World Famous Indian Masala Chai recipe

Masala chai


Let’s talk about India's most famous Masala Chai. Known for its great taste and high anti-inflammatory properties, Masala tea, which is also known as 'spiced tea’, has been there from generation to generation as a treasured tradition.

Masala tea has evolved into many variations with nearly every household. Savoured by millions in India, masala tea is sold across the country by chai wallahs and tea vendors, who pour the tea like a pro from big teakettles into small cups.

Masala Chai Recipe

Generally, in India, masala tea is prepared with black tea. Traditionally, it is made with multiple spices. With a plethora of spices like clove, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and peppercorns, Masala tea is your instant pick me up.

Though you can find multiple tea blends in the supermarkets, making your own cup of masala chai is easy and more satisfying. So here's the DIY step:

  • Take 2-3 pieces of each of the following: Green cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and fennel seeds.
  • You can either crush them coarsely or grind them together in a blender and keep it aside.
  • Pour milk in a heavy pan (with handle). While you stir the milk occasionally, put sugar, ground spice mixture, crushed or grated ginger, and black tea leaves
  • On low heat, let the tea boil for 3 minutes so as to infuse all the flavours.
  • Now serve the hot masala chai in a cup or "cutting chai" glass or kulhad and enjoy.

Winters & Tea: An Eternal Love Affair

Many people across the globe like to wake up to a freshly brewed hot cup of tea. This ritual becomes all the more vital on cold winter mornings when tea becomes a source of warmth and comfort to beat the chill, especially in India where the majority cannot imagine a winter morning without a cup of #MyChai.

So what makes this relationship between tea and winters eternal? There's something more than just the hot brew

 

Healthy & hearty mornings!

Tea is a great way to add to your healthy lifestyle. In winters, when your body is vulnerable to flu and cold, this wonderful brew provides the much-needed warmth

A drink full of warmth, love & energy

Snuggled in a blanket when it often becomes hard to step out of bed, your steaming cup of tea can prove to be an effective stimulant to charge you up for the day ahead. A morning brew gets you started whereas a late afternoon cup can give you a dash of energy and mental alertness to continue for a few more hours

Adding different flavors from your kitchen like some ginger or a few cardamoms can make a regular cup of tea really special. Traditionally, ginger has been used to support overall digestive health. Indeed, the aroma of tea helps in looking forward to the day

Spice it up and see the magic

Add a dash of spice to your cup of tea and it can be helpful to you. Try black tea with peppermint or lemongrass to experience one of its most flavorsome and effective forms.. Try Jaggery Tea and you will be surprised by its wonderful taste.

So, the winters are here and so is the tea. What are we waiting for?


Pour a rainbow from a teapot—

drink of happiness and love

warmth, calmness, and peace

breathe in the curling steam of dreams.

~Terri Guillemets

Hot brew

Indian Tea: A Chronicle from Past

In India, tea isn’t only a hot drink made with water and leaves; it is an integral part of the rhythm of life, a consistent and unifying presence in an incredibly diverse country. Whether served in a plastic cup, earthenware clay pot, or a silver-plated kettle, every cup of Indian tea is a result of a unique style of brewing and spicing the beverage.

Tea is called chai in Hindi, and draws its origin from the word ‘cha,’ meaning tea in Chinese. The story of tea in India is a long one. Folklore speaks of Prince Bodhidharma, who traveled from India to China in 475 AD to spread Buddhism. The prince committed not to sleep during his mission but was soon overcome by exhaustion. Furious at his weakness, he plucked a few leaves of a tea shrub and ate them. His mind suddenly cleared and focused; he resumed his meditation.

Tea began its modern saga in the early 18th century when the British Raj started to set up tea plantations in India, primarily for its export. An aggressive campaign by the India Tea Company promoted the provision of ‘tea breaks’ for workers in an attempt to increase domestic tea sales.

With the increase in overall tea sales came an increase in the addition of spices to the mix by chai-walas (tea vendors), who diluted the tea to keep costs down. Despite the disapproval of the Indian Tea Company, masala chai quickly became the preferred beverage.

5 Amazing Facts about Tea We Bet You Didn’t Know

As the chilly winters creep in, one would want nothing more than to curl up in a blanket sipping a hot cup of tea. During a hectic day at work or for some quiet contemplation, tea is the only comfort beverage you’ll ever need. Our beloved tea is much more than just a drink; read on to discover five amazing facts that only a true tea aficionado would know!

