Sugarcane juice made from wooden machine, the old way

Yesterday as I was walking in Vashi on the way to meet a friend. While on the way I saw this wooden machine that extracts sugarcane juice. Obviously surprised, since it is something I have never seen before. This device is manually operated, with more than 95% of the motor made of wood.

As I was walking through the by-lanes to go somewhere, I saw them. It was a boon for me on a hot and humid day, with no other shops in the area to quench my thirst. I had one glass of the juice, and I should tell you that it was the best Sugarcane juice I had ever had in Mumbai.

Best sugarcane juice, ever!

The centerpiece crushes the canes in-between and extracts the sweet nectar when the axle is rotated. In fact, this is a complete retro way of making the sugarcane juice, with the machine hosted on a wooden cart, with wheels to boot!

The sugarcane juice is available with ice as well, however I would not recommend it. The ice used by many such shops and stalls or moving machines like these is not made of purified water. It also ruins the original taste. You would not add ice to a glass on wine, would you?

The couple who operates the wooden sugarcane juice machine


You will often only find Sugarcane Juice stalls operating the cane crushing jaws using an electric motor. In the place where I live, there are around seven of them as I remember and I had been at each of these shops.

All these stores use the latest crushers which are an operated by electric motors. They also add a small bell around the cylinders, traditionally tied around the neck of the bull (the workhorse). Every time you hear the bell ringing, you know a sugarcane juice stall is around the corner.

Hence, to find a new, but old way of extracting the juice was refreshing to see and experience. Of course, the vintage appeal should increment the whole feeling, and it does. The taste is something that will remember for years to come!

Reliving memories

I was able to relate the taste of my childhood days going to ‘Aaraatu,’ a traditional mela in my hometown Alleppey, in December every year. As kids, we all used to flock there and buy popcorn and black sugar canes and eat it rather than drinking the juice, a luxury in those days.

The chunks were cut painstakingly by my father once we are back home. It was a celebration as a kid, and every year I used to look forward to visiting the mela. How exciting isn’t it? The humble sugarcane juice can remind you of happiest of your memories from the past!

The family tradition

I interacted with the husband-wife who operated this wonder engine. The couple is from Allahabad, and wooden Sugarcane juice machines are still prevalent in those areas. It is a tedious job, and they love doing it. It is tiresome because the couple has done all the pushing.

The machine in their hometowns operates with the help of bulls. These bulls walk around, with bells around their neck making them ring. They work the lever, which helps crushes the canes to extract the juices between two cylinders.

The husband says it is their family tradition, and that they would try to do as long as they can. He does not think the future generation will keep the tradition alive. Are the days gone when something advanced makes you love the tradition even more?

Kudos to the couple, who are doing their best to bring the tradition to the cities like ours.

Update: You can see such machines in Maharastra as well, specifically Devlali, Nashik, and around Shirdi.

The exotic taste of Sugar cane

Sugarcane Juice Machine, completely made of wood except for nails and bearings extracts the sweetest juice I have ever tasted.


For Rs. 7 a glass, this was undoubtedly the best Sugar Cane Juice I have ever had. It may be the wood, or the cane itself; I may never know. One thing is for sure, some of the best tasteful experiences I have enjoyed in a long time are the ones made traditionally. The modern advancement does not provide the same essence to the food or the juice in this case, like the old one.

Add to it, the exclusivity of rarely seeing the wooden Sugarcane juice machine is the most redefining luxury moment for me. Something that even my parents have not experienced, given how old this process and the tool has been!

Kudos to the couple, who are doing their best to bring the tradition to the cities like ours.

Edit: Updated the article to reflect improved grammar, post framing and of course, the full resolution pictures.

Sugar CaneSugar Cane JuiceThirst QuenchersVashi
Comments (25)
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  • Tushar

    Nicely captured the essence of days gone by vide the sweetness of the juice, which in fact, me too felt that it was more sweeter then anything I have which is residue of the motorised process!

