Coffee Culture in India

written by Lori Thiessen

Now perhaps I’m just revealing my provincial outlook, but when I think of India I don’t associate it with huge coffee consumption. Tea? Yes. Coffee? No.

But my views are expanding by leaps and bounds from several different sources. I was reading Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, and the story mentions that a weekly treat for the young people in the fictional town of Brahmpur is to go to the Imperial Book Depot and then go for coffee afterwards. Also, I was talking with a friend of mine and he was saying that coffee is quite popular in India. After googling “coffee culture india”, the search engine spat back a BBC article and blog about how coffee culture is taking India by storm.

According to “India’s Coffee Bar Revolution”, BBC News coffee has become the rage among young, upwardly mobile Indians who associate coffee with a more worldly, sophisticated life.

Jinal Shah’s blog Constant Beta featured an article on how Bombay had been bombed by coffee chains, not Starbucks (yet) but a bunch of homegrown chains wanting to cash in on this new fad of Indian youth. Yet after writing a small critique of each of the chains, she goes on to say that India has no coffee culture. Ms. Shah dismisses the coffee craze as nothing more than a passing fancy.

But if Indian youth have seen that drinking coffee is part of being cosmopolitan and joining the global community who are in the grips of the coffee madness, then it seems to me that the fad will likely turn into an institution. However, only time will tell.

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!

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5 responses to “Coffee Culture in India

  1. drinkingoutofmyhand

    I just read Kenneth Davids’s “Coffee” and was surprised to learn about India’s “Moonsooned Malabar”, a coffee left for a few months in open-air warehouses during monsoon season. Now I totally want to try a cup.

    But yes, I never thought of India as part of coffee culture either, and now I’m curious to know more.

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for the comment. Interesting type of coffee it perks my interest too.

  3. i think coffee culture is certainly nowhere close to way it is popular in the west, that too for obvious reasons, India is a hot country. We get almost 6-7 months of extreme hot climate in major part of the country. You are absolutely right, at the moment it is quite a metropolitan phenomenon. Tea is much more popular in the non-metros & smaller towns but over the last 2 years, coffee culture has started catching up fast due to opening up of many cafe chains like cafe coffee day & Barista in the country.

  4. It’s pleasing to know that there are thinkers in my country keeping the great culture alive. Even I’m a published Hindi poet. To catch a glimpse of my work, visit- http://souravroy.com/poems/

    Keep Walking…

  5. Prashant Apte

    hi,
    I’m a student of M.phil in Puna university and right now i’m doing my M.phil dissertation on urban culture in context of India and in that I’m looking towards the cafe coffee day and barista as a dominant model of modern capitalism and compare it with the ordinary coffee shops on the corner of the street. In india we observe that the symbolic model or forms of status like cafe coffee day and barista beome so popular but on the other hand the ordinary coffee shops are also as popular like ccd. people might use these public spaces for their business meetings, youth use for their time pass, sometimes for dating to their grlfriends some of them might be came for relaxing but it doesn’t mean that all these things never happen on the place of the ordinary coffee shops or in Indian language on ‘thela’. Actually in todays condition both these forms of culture become a major part of our daily or everyday life course. so its a good topic to work as a researcher.

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