  • It’s no secret that early morning tea cravings are a reality. Ever wondered what’s the reason behind this? Well, tea contains caffeine which is responsible for an increased level of alertness making you crave a cup of tea to kickstart your day.
  • Believe us when we say that tea can be your best companion during those exhausting all-nighters. You know now that caffeine is responsible for the sudden energy kick but there’s more. Tea is enriched with antioxidants which apart from being healthy also help prevent the much dreaded ‘caffeine crash’. Where there’s tea, there’s hope!
  • Our indigenous ‘Darjeeling tea’ is world-famous for its flavor and referred to as the ‘Champagne of teas.’ Wonder why? Well, it is highly valued because it is grown only in Darjeeling and that too within an area that’s less than 70 square miles large! This makes it a novelty among tea fanatics the world over.
  • Tea comes second only to water in terms of worldwide consumption and it was the most important reason for bridging the East-West divide. Tea has been a boon to the shipping industry as traders in earlier times worked to develop better and faster ships to transport as much tea as possible to the west.
  • While most of us might believe that slurping your tea is too tacky, there’s good reason to do so. It is believed that slurping increases the amount of oxygen in the tea, improving its flavor and allowing greater contact with your taste buds. So slurp away without shame!

After knowing these wonderful facts, we’re sure your love for tea grew a little more. So go on brew yourself a cup and let its taste take you on an imaginary voyage!

Categories Tea

Making the Most of a Tea Estate Visit

The Indian tea estates attract the lovers of tea and nature alike, and so, the opportunity to visit one, always promises to be memorable. There are thousands of tea estates employing millions of tea workers across the tea-producing regions in the country – Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Munnar, Sikkim, Kangra, Dooars Terai, and many more.

Here we are to help you out with a few tips to let you make the most of your visit to a tea estate:

  • Be prepared to ask questions
    The guides are usually from the estates and are happy to answer questions about the production process which is fascinating in itself. They also have a good knowledge to share about the rich and varied history of the estates. So be prepared with your queries.
  • Ensure accessibility
    Most estates are located away from urban centers, making accessibility a concern. Travel by road and rail should be planned well in advance. Once you are in the estates, you may attempt walking for few kilometers for a feel of adventure.
  • Be sure to time the visit carefully
    If you’re looking to take home photographs of the tea-pluckers at work, remember that there are several breaks during the day as well as the year. So visits during breaks, holidays, and dormant season should be avoided.

NATIONAL BARISTA CHAMPIONSHIP 2016

First prelims of the Coffee Board’s prestigious annual competition, the National Barista Championship 2016, is being held at the Delhi Institute of Hotel Management in New Delhi today.

The Coffee Board of India took up the initiative of organizing the National Barista Championship from the year 2014 onwards, and this is the 3rd year of competition. This competition is framed to identify the technically skilled and best Baristas in this profession. The game mainly focuses on promoting excellence in the coffee value chain, strengthen and encourage skill development, and also to encourage café culture in India.

Dr. Aarti Dewan Gupta, Director of Finance, Coffee Board, while inaugurating the NBC event, said that the coffee industry in India has evolved over the last decade with café culture penetrating our urban lifestyles. The Indian consumer has also become discerning; thus, the role of a barista assumes greater importance. Coffee Board of India is committed to bringing in professionalism and expertise in this field.

Dr. K Basavaraj, Head, Coffee Quality, Coffee Board, while welcoming the participants, elaborated the way of conducting of the competition and said that the game is being held in three stages – the First prelim at New Delhi, the Second prelim at Bangalore and the Finals at Mumbai coinciding with the India International Festival 2016. He further said that there would be a total of seven categories to be won by the contestants. They are Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Best Signature Drink, Best Latte Art, and Best Communication skills. The competition was conducted as per the World Barista Championship rules and regulations. The winner will represent India in the World Barista Championship at Dublin, Ireland, in June 2016.

There is an overwhelming response from the industry, and as many as 17 participants registered for the First prelims of the NBC championship being held here in New Delhi.

Bihari flavors at The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe

The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe is the much loved, cozy cafe in ShahpurJat or as I like to call it, The Other Village. Homely wooden furniture, yellow brick wall counters, textured walls, and nostalgic print chairs and couches with glass top tables. The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe is one of a kind place in Delhi serving Bihari cuisine. They have also opened an outlet in Bihar Niwas,  Chanakyapuri. This outlet of Potbelly was incidentally even visited by Mr. Richard Rahul Verma, American Ambassador to India on his quest to discover Indian cuisines with Rocky and Mayur. The rooftop is lined with a kind of traditional mat with painted bamboos and gorgeously up-cycled lamps. The cutlery holders I just couldn’t get enough of – elephant doodles getting high on wine.

