Coffee has become very popular in India during the last few years and has become the favourite drink of not only traditional drinkers but also the young consumer base. The youth of today are not averse to spending time at the various coffee houses which have sprung up at most of the nooks and corners of big and small cities.
Consumers in India are opting for ‘real’ coffee rather than going for the instant variant. It is unimaginable that not too long ago there are not many coffee shops around that are offering real espressos and cappuccinos but today, coffee has become a lifestyle element that urban citizen must have.
For a long time, coffee consumption has been deeply associated with South India. In North India, on the other hand, its stature has generally been that of an exotic drink, to be had once in a while. In fact, outlets under the India Coffee House, which was set up by the Coffee Board, have remained the most vivid representations of a coffee drinking culture for North Indians for years.
Trends have, however, changed drastically over the past decade, as coffee drinking has rapidly picked up among North Indians as well. This has largely been thanks to the emergence of coffee chains like Barista, Costa, Café Coffee Day and the recent entrant Starbucks, who have brought in swanky coffee bars, where people can explore a wide range of coffees as well as teas accompanied by food items. While coffee remains at the core of the product portfolio, these cafes have diversified further to include a range of hot and cold beverages and exotic cuisine on their menus.
Coffee bars have gradually become synonymous with calm and intellectual conversations. They are now preferred hangout zones for friends, family, colleagues, business associates, young couples and even people who want a quiet place to complete their work. Coffee bars have ushered in the experiential proposition to coffee drinking, with an ambience that’s inviting, invigorating as well as relaxing.
Coffee is prepared and consumed in a variety of ways. Following are some of the types of coffee beverages available in the coffee houses today.
- EspressoEspresso is traditionally pure coffee served without milk and most recipes revolve around single or double shots of Espresso. A perfectly brewed espresso will have a thick, golden-brown crema (foam) on the surface.
- CappuccinoThis hugely popular coffee drink has become a staple that even the most common of corner coffee shops carries (or at least a version of it). This coffee is one of the most preferred types of coffee for most coffee lovers. Prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed milk foam, Cappuccino is traditionally served in a porcelain cup and the thick layer of foam on the top helps to keep the coffee hot for a longer period of time.
- Caffe LatteCafe Latte has more milk than a cappuccino. This is made by mixing espresso and milk. It is one part espresso with at least three to five parts of steamed hot milk with a small amount of foam added at the top. This is a familiar blend of coffee available at most restaurants.
- Café MochaThis is a cappuccino or a caffe latte with chocolate syrup or powder added. There can be wide variations in exactly how this is prepared.
- Café au laitThis traditional French drink is similar to a caffe latte except that it is made with brewed coffee instead of espresso, in a 1:1 ratio with steamed milk. It is considered a weaker form of caffe latte.
- Flavoured coffeeThese are made to taste and more a local tradition. A great variety exists in different parts of the world. The flavour can be either a mix of syrups, spices (e.g. cinnamon), flavourings or nutmegs that are added to the coffee and give coffee a different taste.
- Cold CoffeeThis is a regular coffee served with ice, and sometimes milk and sugar.
- Instant Coffee or Soluble CoffeeThis is one of the most convenient methods to make coffee and hence is the most popular in most homes. The taste and aroma of instant coffee however, often gets compromised. The coffee is available in packets as granules or soluble powder.
- Indian Filter CoffeeIt is also known as South Indian Filter coffee. This coffee is made from fresh ground, dark-roasted coffee Arabica or Peaberry beans. It is left for a few hours to drip-brew in a traditional metal coffee filter. It is served with coffee to milk ratio of usually 3:1. The taste and the aroma of this coffee is an experience to remember.