Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Ubiquitous Cafe


Cafe options in India are limited, but seem to be a growing trend. The cafe life in India is a different scene than the drop-in European style, or on-the-go American style. Indian cafes, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, are more up-market eating establishments than local bohemian cafes. Whereas Italian cafes offer the receipt first, the espresso shot at the bar, the ever-hasty euro coin and 'Ciao,' Indian cafes are full-on couples affairs with attire and style. Whereas Parisien cafes are host to musing writers and artists, and Japanese Starbucks are a refuge from luxury consumerism for Omotesando youth, Indian Baristas seem more weekend date than the spontaneous caffine fix.

My few trips to Barista have been met with quick service, prompt attention by the various staffers, delicious cappuccinos and espresso, all for around a buck. The courtyard features subtle tunes and a gurgling fountain, valet parking, and a comprehensive menu with coffees from as far as the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Compared with the ubiquitous Starbucks 4-dollar latte, the dapper style of Barista is proof of American mark-up. While labor is undoubtedly cheaper here, the fact that you can get an espresso from Kenya, Jamaica, or Indonesia for a mere 50 rupees is impressive. In the opposite extreme, the swank Bosphorous 'Gloria Jeans Cafes' in Istanbul tried to charge $7 for an insipid cup of joe. In two burgeoning economies with arguably cheap labor supply in both, it's interesting that a comparable Turkish joint can charge 700 percent more for the same cup of coffee. Although Gloria Jeans golden logo haunts the Bebek and Ortokoy districts of Istanbul, beautifully positioned on to overlook a continental spread, I think I'll stick to my Banjara Hills Barista for the time being.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

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regards Biby - Blog