Thursday, 1 March 2007

Over a cuppa coffee

Coffee is a boon to mankind. Coffee lovers all over the world will vouch for the fact that its attractiveness is not just limited to its stimulating effect that fills one with energy and enthusiasm and prepares them for a day's hard work. It is much more than that. A coffee place is where one relaxes with friends and family after a tiring day at work. Coffee is an essential ingredient for brewing strong social ties (pun intended) and meeting new people. Having a refreshing cup of coffee while reading the morning newspaper is, in my view, the closest thing to heaven available on earth.

Coffee places in India have undergone a huge sea change in the past five years or so. Earlier, there were limited options to spend time with family and friends in soothing and pleasant surroundings. The few coffee shops present ran on a completely different business model and did not encourage customers to linger too long over their coffee. The emergence of coffee chains like Barista and Caf頃offee day has been embraced by one and all as a welcome alternative to meeting at friends' homes or at movies. Now, people can sit at leisure in comfortable sofas and plush surroundings and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. These coffee chains have shops in convenient locations spread across the city and are easily accessible from most of the business locations and residential areas. They are well decorated and inviting with comfortable sofas and chairs and pleasant salespeople who pamper customers and make coffee drinking a fine experience.

Technology has made its presence felt and left its indelible mark even here. With the availability of free high speed internet access in most of the premier coffee chains, they make for good workplaces too. Many executives prefer conducting business, meeting clients and having brainstorming sessions in coffee shops where ideas can flow as smoothly as a soothing cup of coffee to conducting them the traditional way in closed conference rooms in their offices. They provide a calm place to do one's work without any disturbances and it is all the more alluring because they are minus one's bosses constantly breathing down their shoulder.

Coffee shops also promote social relationships. Friendships are formed and bonds are strengthened here. They are very good places to meet your date and get to know him or her better. There is no need to worry about privacy either because the music ensures that conversations are restricted only to the ears that they are meant for. In today's fast paced world, people lead very busy and stressful lives and there is hardly any time for themselves, leave alone family and friends. This is an ideal opportunity for them to not only wind down and pamper themselves but also to catch up with family.

With all these attractions that lure one and all and with the increasing consumerism and booming economy, coffee lives on and coffee shops continue to thrive and flourish in India and are as enchanting as the famous cozy Paris roadside cafes. So, what are you waiting for? Chill out at the nearest coffee shop and have fun.

1 comment:

Seshu said...

Ah! The first time I visited one was an old Barista at Churchgate, Mumbai. What made this experience of mine memorable was that it was 0630 am, and I was staying at the CST station waiting room, and waiting for my job interview to begin in The Oberoi hotel (scheduled to start at 11-ish, the same day). At that time, I was searching for chai joints to open up (being a pukka Hyderabadi, having Irani chai joints open early in the morning was a given), and started walking in the general direction of (you guessed it!), a movie hall called Sterling (huge screen, still plays niche English movies). Just opposite (another cinema) New Empire, was this new coffee shop, Barista, of which I had never heard about, just opening up, and a solo employee bustling about the place, setting up tables (and chairs), and cleaning up. I asked her if I might sit, and she said I might if I didn't mind waiting for a while. I didn't (she was cute), and as she set about working, I settled down with some novels and the daily newspaper, and checked out the menu. Most of the items were described in detail, and I have always been a huge fan of chocolate, so no surprise when I settled for Cafe Mocha (these days I much prefer Mocha Tease at Barista). Well, that was then, and this is now, but I can never forget that day.