In a country that thrives on tea-drinking populace, a coffee joint would have never been a profitable venture. Or so we thought. Just look around and you will see the shift in the 'drink' that people prefer now. Coffee joints like Barista, CCD, Mochas and others have given rise to a whole new culture- the coffee culture. They attract teens and college crowd who are purely after making an impression . So you would hear pseudo accents, narrating pseudo stories among pseudo friends - all at an attractive price that brings you the not-so-good coffee.
I have been to this new generation coffee joints but I loathe the coffee they offer. With all its fancy names and sky rocketing prices, what they offer is least impressive. I'd rather have a coffee at the nearby tapri for something less than Rs. 10 and still be satisfied. And weren’t coffee joints meant for some quiet time with friends and more so with yourself? Ah, ofcourse these joints offer you that facility - with games, loud music, the guitar kept on one side, the cozy couches and the fancy snacks, they do make sure that you spend quality time out there.
Nonetheless I do visit these places at times just to observe the crowd - they are young and hungry for attention. Clad in the latest fads and lingos, the girls and boys try their best to look upbeat with the cuppa coffee in their hands. The place compels them to behave in a particular manner and that inturn turns out to be a complete turn off.(too many turns here!)
But you cannot deny the fact that these places have surely been successful in spreading a culture that goes beyond the drink. So, if you are at some place where you are asked "coffee or tea?" and you answer "coffee", it means you are the young and restless, cool and happening kind of person, image-conscious, fashion savvy, intellectual types. And if you say "tea", it would mean you are like any other local round the corner, who works and sweats and comes home and has tea and is not aware about the latest fads and book releases.
In an attempt to make even tea-drinkers look hep, a tea joint was set up here in Ahmedabad, called 'Tea Centre'. The greatest irony is that this place is set up right above a Barista. Next to the most popular coffee joint there are almost invisible stairs which take you to this small and cozy place. I believe I must have been to this place more than I have been to a coffee joint. I simply love the interiors of this place - white and light green in colour, it gives you a feeling of freshness. You can watch the busy crossroads from its glass walls while you sip one of the 20 plus variety of teas this place has to offer! Though the strategy of both the places is the same - cool interiors, great variety and not-so-humble prices- the 'Tea Centre' still breeds the kind of people who come there for the love of the national drink rather than being seen as a part of a status symbol.
But there is nothing that beats the simplicity of the old Iranian coffee joint in Pune called 'Good Luck'. Situated on the road which gets its name from the famous college on it - Fergusson- 'Good Luck' has been serving for more than 5 decades now. It rests on a crossroads little ahead of Barista and CCD and still throughout the day it throngs with people who have literally been fed on its coffees and muska buns over the years. The many windows draw in the traffic noise, the waiters run hither thither in sweaty uniforms and the people walk-in in bathroom slippers and a worn out t-shirt. Still, this place is more genuine than any of the new coffee joints. A steaming cup of coffee served with maska bun loaded with butter that melts in your mouth after being dipped in the coffee….ummmm. Absolutely divine.
And as I walk out of this place I spot a Mochas round the corner. The dim lights and the smell of vanilla and strawberry flavoured hookahs make it look like some suspicious place. I read the phrase "coffee and conversations" and ask myself "is it?"