News / Asia

    India Coffee Culture Brewing as Tea Holds Ground

    A local tea vendor makes coffee at his shop in Mumbai, India. Starbucks will open its first outlet in India by September through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages.
    A local tea vendor makes coffee at his shop in Mumbai, India. Starbucks will open its first outlet in India by September through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages.

    India is traditionally a tea-drinking country.  But it is now acquiring a taste for coffee, prompting global coffee chains to eye the huge market.  And local entrepreneurs are also hoping to cash in on the country’s tea-drinking habits by opening new outlets to promote the beverage.

    It is just 10:30 in the morning, but two cafés located within meters of each other, opposite a college in New Delhi, are doing brisk business.  Their main customers - undergraduate students.

    In the past decade, India’s huge young population has quickly embraced a coffee culture as cafés become the hip and convenient place to spend time.

    The result - coffee chains have expanded fast and furiously, fanning out from big metros like New Delhi and Mumbai to small towns and highways.

    Coffee consumption has doubled in the last 10 years.

    It is the promise of this market that is luring chains like American-based Starbucks to enter India. It will open its first outlets here, later this year. In addition to domestic chains, Lavazza and Costa Coffee are already present.

    The head of India Coffee Trust, Anil Kumar Bhandari, says Starbucks will come to a country where cafés have become central to the lifestyle of young, middle-class Indians as incomes grow and global trends catch on.

    “They should have been here before...  Almost any café chain which has a reasonable quality with its service, ambiance and food, and coffee first, will succeed in this country.  Because look at the young population, [it] is growing and they are all taking to it like ducks to water,” Bhandari said.

    But coffee’s growing popularity does not mean that tea, which Indians have consumed for more than 150 years, is moving over.

    India is one of the world’s major tea-growing countries and a cup of “chai,” as it is known locally, is hugely popular. Indians consume eight times more tea than coffee.

    But outside homes and offices, it is mostly sold by street vendors. And that is what entrepreneurs like Amuleek Singh Bijral hope to change.  The 36-year-old Harvard graduate has opened a tea retail chain in the southern information technology hub, Bangalore, called Chai Point.  These are not upscale cafes, but offer customers more affordable tea in what Bijral calls a clean and hygienic environment.

    Instead of cappuccinos, lattés and espressos, they sell lemon tea, iced green tea or masala chai - tea cooked with spices.  It is often served in glasses instead of cups, the way many Indians have it at home.

    In less than a year, 14 Chai Points have mushroomed in the city.  They are not competing for image with cafés because, as Bijral points out, “chai” is the common man’s beverage.

    “You can not [over] price it.  You can not give it an elitist twist.  We are very clearly not a high-street phenomenon.  We are not a mall phenomenon," Bijral noted. "We do not think that is the mass of India, so we very clearly have defined our sweet spot where we say we are going to target the working Indian and serve people who are in the habit of drinking 'chai' three to four times a day.”

    Another entrepreneur has launched a similar tea venture in the northern city, Jaipur. Thirty-year-old Manasi Chadha in Bangalore welcomes these outlets.

    “Drinking tea is a kind of in-home kind of thing, out-of-home options like this are new.  Especially since coffee-drinking has boomed in the last couple of years," Chadha said. "This is a little different.”

    And as health becomes high on the agenda of many consumers, the tea restaurants hope to quietly stress the advantage of a beverage that is low on caffeine and high on antioxidants.

    Business analysts say it is not a case of coffee or tea.  They say that in a country where half the billion-plus population is under 25, both cafés and tea points will find plenty of room to grow.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora