I can’t ignore the siren call of Starbucks. And bless her, she found me this time.
Welcome to India, my friend.
My coffee-snob buddies who only drink boutique brands – don’t dismiss this post so soon! You, too, would worship the Starbucks-branded bean if you had endured four years of freeze-dried instant coffee, or sweet and milky mock-ups of a simple cup of joe.
After years of rumors and no-doubt epic maneuvers to cut a deal, Starbucks has finally opened in India – the latest country in over 6o to offer the Seattle-based coffeehouse experience.
We took the kids to see the first Delhi store last weekend along with hundreds of other locals who were eager to see what the fuss is all about.
My Indian friends, it’s about coffee: reliably decent, predictably tasty, efficiently served coffee.
You prefer tea? No worries. There’s plenty of that, too… from Assam. And look Delhiites, Starbucks knows what you like to eat as well:
The Delhi Starbucks is awash in earth tones and feels like an apres-ski lounge without the fireplace. Unlike any Starbucks in New York City, it’s roomy. Look at the table that stretches nearly the length of the building:
There’s an upstairs as well. And waiters to deliver your tandoori paneer sandwich.
I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 16. Back then, my neighbor, Anne always had a fresh pot on her Mr. Coffee coffee maker. I couldn’t resist the nutty aroma. So began my love affair with Arabica.
In Boston, locals order “regular coffee” when they want it with cream and sugar. I learned to do the same when I was in college at BU. When I lived in New York, my order changed to “regular without sugar.”
But I perfected coffee culture in New Orleans where coffee countered hang-overs and where coffeehouses stretched mornings into afternoons and afternoons into lazy days. This is where coffee nurses the velvet rut.
It takes the determination of an addict looking for a fix to get to the Delhi Starbucks. Look at what we walked through en route:
Ah… the agony and the ecstasy.
I love you, Starbucks!