We started with some refreshing drinks. Sattu salty and spicy cooler, one of Bihar’s old-time favorites, this was a very refreshing and unprecedented summer drink.

They have a brilliant variety of flavored iced teas apart from the regular peach and lemon+mint ones. We tried their apple and cinnamon, mixed fruit and nettle, and lemongrass. All the flavors were so, so refreshing. The nettle and lemongrass one took a lot of time to come through, but when it did, it was totally worth the wait.

For starters, we tried one of their house specials – Baggia basket – rice flour stuffed with masala wali chana dal. The puffs were exceptional, very subtle flavors, and went well with the extremely fresh coriander chutney and tomato chokha.

Meat pakora basket – crispy chicken and minced mutton pakoras with the freshest coriander and mint chutney. The meat was to a delish tenderness and succulent perfection.

Dhamaaka Maggie – Spicy, soupy with a garlic tinge and cheese.

Golmirch Chicken platter – chicken curry, laccha parantha, sabutdana vada, brinjal condiments, and fresh, crunchy salad. The chicken was decent, crushed whole black pepper in a creamy, yogurt laced gravy, the chicken pieces could have been a little juicier. The brinjal concoction was surprisingly very interesting and the laccha parantha was done to perfection. I am a big fan of sabundana vada at home and this one felt slightly overdone.

Champaran style mutton platter – shredded mutton curry, boondi ka raita, salad, and moong dal rotis. This was one of the best platters I have had. The mutton was so luscious and tender in a pepper, thick spicy gravy. The boondi raita complimented the heat of the mutton very well.

Enjoy the homely subtle flavors and do not miss on the Champaran style Mutton and baggia basket.

Seven beans across the Seven seas – Seven Beans Coffee Company, Bangalore

How can many Indian coffee startups boast of an international partner from day one? In April 2015, Seven Beans Coffee Company, headquartered in Bangalore and with coffee farms in Chikmagalur, marked its entry into the Indian coffee market by launching its unique portfolio of coffee products that have been developed in partnership with Dr. Dante Cagliari and Maria Gabriella Cagliari of Caffè L’Antico, a leading coffee roasting business based in Modena, Italy.

Further, leveraging the partnership, this startup has also transcended geographical barriers by selling its products in various countries across the European Union. Seven beans, with a long history of coffee farming, has moved up the value chain by adopting a distinct strategy to mark its presence globally.

The business is currently managed by Abhijit and Advith Shetty, who hail from a distinguished family of coffee planters. The brothers, during their stints abroad to pursue their formal education, recognized the growing demand for exquisite coffee in the United States and various countries in the European Union. With the desire to grab a slice of the pie (and also grow the pie!!), the duo explored various secondary sources of information and met leading representatives of the Indian and global coffee industry. Their belief in the growing market for coffee was confirmed in 2012 when leading multinational coffee chains set up base in India. However, along with creating and consolidating Indian markets for excellent coffee, the brothers were determined to create a global coffee brand based on the unique characteristics of well-grown Indian coffee. The inherent need for expertise in global coffees led the Shettys to scout for a globally respected roastmaster, resulting in the partnership with L’Antico and Dr. Cagliari. The association has moved beyond just developing blends to a relationship that spans across equipment selection, bean evaluation, product portfolio development, marketing, and business development.

Seven beans’ production facility at Chikmagalur houses a technologically advanced, automated roasting machine which ensures consistently high-quality roasting outcomes. The integrated pneumatic setup enables pre-blending, and the business is commercially offering seven distinct blends. Based on the combinations created by Dr. Dante, the products are currently being sold in India through various channels, including premium food retail chains and online sites. Towards further expanding its presence in international markets and the Indian B2B segment, Seven Beans is in talks with leading cafes, distributors, and retailers. The business’s advantage lies in its ability to blend unique products that are on par with some of the leading global brands. Seven Beans intends to make its mark in the single-serve market, too, by launching capsules that are also produced in the Chikmagalur facility.

The brothers’ current focus is on acquiring new clients, creating more blends, and initiating steps to remain a leading premium coffee brand. Any visitor to a retail outlet that sells premium coffee is bound to take a second look at Seven Beans coffee due to the markedly extraordinary pack design that reflects a blend of the modern and traditional. The Seven Beans logo that includes an Italian mansion, snowcapped peaks, spokes, coffee beans, and delicate artwork nestles perfectly within the pack design that reflects grandeur and poise.

