Coffee Experiement with Blue Tokai Roasters

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Empty mind is a devil’s workshop. In my case just not so devilish after all.

December & January are typically light months at work. The empty mind and free time made me dig out the ignored Coffee Machine.

This was a very old purchase during my stay in Nairobi. Once back in India it was packed off to the storage. I even made an attempt to sell it on OLX. Like everything else, this too didn’t sell or even get a query.

Next step was to find some good coffee which would work with the machine type. I had never purchased any powder after my return to India. Quick check online and after a few recommendations from the Tweeps, I decided on Blue Tokai.


Their Grind Guide is helpful if you are a newbie to Coffee Experiments like me. They roast their coffee twice a week – Sundays & Wednesday. Depending on when you order, they ship out your order within 24 hours after the roasting. Delivery was on time and well packed. Break the pouch seal and there is a lovely aroma of the fresh grind. You have to make your first cup right away.

Since I had no clue what to order, I decided to go for the Roast Level Sampler Pack. After reading a few Coffee Experts online, it was necessary to understand which Roast Level, you enjoy for you coffee. I have picked the Dark Roast as my favourite, Light Roast is just too weak and doesn’t help. I also experimented the coffee with milk and Everyday Milk Powder. Sometimes the milk can give a terrible stink, so I am taking it with the Milk Powder whenever possible. A small pinch of brown sugar makes it nice too.

What’s next? The challenge of picking a good flavour. I think I am going to order the Bynemara Estate – Caramel, Nuts, Cocoa.

Are you enjoying some coffee, please do share – would love to try some new roasters in the city.

Starbucks Coffee coming to India. Soon!

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Late last night, I picked up the news from my twitter timeline. And before I could confirm the bit on a news portal, it was more fun to check out the official twitter handle – Starbucks_India and the hashtag conversations – starbucksisfinaallyinindia

It’s really interesting how this superb brand has once again used the social media channel and informed the brand lovers and news channels about their launch plans for India. Because none of the newspapers this morning carried the story, probably means there was no official press conference to announce the launch. And they’ve already started a consumer engagement initiative even before they open the doors to their 1st cafe in India.

But with a launch plan of September only, will they be able to keep up the buzz online, I think there will be some more learning from this brand.

For those wanting to know when – my twitter timeline tells me that it’s expected only around September this year. Which city? Well, your guess is as good as mine. But fans on twitter are putting their bets on Mumbai. And I think it could be Mumbai / Delhi or surprise winner could be Bangalore. If you’re interested start following their twitter timeline and keep up with the buzz.

With Starbucks, which is the most awaited chain of coffee shops coming to India, I am sure there will be such a mad rush that they might just be the first coffee shop to take reservations.

I think all this while one of the primary reasons for their delayed entry into this Asian country has been the prohibitive property costs. And whether the Indian consumer was willing to splurge on such high-end expensive coffee experiences. But I suppose with the success of Costa Coffee and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf we’ve have seen a positive attitude to enjoy high priced coffees. And now soon, we shall have one more to enjoy.

So, how much are you willing to pay for a Starbucks cup of coffee in India?

A little caffeinated opinion

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This post is more like a comment to poor_planner’s Caffeinexperience. It turned out so long that I decided to post it here.

Together they sum up as a ‘great coffee experience.’ What more can they offer? When everybody starts offering the same ‘great coffee experience,’ will price become a deciding factor. Or will chains re-arrange themselves as premium and value chains.

Yes, although price would become a major deciding factor I think like all other services around us it will be the experience that will count. We humans tend to get ourselves adjusted to certain likes and dislikes. For example my wife always prefers a CCD to a Barista if given an option. Also my ex-colleagues at Think WhyNot would always prefer the next door CCD. For them there was a reason – it was easily accessible, the price was not too steep and besides we were regulars there so the waiters knew us pretty well which guaranteed a prompt and sometimes extra service. The way I see it there will be certain deciding factors:

  1. Service levels: How efficient is the team around the place? Can they make you comfortable in the rush hours too? Are the waiters pushy, wanting you to clear the table for the next guest? Besides let’s not forget that if you’re going to pay 30 bucks for a cup of coffee you surely want service level beyond what you would get at a Udippi restaurant or irani cafe.
  2. Innovation: How often does the chain bring about a change in their offerings? Are there seasonal specials? And all this at the cost making sure that regular favourites remain on the menu.
  3. Value-adds: What more are you offering than just coffee? CCD gives you a juke box, a plasma television and even mobile chargers. Barista offers wireless Internet. These could be sticky points for a regular set of clients walking in for those kind of services.

That’s a caffeinated opinion from me on this late Monday night ….