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The Toddy Tapper

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Scott Eirinberg

We met some interesting local characters on our first day in Kerala. While we were exploring, we saw some men working by the side of the road. They are what is known as Toddy Tappers. This profession has lots of upward mobility because it basically consists of climbing trees for a living.

The Toddy Tapper goes from tree to tree collecting as much sap as possible from the coconut bark. But the tricky part is that the bark only grows at the very top of the trees.

At the end of each day, the Toddy Tappers sell their special sap to the local Toddy Shops. On a good day, a Toddy Tapper might take home 500 rupees or about ten bucks.

As you might have guessed, the toddy sap actually ferments into a potent alcoholic beverage. But you have to be careful with the sour libation. As they say around here, “Too much Toddy ain’t good for the body.” (Okay, I made that last part up.)

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