Yes, you read that right – the Coffee Board of India just released a coffee-scented stamp and it’s glorious! Launched in partnership with India Post, this special edition stamp will set you back by Ra 100 and while that may seem a bit steep for what is essentially a scented piece of paper, coffee lovers and philatelists alike are rejoicing across the country. After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a scented stamp – in 2006, India introduced aromatic sandalwood stamps, priced at Rs 15, and nearly 30 lakh units of those were sold out in two weeks.

Coffee and India: A Better Love Story Than Twilight

This is a love story centuries in the making, and Karnataka is where it all began. It took a great deal of effort to make that happen though, since coffee started off in Ethiopia and then arrived in Arabia before a very brave 16th century Sufi saint by the name of Baba Budan risked life and limb to bring this elixir of the Gods to India. Intrigued? When the baba went on pilgrimage to Mecca, he sought the truth. And the truth was coffee. On his way back, he had to begin his voyage home from the port city of Mocha (yes, it exists; this Yemeni city off the Red Sea coast is now called Mohka, though), and it was where he tasted the drink for the first time. Convinced that he had found something he couldn’t do without, Baba Budan strapped seven beans to his chest and smuggled them out of Mocha. It was an extremely dangerous move at the time, since it was considered an illegal act to take coffee beans out of Arabia in any form other than roasted or boiled to prevent germination. Luckily, Baba Budan’s clandestine activity went undiscovered and he brought them home to plant in the courtyard of his hermitage in Chikmangalur, Karnataka, which is widely considered to be the heart of India’s coffee industry. Today, India is responsible for 4.5 percent of the world’s coffee production, with Karnataka accounting for 71 percent of our national production. And to think it all began with seven smuggled beans.

01 coffee stamps

Things You Can Do with This Marvellous Stamp

  1. Lick it. Yes, we know that it’s a scented stamp, but even the Coffee Board is using the hashtag #CoffeeFlavouredStamp to talk about it. Does the stamp really taste like the drink? Well, there’s only one way to find out…
  2. Put it inside an envelope and send it to a fellow coffee lover. Remember: inside, not on. You don’t want to ruin a perfectly good scented stamp now, do you?
  3. Write a letter to your SO reminding them of your first coffee date (everyone’s had one of those, right?) and send it to them along with this stamp. A simple gesture like an old-fashioned letter will surely make their day.
  4. Tear a bunch of these stamps up into itsy-bitsy pieces and see if you can brew a cuppa using these grounds, because why not?
  5. Get your homesick South Indian friend to do your chores in exchange for a sniff of their beloved coffee.

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