In 2019, EP Jeevan launched a food truck which focussed entirely on health food, providing freshly extracted sugarcane juice for morning walkers at Besant Nagar beach. But then the pandemic struck, and he had to close down.
Early this year, he launched again. This time he has partnered with Erode Amman Mess in Adyar to set up a juice bar, Absolute Sugarcane, selling sugarcane juice in a range of flavours, as well as tender coconut water and nungu (ice apple) based juices.
After completing his Engineering degree at BITS-Pilani, Jeevan worked with many MNCs since 2009. He has now emerged as a food entrepreneur, with a mission to popularise natural cane juice and traditional regional drinks among the younger generation.
A spectrum available
To that end, The Absolute Sugarcane menu lists “classic” and “exotic” options. “Classic cane juice comes in variation of lemon, mint or ginger, but it is our exotics that are most popular. Among them, the cane pineapple mojito and coconut cane slush are hits,” says Jeevan. The former is a refreshing cocktail of minced pineapple, mint leaves and basil seeds blended with cane juice.
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Nungu paal , traditionally considered a healthy summer drink, is made here with tender coconut water, cream and ice apple, then served chilled. Their other must-trys are the nungu sherbet, elaneer vettiver cooler, which has a mild flavour of this herbal root and glory ginger, where instead of crushing the ginger along with sugarcane, it is cut into thin strips for a brighter flavour.
“We see sugarcane juice vendors near bus stops and railway stations: the drink is affordable and accessible to all. But many of us are wary of the ice or water used in the process, or the condition of the juice extracting machine,” he says, adding, “My idea was to make cane juice in a hygienic manner and in many variations. We procure sugarcane from farmers in Erode region in Tamil Nadu. Ice apples are available for almost nine months in a year and tender coconuts are available round the year. While tender coconuts are sourced from all over Tamil Nadu, ice apples are from Villupuram, Puducherry and from Kerala.”
Growing up, Jeevan, a State-level athlete, says he spent long hours in his school and college playgrounds. While returning home from practice, stopping for a sugarcane drink was an everyday ritual. During those days, he had wondered why such a highly nutritious, delicious, all-natural product was only sold by the roadside.
“We just launched another outlet at Kilpauk and soon more outlets will be launched in a phased manner,” says Jeevan, adding “We introduce new flavors from time to time, and will soon be launching padhaneer (a thin sap extracted from the inflorescence of the palmyra tree).”
Absolute Sugarcane is located in Adyar (7904115106) and in Kilpauk (6380244873). It is also available on Zomato.