Coffee and the experience

coffeeCappuccino, Caffeine Kick, Caramello and more. Wow! Sounds good, and cool too. But what if I want my usual filter coffee, or South Indian or Madras coffee as many call it, and I want it with the cafe experience?

Yes, the ‘experience’ you know – nice lounge, soft music playing through Bose speakers, jazzy ring-tones emanating from latest mobiles adding to the harmony, love birds nested on nearby sofas, budding entrepreneurs planning high flying venture on a next table, latest fashion trends on display as models …err customers walk through the ramp …err door.

coffeeWhy do premier coffee joints not offer my Madras coffee? Have they assumed that it doesn’t go well or ‘fit in’ with the ‘experience’? Or do they think that serving same ‘classic’ coffee will put them in unfair price comparison situations with the next door *-Sagars and Darshinis? Or, am I in a minority here?

Or is it that they serve that sweet-bitter-creamy dark-brown taste, by some other funky name, and me the ignoramus doesn’t know about it. In that case, someone, please, enlighten me.

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14 Responses

  1. All those fancy names can’t beat the authentic filter coffee taste. These joints jack up the price by throwing a few Euro sounding names. Cafe Latte? That’s just coffee with hot milk. How about tea in these places? Bigger ripoff than the bottled mineral water.

  2. that be kaapi saar.

  3. maybe you need to move back to being an nri? :-) :-)

    just kidding. but it does look like corporate india is being taken over by funkiness! as bloggers have complained, even mtr – and i hear now, ever nilgiris – has sold out. i am already trembling at the prospect of having norweigian brand of mtr – well, as long as they don’t add sea food (for taste) to our mtr masalas i guess i will be ok!!!

    my recent india trip was my first one where i could purchase coffee and tea at the international airports for less than i could at some places inside the city!

    reminds me of the time i went to a fancy shmancy coffee store here in the usa (never again) and ordered one of the items (menu was not dissimilar to the one you posted). as a result of my complete ignorance, i ordered something when i should have ordered something else.

    result? what i got was so utterly bitter that, after a few combinations of “more sugar, more creamer,” the temperature of the concoction dropped below room temperature, and its volume exceeded that of the cup. the pressure to finish it was too much for me; needless to say, it ended up in the trash can.

    – s.b.

  4. @somebody

    That used to happen to me too, quite regularly when I was a newbie here.. :) can relate to it so well….”temperature of the concoction dropped below room temperature, and its volume exceeded that of the cup.”

    :)

  5. you NRIs are taking this in a different direction. This is not about irritating-at-times ‘personalization’ you can’t avoid at Starbucks et al, and now these chains here.

    And R A, hey you are paying for the experience, not just the coffee or tea.

    Just that I want Coffee Day, Barista or upcoming Starbucks here to serve hot and ready Madras Coffee as well! I am assuming there are more like me who want Darshini coffee taste with the cafe experience :)

  6. pranav:

    hey, i was headed in the right direction (the incident i used just to illustrate what the unsophisticated among us nris are subjected to).

    if you go to starbucks (and sons), you will get this kind of coffee/tea wonly, whether in india or outside! for asli desi taste, you need to step into the dhabas that serve kaapi, saar!

    – s.b.

  7. Demand and pre-disposition to flaunt all things phoren – you probably hanker for good-ole coffee but how many others do the same? Plus the joint’s “prestige” is lowered if they “stoop” to offering outdated and old-fashioned Indian stuff (even if the shopowner wants it, majority of the customers don’t and may avoid the shop as it is not hep).
    There was an article a few years ago (when the first McDonald’s started in one of the malls in Bangalore) where the big queue/demand was highlighted – apparently people think it exclusive enough to go dating! Whereas, in the US, McDonald’s is the probably the last place you would go on a date (place to break up more likely). Also, a manager (or somebody) of Pizza Hut, Bangalore told in an interview that they keep the prizes high so all and sundry do not visit it. So, phoren (= high price) = good. I can digress and hold forth on how people from other countries are fiercely proud of their nations/language compared to Indians and also how trashy these food items are compared to traditional Indian food, but let me refrain.

  8. @SB I agree with you somewhat about the fact that you are paying for the experience and not just the fancy sounding kaapi in these “hep” joints, but still that doesn’t justify the prices. I think for a majority of these business (coffee joints, pizza, so called “hep” places), the business model is for Indians are suckers for higher price = quality = ‘class’. So in my opinion they deliberately over price their stuff.
    @N totally agree with you on this one.
    Digressing a lil bit, I still can’t understand how these pizza parlors prices their pizzas at Rs.200-300+ and still get away with it. I mean its just ‘maida hittina dosa’ baked in an oven. Nothing, I mean nothing can justify the price. Trust me on this on this one, I have worked in a restaurant and baked pizzas myself and I know how that shit is made, ingredients n stuff :) This pizza scam has become so common and successful that it has set the base price of pizza in the Rs.200+ range in the whole market, which to me suggests some kind of a cartel there :)

  9. Try “Kalmane Koffee” – It has a very good strong filter coffee and offers a many Indian coffee variants at lesser cost than Coffee Day outlets. There’s an outlet at 4th Block Jayanagar (Next to Planet M) and one at Forum too…

  10. Thank you Mithra. I should have just called and asked you :) Will try this soon.

    VS, you got to learn to live with it. There is nothing like “justification”, as long as folks are willing to pay, it is a fair game.

    But your and N‘s point about phoren sounding stuff is a valid one. A chain like McDonald’s will not sell the same Indian fast food (Chaats, Bonda, Samosa etc) people are used to getting for less. So it has to be burger fries or pizza. Or else they can’t expect people to pay in 100s.

    some body, got it. BTW, since younger folks don’t seem to demand good old kaapi and garam chai, I guess we (urban India) too are headed in that over-personalized overly-complicated direction. One tip for Starbucks though. Ask for Tazo Tea/Chai. Its like the masala tea with sugar and cream done for you – no work needed once they hand it over to you.

  11. I always find it difficult to order coffee in one of these joints.. everything seems to have a “tag”. As Pranav mentions there is no normal coffee. Heres an extremely funny take on Starbucks by standup comedian Jackie Mason.. the same holds good for our own Coffee Days and Baristas..

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/Starbucks/jackie.cfm

  12. All filter coffee lovers, check this link… You can even smell it. :-)

    http://bellurramki18.wordpress.com/2006/08/14/how-to-brew-the-best-south-indian-filter-coffee/

  13. I had the same experience and then i actually asked the person , can I have the normal coffee coffee please. and he said yes and gave me a good one too and at a very expensive price of 20 plus. Just ask!

  14. a small diversion before i go on to my main comment. i grew up hearing stories of american hippies similar to airhostess stories that mohan heard and took to heart.

    the once or twice that i have entered a normal (i.e., not airport) starbucks, the customers have reminded me of the hippies that i had in mind’s eye. be that as it may, i doubt i will ever have tazo (or taza) ‘chai tea’.

    once, i did purchase a ‘chai tea’ can from a desi grocery store (just like necessity is the mother of invention, similarly laziness is the father of improvisation or so i thought), but the first taste was enough. the can still lies in our cupboard, sad and forlorn. maybe i should put it up on craigs list or ebay it for antique value :-).

    vijay:

    thanks for the link – soon, we might have fair trade programs to combat outsourcing.

    – s.b.

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