In a short period of time, Seven Beans Coffee Company has demonstrated the entrepreneurial drive and competence which has enabled it to extend its horizon beyond Indian shores. However, the brothers are aware of the challenges in achieving good volumes of pure coffee in India as well as the perceptions of pure Indian coffee blends in international markets. The business has identified premium Indian consumer segments which value quality and, for international consumers, has developed blends containing Indian and international coffees (with the production being undertaken in Modena). The channelizing of energies into product and market development is expected to lead to the sustained growth of the business. While Babu Budan’s seven beans have triggered the development of a robust and growing coffee industry in India, it is hoped that Seven Beans Coffee Company would unravel feasible strategies for Indian coffee startups to make rapid inroads into global coffee markets, and validate the approach of serving niche segments that recognize the goodness of Indian coffee.

Beekeeping increases yield of Robusta coffee

Robusta coffee

 

About one-third of plant products including Robusta coffee, consumed by human beings are directly or indirectly dependent on bee pollination. The great value of bees as pollinators of coffee plants has been known for many years, but unfortunately, this knowledge is not widely applied in increasing production.

Yield issues are normally addressed by measures of soil fertility, agrochemicals, management of pests/diseases, and better field management practices. The scientific literature supporting the benefits of bee pollination for coffee is convincing. It may increase the yield of Robusta coffee up to 83% as per the data published by the Central Bee Research & Training Institute, Pune.

The majority of coffee species are diploid and self infertile and therefore have to be cross-pollinated by wind and insects for better yield whereas C.arabica is tetraploid, self-fertile and at times cleistogamous, so relies less on cross-pollination but it is observed that bee pollination, in general, enhances quantity and quality of yield. In many parts of the North Eastern Region, Robusta coffee variety is recommended due to climatic compulsions of low elevation and high temperature.

Managed pollinators, e.g. honeybees in the Coffee plantations in this region may be a change agent on increasing yield and produce honey as an additional income generating source for the upcoming tribal farmers. This is proved by one of the tribal coffee grower Sri W.D.Shira in Rongbilbangre village of West Garo Hills, Meghalaya through his practical experience without any scientific background knowledge as such.

History of Robusta coffee in India

Sri W. D.Shira, retired army personnel returned to his native village Rongbillbangre, which is about 16km from Tura town, with a vision of doing something which will be model for his poor villagers for development. He started plantation activity with Areca and Cashew nuts initially and later switched over to coffee plantation during 1997-98. Under the shade of Areca plantation, he planted both Arabica & Robusta varieties of coffee in 1.0 hectares of land.

The Coffee Board had also extended technical guidance and financial assistance to him. In due course of time, during 2003-04 he further extended this coffee area by adding another 1.5 hectares, planted with CXR variety, under the shade of various horticultural plants viz. Orange, Jackfruit, Pineapple, Citrus, Mango, Guava, etc. Presently he is holding 8.0 hectares of Robusta coffee area, of which 06.0hectare is in the bearing stage. Next to his plot 2.0-hectare area of coffee has been created by his wife which has a 1.0-hectare bearing area.

Robusta coffee beans

Last year, he attended a training program on beekeeping, arranged by one NGO, and acquired knowledge and started his apiary activity with ten bee boxes inside the coffee plantation. Mr Shira assembled the boxes by himself and Apisceranaindica, the bee species available locally was introduced. Observing the initial success, he is now planning to increase the number of bee boxes.

Wild bees or other pollinating insects were common in the coffee plantations raised by Mr Shira, due to the proximity to forest patches but there was a problem of uncertainty, resulting in delayed and less fruiting in earlier years and also leading to harvesting problems due to asynchronous ripening of berries thus affecting quality.

The present experience points out that the coffee plants in the beekeeping areas bloom together because of frequent visits of bees. The fruiting is more as bees are better pollinating agents. Unlike earlier years when unripe berries had to be discarded or used as inferior coffee, and required post-harvest sorting at extra labour cost, the planter is surprised to experience the harvesting of ripe berries at the same time.

The Robusta coffee planters in these areas never use any chemical fertilizer because of government restrictions as well as non-availability. As the soil of this plantation is in the earlier jhumarea, the fertility status is low, so the yield was comparatively less, but the present yield increased by about 50% which has surprised the grower. Inspired by the result, he intends to take up this effort of beekeeping inside coffee plantation vigorously so that the other coffee growers of the nearby areas can emulate him.

