Besides the exhilarating backwaters, the serene beaches and the luxuriant green reserves of Kerala, the coffee and tea gardens are destinations in themselves. Coffee orchards cover a total area of about 682 hectares. Gavi, Munnar and Nenmara are popular coffee plantation regions. Kerala grows mainly Robusta and accounts for 40,000 tonnes of Indian produce. These coffee gardens are big employment and income generators and contribute in a huge way to the economy of Kerala.
The Travancore Robusta is unique with the potential of specialty coffees.
Peermade is a famous plantation town associated with the erstwhile Travancore royal family, growing tea and coffee interspersed among rocks, meadows and hills.
Tea plantations in Kerala date back to the British Raj. Climactic conditions of the backwaters are ideal to its growth. The Tea industry employs about 84,000 labourers and the Tata Group owns the majority of these tea gardens.
Munnar, the most sought after hill station in India has miles and miles of tea plantations. There are over 30 tea gardens in and around Munnar. Visit one of the verdant tea gardens to learn about tea processing. However, some tea factories need special permission for visiting.
The Anayirankal Dam: just 20 kms from Munnar is surrounded by lush Tata tea plantations Kuttikanam, a picturesque plantation town perfect for adventure tourism, is surrounded by beautiful hills. Grampi, a charming green town set on rocky plains and lush hillsides, is a great destination. Endless covers of tea gardens spread along the road to Grampi. Chithirapuram, 10 kms from Munnar still possesses the old world charm evident from the stoic bungalows and cottages, and is much visited for its charming tea gardens.
The Tea industry is also a big contributor to the tourism industry as plenty of resorts have developed around these plantations.