India is the sixth largest coffee producer in the world, but Indians were generally not big coffee drinkers. Aside from the south where filter kaapi reigned supreme, tea has dominated the psyche of the average Indian. Things are changing quickly, though, as the twin forces of globalization and the internet have made coffee the cool new drink. More and more Indians are turning to coffee to fuel their working day as cafes, both international and domestic, are growing in all cities and towns. These fast-growing cafes are the ideal place for people to catch up or spend a few hours working, reading or just passing the time. Equipped with free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, these cafes are also fast becoming the preferred location for casual work meetings. Where until 20 years ago cappuccino, latte and double shots were still strange words, today’s Indian not only knows the difference between the two, but he can also distinguish between medium, dark or light roast and is looking for the best coffee machine.
But even this pattern of coffee consumption is changing. Where former Indians were content with drinking coffee in cafes and tea at home, the same is no longer true, people now want to enjoy cafe quality coffee at home and are not afraid to buy coffee machines and single origin coffees to take their love of coffee to the next level. . Another reason for this trend is the high sugar and artificial flavors in many cafe’s signature coffee drinks, which don’t sit well with today’s health-conscious youth. Contrast this with the scenario of just a few years ago, when the average Indian had no idea about the different brewing methods, let alone thinking about purchasing a coffee maker. The hunt for the best coffee machine operates as Indians scour internet reviews, form coffee appreciation clubs, attend coffee tastings for the best brew available. Gourmet coffee roasters and vendors are inundated with orders for their artisanal blends and instant coffees, the go-to coffee option of the past being missed.
While popular misconceptions may lead people to think that the price of coffee machines in India is terribly unaffordable or that the products available are of poor quality, nothing could be further from the truth. Coffee makers in India are not only comparable to international brands, but the prices are also competitive, making the ownership of the best coffee maker for one’s needs a clear possibility for all. Grinding and brewing your own coffee at home is now considered a sign of sophistication rather than a tedious and well-avoided chore as previously thought.
From a niche drink to a drink that represents upward mobility and youth, coffee in India has come a long and interesting way in just twenty years, leaving us wondering what the next trend in coffee consumption will be. And while we wait for it to pop up, may we suggest a piping hot cup of coffee?