Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coffeeliciously Yours..!

I make no bones about the fact that I'm an insane coffee lover. Expertly brewed coffee, cold or hot, just lights me up and makes my day like nothing else can. And now that we're at it, let me also admit that I don't really like the coffee I make for myself at home. But alas I don't own a coffee maker :( and I can't brew my own coffee, so I have to rely on the meager Nescafe for that occasional shot of pure coffeelicious pleasure. But the homemade coffee doesn't always satisfy my coffee-hungry soul. And that's precisely where coffee shops make an appearance in my life.


It is almost flabbergasting to see the practically infinite number of coffee shops that have sprung up over the last decade, cramming every single nook and cranny of the city. Metro stations, neighborhood markets, malls - look to your right or look to your left, you'll surely spot one or the other cafe within your range of sight. Not even kidding, it happens with me! Not that I'm complaining - coffee shops always save the day.

Or wait...maybe I am. I am complaining alright. Because even though I am not very finicky about the taste of my coffee, as long as it's averagely nice and loaded with caffeine, but the quality of service and ambiance at most of the coffee shops in the city today is so terrible, it pisses me off. But again, not ALL are that bad. Most Costa Coffee outlets are good when it comes to service and ambiance. Their coffee's pretty good, though I would rather stay away from their cakes and sandwiches - not a big fan of that stuff here. But all of that comes at a slightly higher expense than a poor little student like me can afford every now and then. So Costa is reserved for special occasions. :P

Barista Lavazza I have a pretty good though less informed opinion on. Not been to it a lot, but speaking from whatever experience I've had of it, the coffee is perfect, the snack bites are yummy and as for the desserts - their chocolate excess cake is to die for. Thumbs up to Barista! (Mental note: I should visit it more often)

Now for the real reason behind my frustration with cafes - Cafe Coffee Day! Agreed that CCDs were the pioneers in propagating the let's-get-together-over-coffee fashion among the Indian youth (as far as I've seen). And to be frank I used to love their ambiance and old look too. But with all those newly introduced irritating concepts like self service, the new menu and highly illiterate and non-courteous staff, CCDs are now a serious blot on the face of this earth. There's nothing on the menu really worth boasting of; even the best of their beverages have now been reduced to poor clones of each other with nothing much to help differentiate one from another. Add to that their incessant hunger for more money (that makes them charge extra for every tiny little thing - even those toppings that are mentioned as parts of the beverage on the freaking menu!) and the uselessness of the staff (which by the way doesn't serve as much more than a brigade of stone statues, since it's all self service now!) and what do you get? Bad experiences.

That said, I would surely like to point out that a few CCD outlets around town do offer good experiences to those who can ignore the minor shortcomings. Foremost out of them would be The Lounge chain of outlets by CCD, located in places like CP, Khan Market, Hauz Khas, Saket, Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash Part 1. The prices are much elevated, but the ambiance and presentation of food and drink is way above the standards CCD has set for itself. Take a look:




Another one of my favorite coffee shops would be the open-air Cafe Coffee Day right opposite to the Taj Palace Hotel in Chanakya Puri. The very fact that it is open air and spread over a large area, in addition to a majestic view of the Taj and nice sitting arrangements with greenery all around, this one place is totally worth enjoying a cup of steaming hot coffee with nice company on a rainy evening. Like I did a few months ago (see below).




True indeed. In the end, All I want is coffee.

P.S. A friend tweeted this amazing Oatmeal strip that gives great insights into the history of Coffee and a lot of interesting Coffee-related trivia. Must check out!!
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