What's Brewing for Cocoa?

What's Brewing for Cocoa?

The foreigner sitting opposite us isn’t your run-of-the-mill tourist soaking in stories about ‘incredible India’ and its mind-boggling variety of places and people. On the contrary, he has us wide-eyed as he regales us with experiences and stories about India in general, and Kerala in particular!

Learning that it was my home state, he even surprises us with replies to our questions in chaste Malayalam, occasionally peppered with colloquial expressions – not an easy language to pick up by any stretch of imagination!

It’s a warm afternoon and we are sitting at Ironhill in Bengaluru, whose claim-to-fame is that of being the world’s largest micro-brewery. Spread over a jaw-dropping 1,30,000 square feet, it has a combination of indoor and outdoor seating and is impressive with its sheer size and decor.

We try to judiciously divide our attention between the delicious pints of beer and the delectable hors d'oeuvres placed before us while trying to figure out what makes this intriguing person tick.

Cocoa country

Luca Beltrami, a native of Italy, along with his Belgian wife Ellen, founded GoGround Beans & Spices in 2015. Luco has been in Kerala for over 5 years and their venture is located amidst the forests and rugged hills, which is home to the beautiful giant Malabar squirrel and the Indian elephant.

Cocoa has been grown in that part of the country for over five decades and is cultivated in coconut and areca plantations. It is primarily grown as an under-storey intercrop but has never really reached its full potential primarily because of the cyclical nature of the crop and the then prevalent monopoly in the buying and processing by a few.

Luca and Ellen tried to change all that. Both are engineers by profession and had, interestingly, met each other in Hyderabad! Luca was earlier involved in a cocoa project in Uganda and realised that Kerala had a climate very suitable for cocoa.

Their mission extends beyond mere commerce: they strive to enhance farm yield, modernise production techniques, and uplift the socio-economic status of smallholder farmers in the region.

Since then, they have studied and perfected the harvesting, fermentation and drying processes to bring out the flavour nuances of the various local beans and terroir.

The beans have a natural taste profile and are sold to artisanal processors, including bean-to-bar chocolate makers in India and Europe. Because of the fine taste and the consistent quality of their cocoa beans, they have managed to give Indian cocoa a place in the ‘speciality cocoa’ market, Luca says.

The collaboration

In a collaboration that marries the best of Indian cocoa beans with innovative craft brew experiences, Ironhill India has partnered with GoGround Beans & Spices to celebrate the richness and quality of Indian cocoa beans while exploring new frontiers in the craft beer segment.

The micro-brewery, known for its ability to redefine experiences, sources quality raw ingredients from various geographical locations and uses locally sourced ingredients and flavours in its brews.

“Indian cocoa beans are renowned for their unique and distinct flavour profile, characterized by rich, earthy undertones with subtle hints of fruity and floral notes,” says Luca.

“They offer a versatile brewing experience, allowing for the creation of beers that have a harmonious blend of chocolatey richness and subtle undertones, providing a sensory experience that is distinctly Indian.”

Each brew is crafted with the utmost care and precision to accentuate the unique qualities of Indian cocoa. This results in a sensory journey that delights the palate and celebrates the spirit of innovation in craft brewing.

Surprising aromas

The resultant decadent chocolate stout boasts a velvety texture and robust chocolate flavours. It offers a surprising aroma and invites you to discover its delicate chocolate and coffee notes that is infused with touch of sweet bitterness.

“Craft beer is a realm where innovation is only limited by your imagination. By incorporating Indian cocoa beans into our brews, we’re not only elevating the flavour profile but also shedding light on the incredible potential of Indian agricultural produce and native beans that are pleasing to the Indian palate,” Teja Chekuri, Managing Partner, Ironhill India points out.

And that’s just the beginning. The team is exploring other styles, such as chocolate-infused porters, brown ales, and experimental brews that incorporate spices and botanicals. The sky is the limit with endless possibilities!

Source: Brews and Spirits Magazine

Follow us for event updates

Need more information about Brews & Spirits Expo?

Please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you within 2 business days.

+91 80 42505000

Exhibitor Profile
Visitor Profile