Saturday, March 10, 2007
kaffee with me-coffee( by) day and coffee by night
this has nothing to do with the popular tv talk show,'kaffee with karan' . in fact, i don't think that has anything to do with coffee. this posting is all about coffee.
recently in kolkata while i was on my way to dum dum airport, i decided to have a cappucinno in the 'cafe coffee day' at ballygunge circular road.it was a very enjoyable experience. swanky setting,young crowd,amiable waiters and excellent coffee and snacks. the bill for a veg puff and a cup of cappucinno came to about rs 70/- only. even though it was about four in the afternoon,the (coffee?) bean counters were working quite feverishly!
'cafe coffee day' has a successful business model. its business spans the entire value chain of coffee consumption in the country. it has 'fresh n ground' division, coffee day 'kiosks', coffee day 'take away'(vending machines) and coffee day 'perfect'(fmcg packaged coffee). it has about 400 coffee bars spread across 70 cities and the plan is to double it in three years' time. it is critical for coffee day cafes to make money just in six months' time. else the cafe is closed down. it has cafes in vienna and has plans to set up cafes in eastern europe,egypt,south east asia,pakistan and the us.
'starbucks'.the world's largest coffee chain has set its eyes on india. its first store is likely to open in december this year. it plans to make this a model for its future expansion. it buys coffee seeds from indian growers too; though in their overall requirements this quantitiy is negligble.indian coffee is uniquely sweet and light and blended with other flavours it is extremely popular in europe. at the same time 'starbucks' is acutely aware that its chain is watering down the 'starbucks' brand by opening too many "sterile cookie cutters". cafes that lack a soul and genuineness. in the last ten years starbucks has expanded from 1000 stores to 13000 stores,an expansion which according to its ceo has come at a heavy cost. after having commoditised the brand,it now wants to get back to the old 'starbucks' experience.
'lavazza',the italian king of expresso,is all set to jump-start our memory,first thing in the morning. it is likely to take over 'barista'. 'barista' has a strong brand equity but had a tough time fighting 'cafe coffee day'. tata coffee has also jumped into the profitable coffee business.it is putting up a plant in uganda,and also it plans to push its coffee into china.the rising income levels in india and china has resulted in an increase in coffee consumption among the youth even in traditionally strong tea markets. "mr bean junction",the tata coffee retail outlet in kochi is the first one and many more are in the offing.
the largest coffee producing country in the world is brazil.the demand is outstripping the supply and a big deficit is expected.prices therefore will go up further. our coffee board is busy with plans to rejuvenate thousands of hectares of coffee plantations and improving yield in and around chickmagalur in karnataka,the bastion of indian coffee. bababudan,a sufi saint,was the first person to have brought seven coffee seeds from yemen some 336 years ago. he settled down in dattatreya peetha village and raised coffee seedlings. in his 'darga', pooja is conducted and prasadam distributed in traditional hindu style! and the spread of coffee now is far and wide. coffee also is very secular.
sunalini menon is the first woman coffeetaster and coffeesmeller in india.she tastes about 100 cups every day at her coffeelab in bangalore.she coordinated a workshop last month in the india international coffee festival 2007 at bangalore.delegates were taught how to cook with coffee.not just the dessert but in the main course and salads, coffee was an ingredient. and for the coffee buffs how to prepare a cup of espresso and cappucinno were shown by faina moreno of 'trieste's' 'universita del caffe'. coffee growers were explained by her and her colleagues as to how beans are to be cultivated to provide a quality cup of coffee. 'illycaffe',the world leader in espresso will be setting up a branch of its coffee university in bangalore jointly with coffee labs.it will teach students the finer aspects of harvesting,curing,processing and packaging coffee.six million cups of 'illycafe's' expresso coffee are consumed every day across 144 countires worldwide.'illycafe' is one of the biggest buyers of indian coffee.while probat werke from emmerich,deutschland,explained to the delegates the art and science of roasting and grinding, the italian company 'susegana' showed the cafe owners how coffee brewing machines should be maintained(in portugese susegad means relaxing!) .not to be outdone, our own(nammavaru) dr basavraj,quality director of coffee board, showed the delegates how 'amma' prepared the south indian filter coffee.
poab estates in kerala has bagged the equivalent of the nobel prize in the world of coffee cultivation. the "speciality coffee association of america" sustainability award. speciality coffee of a unique and consistent quality. after buying an abandoned farm of 1500 acres in palghat,kerala,the jacob family converted it into a beautiful estate of organic coffee cultivation. they now grow and export 300 tonnes of organic coffee every year with a workforce of 500 men and women. it is in a very unique and a socially-committed way that they run their estate.
in the old days my mom used to roast the beans and grind them herself. i remember how our flat would get full-up with smoke emanating from the kitchen when coffee was being roasted to the required degree of blackness. and then when it was ground to fine powder in a compact contraption,the aroma that filled the room was awesome.
"let no man grumble when his friends fall off ;as they will do like leaves at the first breeze; when your affairs come round,one way or the other,go to the coffee-house and take another". those were byron's famous lines. coffee is your best friend.
coffee in india has come a long way since the time of sufi saint bababudan. and with it a way of life . as supertaster and supersmeller sunalini would say, coffee is a way of life which is aromatic,rewarding,meaningful and passionate.
come have kaffee with me.