Thus beekeeping in coffee plantation improves yields in quantity and quality and may improve synchronicity and uniformity of fruit-set, reducing harvesting and sorting cost. This effort initiated by a small tribal farmer allows us to develop an integrated system of pollinator management by beekeeping to enhance coffee production in the NE Region through better, more synchronous pollination. This is also an effective step towards the production of organic Robusta coffee. This approach may indirectly influence in enhancing the production of other crops and honey.

Wooing India’s Taste Buds

Cafe Chains Enchanting India!

Coffee was synonymous with the south Indian ‘davara kaapi’ till the early ’90s. Few were aware of anything more than the south Indian filter coffee or instant coffee, till the cafe revolution took it by storm, today the country has cultivated a taste for every kind of coffee be it cappuccino or espresso or a latte, thanks to the homegrown pioneers that ushered in the revolution – Barista and Cafe Coffee Day.

The Cafe Chains could not have chosen a better time to have launched the cafes in India. The opening up of the economy nurtured entrepreneurship; IT Industry had taken a firm root in the country propelling the economy forward, disposable incomes were increasing and the quintessential ‘INDIAN’ was ready to indulge. Taking root in the Silicon city of India, the Cafe culture has now gradually permeated into the staunchest tea-drinking population of the north and the growing economy of the country only contributed to boosting the cafe business.

It is believed that “the robust growth of coffee consumption at 6%, way over the global average has beckoned both the Indian and the international chains to invest and take a risk with India.” Today, the organized café market in India is at $ 300 million and is likely to reach $1.1 billion, with a phenomenal growth percentage rate of 20% according to a report by consultancy firm Technopak Advisors.

The Indian populace is not only cost-conscious but also quirky and widely different from their international counterparts. For Indians hanging out in a cafe is more a lifestyle statement and choice rather than a habit. Today, the Cafe business in India is studded with homegrown and international cafes chains alike each adopting a different approach, varied target group, and multi-layered positioning to capture the market share and have a larger share in the pie.

Home Grown Brands

Cafe Coffee Day– the cafe retail venture of the Amalgamated Coffee Bean Co. Ltd. is by far the leader in the pack. True to the byline of the cafe – ‘A lot can happen over a cup of coffee’, a lot has happened since the brand started its first cafe in 1996 on Brigade Road in Bangalore. CCD which could arguably be stated as the Cafe that brought in the ‘Coffee cup totting culture’ to India now has about 1500 cafes in the country in Square and Lounge formats and expansion is definitely the agenda for the cafe chain.

CCD leveraged the first-mover advantage and has steadily expanded occupying strategic prime locations across the country. The growth never phased down, it rather increased its expansion by seeking investments from PE firms KKR and Co. LP, New Silk Route Partners LLC, and Standard Chartered Private Equity in 2010 who now have acquired a combined stake of over 30%.

The strategy of backward integration in terms of owning large coffee plantations and a furniture company to cater to the cafes’ decor is another added advantage. Though the company has not made any statements, reports in the market state that the company is gearing itself for an IPO listing. Mr. Ankur Bisen, Vice President, Technopak Advisors opines that the idea of an IPO may have been long brewing within the company while the current bullish market may have prompted it into action.

It would be difficult to unseat this homegrown leader from its top position for it has made a clear head start with numbers and location and it has wedged itself in the Indian psyche as many a youngster grew up with the variety that CCD offered.

Barista Lavazza – India’s second-largest cafe chain in terms of numbers, Barista a pioneer in the sector failed to take advantage of its early entry into the sector. The company quickly changed hands with different management and operational strategy within the first decade since it started in 2000. Initially funded by Turner-Morrison under the leadership of Ravi Deol, it was taken over by Tata Group for a brief period until Mr. C Sivasankaran’s Sterling Infotech Group acquired the company. In 2007, Italy’s favorite coffee brand Lavazza acquired all the businesses of Barista to make an entry into India.

Since then Lavazza Barista has taken efforts to consolidate the business and grow it. Today the group has about 163 cafes along with a very profitable coffee vending machine business under the banner Fresh and Honest. However, reports in the market indicate that the group is looking at divesting its interest in the cafe business while retaining the Fresh and Honest Brand.

