Would you believe us if we told you that besides playing some fantastic tennis, India’s tennis star Rohan Bopanna is also, quite literally, championing another field? The 2017 French Open Mixed Doubles champion also happens to be a connoisseur of coffee. Building up on his interest, Rohan took it to a professional level last year, launching a range of his specialty coffees, ‘Rohan Bopanna’s MasterBlend’. He’s associated with Bengaluru’s The Flying Squirrel – a popular micro-roastery and cafe – to release the special line.
Talking about his latest venture, Rohan said, “While most of you have known me for my journey on court, there is a side to me that the world has not been privy to – that of a coffee connoisseur. Growing up in a coffee estate, I have been involved in the intricacies of cultivating and blending coffee and now I bring my years of expertise to create my own blend of Arabica coffee beans from my estate in Coorg.”
Growing up on a farm
Rohan Bopanna’s Master Blend is an all-Arabica medium-dark roasted variant, which has differently processed beans, all procured from his farm. “My parents took care of the estate back then and even now they manage it entirely. My father considers the estates as his kids – part of the family,” Rohan says exclusively to Sportswallah.
“Growing up on the farm is something unique. To be surrounded by greenery from every angle, and the sky is so clear. I remember spending so many nights just gazing at the stars. And we had several animals, so there was always something to do. It was like living in a farm that was part of the clouds, as we were situated at 3600ft above sea level,” he states about his childhood. Thanks to the high altitude of the estate, the coffee cherry takes a bit longer to ripen, giving the sugars in the bean precious time to develop naturally while on the plant, adding to the unique taste of the blend.
Passion to profession
The coffee connoisseur started young. “I used to have a few sips of coffee when I was around 9 or 10 years old. But it was over the years that I started to like it more,” he recalls. Surprisingly though, he would never drink coffee when he was cafes, because of found the taste of his homegrown coffee different from the ones cafes served. Now though, he’s come around to enjoying coffees elsewhere too.
If you’re wondering how that the idea of taking his coffee-related expertise to a professional level struck him, he says, in what seems matter-of-factly to us, “Coffee has been part of my life longer than tennis. But it’s only a couple of years ago that I wanted to take coffee seriously and learn more about it. And even with my constant travelling, I try and learn a little bit every way I possibly can.”