Shining a Spotlight on Indian Specialty Coffee

A bag of cloth holds coffee beans with the Tulum logo.

Tulum Coffee’s Pallav Haria shares his personal coffee journey and the evolution of Indian coffee throughout the years.

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Tulum Coffee

Can you recall the moment that you first fell in love with coffee? For Tulum Coffee’s Pallav Haria (he/him), it all began with a yearlong trip to Brazil as an exchange student when he was just 15 years old. Here, he fell in love with the craft and the culture—and thus, the seeds of a lifelong passion were planted.

“(In Brazil), I was introduced to various cultures and people from different parts of the world,” he shares. “Since Brazil is a coffee-growing and coffee-loving country, many of my interactions with people happened over cups of coffee—from drip coffee at home to coffee stands at the park. I fell in love with coffee then, not because of the caffeine, but rather what it brought with it: friends.”

Tulum Coffee’s Pallav Haria is based in India, but his company was inspired by his travels in Mexico. 

Life in Mexico

Later in his life, Pallav would get the chance to live in Merida, Mexico, and travel across Central and South America. In Merida, he worked as a full-time barista at a café called Estación 72. After returning to his home in India in 2018, he began studying and researching Indian coffee, meeting with local farmers and professionals within the specialty-coffee industry. After two years of learning and strategizing, Tulum Coffee—a coffee company based in India but inspired by his time in Mexico—was born.

Showcasing Indian specialty coffee

Though India has traditionally harvested primarily Robusta coffee, Pallav shares that consumption of Arabica is continually growing, with a stronger emphasis on specialty coffee. He describes Indian coffee as primarily nutty and earthy with spicy notes, higher body, and mild acidity.

“(India’s specialty-coffee scene) is small but growing every day,” he states. “During COVID lockdowns, when people were stuck at home, many of them were introduced to specialty coffee. … About two years ago, I think there were about 20 coffee roasters—and now, there are over a hundred! I can definitely see the effect, and I can say that specialty coffee is just going to (continue to) grow.”

Besides being the founder of Tulum Coffee, Pallav is also the designer behind the brand’s minimalistic, nature-inspired, and eye-catching designs. When he first launched Tulum, he had difficulty finding a designer who could fully capture the look he wanted for his brand—but his own background in screen printing and design gave him the skills he needed to create the artwork himself.

Apart from being the founder of Tulum Coffee, Haria also designs the brand’s eye-catching and beautifully minimalistic designs.

Design by color

When asked what inspires his designs for Tulum, Pallav shines a light on the people he came across in his travels. “One of my influences while designing for Tulum came from the indigenous people of Amazon,” he shares. “While traveling there, I noticed their expressions and face tattoos—rich in details. We incorporated these elements—dots, lines, curves, and circles—into our designs, interpreting them as sand, waves, bubbles in the sea.”

Pallav’s coffee packaging designs are also color-centric, with different colors representing each unique coffee farm. “Since many of the coffee farms have names that are difficult (for people abroad) to pronounce, I thought—why not use colors to identify our coffees? So, we used colors as a scheme: to make it easier for customers to recognize our coffees.”

“Tulum is a roastery fueled by coffee, art, music, and creativity,” Pallav continues. “We’re always trying to add uniqueness in every possible way, while also keeping simplicity at our core. … We always take a second to think, plan, and do because, just like our tagline says: Nothing good in life is instant.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Based in Los Angeles, Emily Joy Meneses (she/her) is a writer and musician passionate about culture and collective care. You can regularly find her at Echo Park Lake, drinking a cortado and journaling about astrology, art, Animal Crossing, and her dreams. Explore her poetry, short stories, and soundscapes on her website.

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