International Entrants

Costa Coffee – A UK based chain, entered India through the franchise model with Devyani International, a part of RJ Corporation. The first of the cafes were opened in 2005 and after a slow cautious expansion, the chain has in the past couple of years expanded rapidly and now has about 100 cafes in the country. Reports indicate that Costa may end its exclusive franchise model with Devyani International and explore other partners.

Tata Starbucks – One of the largest Cafe chains in the World, one that is known to have made the morning coffee drinking regimen a religion for many Americans established its first store in 2013 and has expanded to about 45 stores in a short span of time.

Though a little late, Starbucks is entering India with a formidable partner, it has tied up with Tata Group, the largest integrated coffee company with a 50:50 partnership. Like Cafe Coffee Day, this formidable combination with Tata brings in the advantage of backend integration with Tata-owned coffee plantation and real estate.

Starbucks is known for rapidly adjusting its strategy to suit the local tastes as it demonstrated in China. Though it has a large international menu consistent with its other chains across the world, it has tweaked its menu to include paneer and kebab items to entice Indian palate.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – A large privately held coffee and tea cafe chain based out of California – Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf entered the Indian Market in 2008 with Pan India Solutions a leading player in the organised restaurant and retail business. Pan India is known to run other popular chains across the country including Bombay Blue, Gelato Italiano, and Copper Chimney.

The chain has over 25 cafe outlets and functions both as company-operated outlets as well as a franchise model. The philosophy of the chain is to offer high-quality coffee to the Indian population and is poised to expand its presence across the country with an addition of ___ cafes.

Gloria Jean’s – Functioning through a franchise model, Australia’s premium cafe chain which has a presence in over 37 countries opened its cafes in India in 2008 with the Indian Partner Citymax Hospitality of Landmark Group. While the cafe chain expanded to 30 outlets, today it has reduced it to 23 across the country. Mr. Pankaj K. Neeraj, Head of Operations says that the group is attempting to relook at its operational strategy to increase profitability and consolidate the business.

Dunkin Donuts – Considered a rival of the coffee behemoth Starbucks in the USA, with enviable coffee sales of its own, Dunkin Donuts entered India ahead of its competitor. It entered India through a Master Franchise arrangement with Jubilant Foodworks, the company responsible for bringing Domino’s Pizza to India. Unlike in the US, the Indian management is focusing more on food rather than coffee and is aiming to offer the affordable eating option for the consumers.

Other formats

Food generates the major chunk of the revenues, while coffee has a prominent place in the menu and acts as a supplement to food in this format of cafes. Consumers in such cafes look at coffee only as an accompaniment to food. International chains Subway, Krispy Kreme McDonald’s and Au Bon Pain operate within this format while still aiming at the same consumer base. To suit the Indian taste, filter coffee has been made a part of the Krispy Kreme Menu which is very popular among consumers” – Mr. Pankaj K. Neeraj, Head of Operations, Citymax Hospitality of Landmark Group

Java Green, a Reliance venture operates in a unique format. It is located in Reliance World catering to its broadband and cellular customers; however, the chain is slowly expanding as stand-alone locations outside Reliance World.

Challenges

While the country and especially the youth population is ‘gung ho’ about the cafes sprouting across the country; the sector is not without challenges.

Indians still look at cafes as a place to hang out, unlike the west where ‘coffee on the go’ and must have morning ‘coffee fix’ is the trend. The premium ambiance and the time spent in the cafe become as important as the food and beverage offerings. It becomes that much more challenging for the cafe chains to offer a premium experience with high-quality coffee without consistent sales volume and profits.

Trained and skilled manpower is a key component of the cafe business. In India, Barista as a profession is still not actively pursued. Most of the cafe chains follow the format of hire and train recruits to suit the required skill sets or poach trained manpower from other chains. With the emergence of a large number of cafes, the demand for a skilled workforce has increased ten-fold. Cafe Coffee Day seems to have found a solution with an in house training facility to man its stores though it is plagued by high levels of attrition.

Strategic premium locations are vital to successful cafes that come at an exorbitant price buoyed by the shooting real estate rates and such catchment areas have the presence of similar cafe chains adding to the woes of cafe chains.

Despite the challenges, the sector is poised to grow at a healthy rate of 10%, with an addition of approximately 2000 cafe outlets within a span of 5 years according to a recent report by Technopak. There is an increase in the number of cafe chains from different countries desiring a share in the pie of the cafe business including Di Bella and Testa Rossa. Demonstrating that India today indeed has the space for more number of cafes as the Indian taste buds are asking for more!