I just read an article in the paper that said that Starbucks plans on opening 50 coffee outlets in India by the end of 2012. I knew that coffee houses were becoming popular there largely due to the rising level of disposable income of India’s young professional set and the broad reach of the internet but this is huge! Can you imagine the people of the Indian subcontinent becoming Starbucks addicts?

 

This will be a joint venture between Starbucks and Tata Global Beverages. Both companies bring many strengths to this partnership. Starbucks with its marketing wizardry; Tata with its market and local knowledge as well as the roasted local coffee beans to be provided by Tata Coffee Ltd. I think I should buy stock in both companies now as I expect the profits will go through the roof. The name of the stores will be called Tata Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance.

 

The interesting thing about this move is that most north Indians drink tea, not coffee. In south India, people have been drinking rich filter coffee in addition to tea for years. Even though Starbucks will bring its Tazo tea line to the partnership in the shops with its Awake tea (unidentified tea blend from Sri Lanka, Kenya as well as India), I don’t think they will be successful in attracting the Indian tea drinkers who are very sophisticated in their tastes for English Breakfast and Darjeeling tea which are actually grown in India. See my post, A Voyage with Indian Tea, that focuses on tea grown in India.

 

With the first store targeted to open in September, I will keep my eyes peeled to see how successful this venture turns out to be.  Stay tuned…

 

Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/starbucks-india_n_1241553.html

 

 

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In my post on April 9th, I introduced you to my favorite instant coffee called Bru. It is from India and tastes just like cappuccino. Hindustan Unilever Ltd., India’s leading consumer goods company makes this delicious beverage. Known as a fast paced and progressive company, it is rapidly becoming the Starbucks of India. (I’ll tell you more about Starbucks in India in a future post.) The reasons for this are simple: young people in India have more disposable income due to their rapidly increasing salaries from the technology industry, they have more interaction with people from around the world thereby learning about the coffee craze and they spend more time outside of the home than their parents did.

 

Bru from Hindustan Unilever is meeting the competition head on.

Bru from Hindustan Unilever is meeting the competition head on.

The first thing Hindustan Unilever has done is to import, roast and sell rare, premium coffees from Brazil, Columbia and Kilimanjaro to attract the upwardly mobile young Indian coffee connoisseurs. These coffees are marketed under the Bru Exotica brand. The company says it freeze-dries the coffee in a unique method of processing that it retains the taste and aroma so it seems “farm-fresh.” This is really a surprise to me since India is a major producer of the best coffee beans, peaberry, in the world!

 

The second thing Hindustan Unilever is doing is to emulate the Starbucks coffee shop craze by opening its own stores. They already have over 40 kiosks across the country for people on the go that sell their Lipton tea and Bru coffee as well as other popular food. Now they have opened Bru World Café in trendy Mumbai that targets people who want to drink their favorite beverages in a social and comfortable environment just like several of the U.S. based coffee house chains.

 

This dynamic company is on the move by experimenting with products and outlets that meet the changing demands of the internationally sophisticated, young Indian professionals. I wonder when they will be opening a store in Dallas…

 

For more information check out these links:

 

http://www.hul.co.in/mediacentre/news/2011/bru-introduces-finest-coffees-from-across-the-world-inIndia.aspx

http://www.unilever.com/mediacentre/news/coffeeretailinginindia.aspx

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Good coffee is the key factor to starting the day off on the right foot in my household. So important, my wonderful husband brings me a cup first thing every morning (or, on busy days, he at least sets up the coffee maker). Back in December 2011, I gave my honest opinion of the instant coffee in Europe and south India in a blog entry. This time, I want to tell you what I think about an instant coffee that is made in India.

 

Bru, the instant Indian coffee that tastes likes Caupccio.

Bru, the instant Indian coffee that tastes likes Caupccio.

 

The coffee that contains chicory is called Bru and is distributed in the U.S. by Unilever. It is available in Indian grocery stores in both instant and ground coffee. My husband prefers the convenience of the instant coffee because he can heat a cup of hot water and cream, stir in a spoonful of coffee and be ready to enjoy his first sip. He has been drinking this as long as I have known him. He went through phases during which he drank my favorite Starbucks blend, decaffeinated blend from Costco and New Orleans Cafe du Monde coffee. Each time he has returned to Bru.

 

On the occasions when I run out of coffee, he makes me a cup of Bru. It tastes just like Italian cappuccino with a hint of chicory! It is delicious. (I don’t drink it every day because it is too strong without milk and sweetener.)

 

Why does he stick with Bru? It could be the chicory flavor that attracts him. Maybe it is the convenience when half awake at 5 am. Perhaps it is the cost. I can buy a bottle of Bru for between $4 and $5 each. That means each cup costs only 5 cents! (Major coffee manufacturers: look out!)

 

I will never know which reason is correct for why he likes it but I suspect it is a combination of all three. Yum!

