are bound to fall in love walking or biking around the beautiful property – a treasure trove of splendid beauty. As you step out in the silence for a while, you’ll find twittering of birds for the company, whiff of fresh air brushing against your skin and soothing your inner soul.
– Plantation Walk –
Don your trekking shoes, slather yourself with mosquito repellent and head for a plantation walk at the resort. You’ll get a much clearer understanding of the journey of the coffee processing steps from the seeds to the final product. 🙂
On the last day of our stay, we snaked our way through the plantation, Pavan shared with us a plethora of knowledge about the estate and various trees planted and their significance. It was an amazing experience!
– Romantic Dinner –
On a special request, beautiful romantic set up can be done under a canopy of a Banyan tree for a sumptuous meal too.
– Heritage Trail –
Make sure to delve into the glorious history of Hoysala dynasty. Book yourself a half day trip to Belur and Halebidu and get awed by the splendid architecture that speaks volumes about the rich history of the bygone era.
If you want R&R away from the mundane city life, you can’t go wrong with a couple of days at this beautiful property. Nestled away in the lap of a picturesque plantation it is a haven of peace and tranquility. For coffee aficionados, you get to satisfy your coffee craving direct from the source.
The message is clear here – soak in the beauty, breathe in some fresh air, rejuvenate, detox and get inspired by Coffee.
– Places to Visit/ Things to Do in Chikmagalur –
Trek to Kudremukh
Falls – Hebbe Falls, Kalhatti Falls
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Kudremukh National Park
HOW TO REACH THERE
The Serai Chikmagalur is just 250 km away from Bangalore. From the airport, it takes around 4-5 hours to reach the resort. You can also opt for a helicopter ride to reach the resort.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore, Mangalore
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