    • Hemal Shah

      Absolutely! I think the motorized process does not help because of the natural flavors of wood and oil that gets mixed with the cane juice.

      • mallinath

        please where we will be able to get the machine ,, bullock drawn wooden machine

        • Hemal Shah

          These are build by people – and are not available for sale it seems.

  • Rahul Nagda

    Hi Hemal, ya its true. This machines are rare in mumbai. But if you visit the interiors of our state u will still find them. Also u can see this type of machines operated by bullock’s while visiting shirdi – shani shingnapur side by the roads.

    • Hemal Shah

      I came to know about it dude, thanks for the info though..

      • Rahul Nagda

        U r always welcome.

  • pramod

    great way of presentation. I too got the taste of it seeing the machine only. excellent.

    • Hemal Shah

      🙂 that was awesome pramod… thank you for your comments…

  • Lakshmi Rajan

    😮 never seen anything like this before for sugar cane juice processing. Looks vintage and exotic, I bet the juice must be too!

    • Hemz

      Welcome to my Blog Lakshmi.. yes dude, i reckon the taste to be exotic 🙂

      Vintage, yes yes yes… the very reason why this pic finds a place in my blog 🙂

      have heard from lot others that this piece of machinery is visible in the areas of Maharashtra, prominently around Nashik and Aurangabad.

  • mayank sharma

    Interestin piece of machinery indeed .. Must surely be better thn the modern non-traditional ones.

    • Hemz

      yes for sure Mayank. they are indeed interesting piece of machinery. thanks for the visit 🙂

  • Avada Kedavra

    Ahh I have never seen that machine before.. really interesting how they process it.. I have seen the other usual kind of machine they use which is made of metal.. I am sure it would have tasted better just because of the traditional way of preparing it 🙂

    • Hemal

      Thank you Avada!

      Yes these machines are not to be seen too frequently. And yes it tasted much better than the machine made ones. 🙂

    • Hemz

      Yes!!! there are many around and we still can see these 🙂 its our legacy that we still can find these plying along the latest electronic avatars of humble machines… But as I said, somethings taste better old way and this is one of them 🙂

  • S.R.Ayyangar

    I have seen much bigger than this in villages during 50s to extract cane juice to prepare jaggery and the wood log in the pic on which a person is resting his hand used to be driven by a set of cows.

    • Hemz

      Wow! so we have someone who has seen it.. very true Mr. Ayyangar.. these were used in the past for sure, but what surprised me was the usage during this period of century 🙂

      Thanks for the comments 🙂

  • Annie

    Wow nice, wud love to taste this sugarcane and see this machine, well since its in vashi i can have a look at it very soon..
    but telme why u say its the best i guess has to be the sweetest 😉 and yes Hemal even m glad to see a post of urs aft ages 🙂

    • Hemz

      There are things which can be termed sweetest and someone made me realize that in the morning, so changed it 😉

      For sure you know what I am talking about… lol…

      and ya, thanks for being glad 😛 i wanted you to… 🙂 🙂

      • Annie

        Well i dint get what u said, but i know if u say there has to be something really sweet for u than that sugarcane 🙂
        Anyway always keep ur site posted 🙂

        • Hemz

          will call you and tell you whats more sweeter than that 😉

          and yeah i know you still got what i said, but would love to tell you that over again 🙂 🙂

  • Mohan

    nostalgia… the taste must have come from both the cane and the way it is prepared 🙂 I have a similar photo for a sweet lime being prepared on the road side. let me push it sometime soon.

    btw., glad that you made a post for the month of october alas!!!

    • Hemal

      awww! Mohan, that was a pun 😛 Yep, I finally found something worth to blog about 😉 and I am glad.

      Yes true. What surpirsed me was that my mom too had never seen this machine. So it seems this ones pretty old way of making but got eclipsed after the invation of the motors 😛

      Push that sweet lime pic soon on your blog.