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During our stay in Mumbai, we stayed at the ITC Maratha. I mentioned this hotel back in July when I discussed some of the “out of this world” food I had tasted there so the name may sound familiar. Our room in the hotel was fantastic – as opulent as any 5 star hotel in New York, Paris or Singapore with marble walls and floor in the bath and lovely soft bedding. The feature that made this hotel stand out is its coffee.

Indian filter coffee in a French press

Indian filter coffee in a French press

Most top hotels in Europe and India provide either an electric kettle with instant coffee or nothing at all. Usually the instant is the nearly undrinkable Nescafe. This hotel has the latest model of electric kettle that boils a pot of water instantly The best part is that it offers a French press coffee pot with sachets of its own Indian coffee. 
 

One night after dinner a bellman came to see if we needed anything. I mentioned how wonderful the coffee was. (The maid had already given us a generous supply for the next morning.) He agreed with me and ran off. When he returned he brought me a handful of the sachets.

Last October I discussed filter or decoction coffee which is the south
Indian way of making coffee. Here it is made it in a French press. I was in love! Traditional coffee made in a sophisticated pot that tasted delicious!

I’m sure the rest of my trip to Mumbai was enhanced due to all of this fantastic coffee and his generous gift!

When I go to London and Barcelona in the spring, I will pack my recently acquired plastic 2-cup French press and some of my own coffee. Ahh…

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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Filter coffee, Madras coffee or decoction coffee – three different names for the brewed coffee that is popular across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh (three states of South India).

 

A cup of South Indian Filter Coffee

A cup of hot, fresh South Indian Filter Coffee

 

By whatever name you call it, this is the most delicious coffee in south India and in the entire world.  It tastes like a cross between Italian cappuccino and New Orleans coffee.  It is a special treat to drink first thing in the morning, with a meal or after dinner.  If you walk around Chennai (Madras) in the morning, you will find coffee vendors on their bicycles with large insulated containers filled with this aromatic coffee selling it in small disposable cups where people gather: construction sites, bus stations, trains, etc. It is also served in restaurants like Sarvana Bhavan in Chennai.  Here the coffee maker is an expert at the “two yard” coffee pour. This means that he pours it back and forth twice to make a lot of foam on the coffee.  What a sight! Being a coffee lover, I have had this coffee many, many times while I was in India. In addition, decoction coffee is always served to guests when they come to your home.

 

Pouring hot Indian Coffee

Pouring hot Indian Coffee

 

South Indians are very serious coffee drinkers while North Indians tend to drink more tea. Just like in the United States, they buy the different varieties of beans that vary slightly in their flavor. Most popular varieties are Plantation A, Plantation B and Peaberry. The coffees are roasted and kept in air tight containers so they stay fresh. Customers ask the coffee vendor to mix specific varieties and grind it. My in-laws select equal proportions of the three varieties for their special blend. Some people buy green coffee beans to roast and grind at home just before making their coffee so it is as fresh and aromatic as possible.
 

Coffee was introduced to India by the Arabs.  The local people of Kerala found that coffee plants grow well there due to the heavy rain that they get. Coffee plants never grow well in dry areas.  Kerala and Karnataka have huge coffee plantations.  One of them, the House of Tatas, has thousands of acres of land across Kerala, Coorg in Karnataka and Ooty in Tamil Nadu.

This requires a special decoction coffee maker made of stainless steel. In the old days, brass filters were used. Coffee makers are available in different sizes to make enough coffee for different size families.  Each coffee maker has four parts.  The top container into which the ground coffee is placed has a perforated bottom. This fits tightly into the bottom container which collects the decoction coffee. The third part is the plunger which is placed over the ground coffee. It is a perforated disk with a vertical stem. The last part is the lid.

 

A South Indian Coffee maker

A South Indian Coffee maker

 

South Indians make strong, filtered coffee but they do not drink it too strong. They prefer to mix it with a lot of hot milk (not black). The proportion of their coffee to milk varies from 20 to 80% based on their preference.  One step in coffee preparation makes this totally unique to South India: instead of pouring their coffee directly into a cup, it is poured back and forth from a height of about one yard from one vessel to another to make thick foam which makes it look like cappuccino.

 

One taste and you will be in awe. A few cups and you will be hooked. This coffee has the best aroma when freshly brewed so it should be prepared early in the morning. Here is my recipe that makes 5-6 cups:

 

South Indian Coffee Recipe

Making South Indian Coffee

Making South Indian Coffee

 

2 heaping Tbs per person plus 1 Tbs for the pot very finely ground dark roast coffee

water

whole milk

sugar

 

With the top and bottom containers attached, put the coffee powder into the top container and gently press it down with the plunger.  Fill the top container with boiling water and close the lid.  Allow one to two hours for the coffee concentrate to drain into the bottom container.

 

Fill a cup about ¼ full with the coffee concentrate.  Fill with boiling milk and sugar (your preference). Using two cups pour the mixture from one to the other from as large a distance as you can manage without spilling to make thick foam on the top of the coffee.  Enjoy!
 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

 

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