Coffee lovers in India have a variety of brews to choose. (Stock photo)

Cheers to coffee: How to pick up the best brew for your home pleasure

Instant, special, or traditional blends: Indians’ choice for their daily cup keeps increasing

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

India is sipping a change: a culture of drinking coffee is catching up as cafes expand menus and brewing at home becomes a breeze with concentrates, single-serve bags, and pour-over packs.

“Today India’s coffee consumption is 100 gm per capita per annum compared to western countries where it is 12 kg per capita per annum, which clearly shows the potential opportunity. The Indian café market is (Rs) 4.5k crore currently and is growing at a healthy CAGR. The coffee category has a big social symbolic value in the Indian market and the trends of growth are encouraging,” says Rajat Agrawal, Barista’s chief executive officer (CEO).

Indians know their coffee thanks to lifestyle awareness and purchasing power. “We get consumers today who talk about specialty blends and their blend preferences, dark roast or mid roast, French Press or Pour Overs—these are things which were alien to people some ten years back. The consumer is well travelled and most of the data points are available at a push button on your handheld,” Agrawal says.

“A few consumers prefer black coffees such as Espresso or Americanos over milk-based coffees. However, India is largely a milk-base coffee market. But we have seen encouraging trends on the shift to black coffee.”

Know Your Coffee

The beauty of coffee is that it can be enjoyed in so many different ways, allowing coffee lovers to choose from a variety of coffee formats and brewing methods. According to Rahul Aggarwal, CEO & Founder of Coffeeza, a Goa based gourmet coffee brand that offers a variety of premium great-tasting coffee blends, “One can choose brewing with single-serve recyclable aluminum coffee capsules and compatible machines, these are super easy to use and your coffee is ready in minutes. Then there’s ground coffee that’s available in different grind sizes to suit a variety of home brewing equipment like the French Press, Pour-Over, AeroPress, Moka pot, Ground Coffee Machines and more. Next, we have pour-over coffee bags, which is a convenient way of enjoying drip style coffee, all you need is hot water to brew an invigorating cup. We also offer whole roasted coffee beans. The coffee capsules are priced between Rs. 450 to 550 for a box of 10 capsules, ground coffee is available at Rs. 400-450 per 250g bag, pour-over bags are priced at 400 for a box of 10 bags. In each format we have unique blends to offer, there’s Intenso, Caramel, Mysore Nuggets, Gingerbread, Peppermint Mocha, Single-Origin Nicaragua to name a few.”

Brewing Coffee At Home

Brewing specialty coffee at home is obviously cost effective as drinking the same at a cafe. Buying brewing equipment is a one-time investment only. There’s a different range in that as well. One can start with the French Press, move to Pour over and then Aeropress. These three methods are excellent for home brewing. Many of us have home coffee makers lying around in our houses and we don’t know how to use them. Invest in freshly roasted beans only. And try to consume the fresh roast within two weeks.

According to Coffeeza’s Rahul Aggarwal, “When you move from manual brewing techniques to coffee machines, you can choose between semi-automatic, fully automatic or capsule/pod espresso machines. In a semi-automatic coffee machine, the user has to manually grind coffee beans, tamper the grounds, and froth milk, these machines are available for Rs. 10,000 -12,000. The fully automatic machine does everything on its own, from grinding the coffee beans to tampering the grounds, pulling the espresso shot and frothing milk, all this at the push of button, but these are expensive and rarely used for homes, they can start at Rs. 70,000-80,000. The capsule machine is even more convenient where you just have to insert the coffee capsule in a machine, press a button and your coffee is ready. This format is ideal for someone who is pressed for time and needs convenience. The Finero Next Espresso Machine is a bestseller in the country in the capsule coffee machines category. You can brew an Espresso, Lungo or Americano, and it’s perfect for someone who enjoys black coffee. It can be paired with a Milk-Frother like our fully automatic Frothimo to create delicious barista-style coffees such as cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, macchiatos and more. The Finero Next machine is available for Rs. 12,000 while the Frothimo combo is Rs. 16,000.”

Which is the bestseller type of coffee in India. Indians love milk-based coffees, which is why cappuccinos and lattes are very popular drinks. Other popular choices are flavoured blends of Caramel and Hazelnut as people love flavored coffees.

The flavour of coffee depends a lot on the way it is grown and sourced. Coffees from different estates have different flavour profiles -depending on where they were grown, under what climatic conditions. Coffee profile also depends on aspects such as how the beans were processed. Roasting is another crucial factor in determining flavour, body, aroma, acidity etc.

How do you know what your type of coffee is? What is the way to find that out? You can only decide when you’ve tasted a wide variety of coffees. According to Nishant Sinha, Founder, Roastery Coffee House, one of the finest artisanal coffee brands with a host of cafes in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi NCR, Lucknow and Jaipur, “For an individual to decide on what coffee they like – will require them to know about coffee, drink coffee, brew at home and be curious. A coffee enthusiast should explore estates, roasts, notes, and brewing methods. We host brewing workshops, cupping workshops etc. that help patrons delve deeper into the world of coffee. We talk a lot about coffee on our social media communication which further helps patrons with in-depth knowledge about Indian coffee, brewing methods etc.”

When we say what different types of coffee we have, there are several factors to decide the difference. A lot depends on how and where coffee beans are grown. Sinha shares that they source some of India’s best available beans from different estates such as Mandalkhan, Thogarihankal, Salwara, Ratnagiri, Harley, Monsoon Malabar – these estates are in Chikmagalur. One of their much-loved coffees called Tribe-O-Project, comes from Koraput hills in Odisha. They also create signature roasts for our patrons.

What Not To Do

What are the few things one must avoid? What are some of those common mistakes and what not to do while selecting or making coffee. Abhinav Mathur, CEO of Something’s Brewing, a-first-of-its-kind ecommerce platform in Bengaluru dedicated wholly and solely to coffee, shares some tips and tricks. One common practice of using pre-ground coffee needs to be thought over. Coffee’s exposure to oxygen results in degradation of flavour and aromatics that are built during roasting which gives the coffee its unique flavour and roast profile. The surface area of a pre-ground coffee has long exposure to the atmosphere accelerating its oxidation. Hence, freshly ground coffee is recommended to have a fresher and flavourful cup. Besides, the grind size matters. In any brewing method, it is essential to discover the correct grind setting to brew a good cup of coffee which is ideal for your brewing method. Finally, the water and coffee ratio is essential to be followed. A scale to measure coffee grounds and brew in the right ratio with water is a good practice to brew the perfect cup

Every South Indian household has filter coffee which is a versatile drink and not essentially heavy on the pocket. The filter coffee press and the cups are all easy to obtain, easy on your wallet, and travel-friendly. Filter coffee essentially is good quality arabica coffee bean powder, which is dependent on how it’s grown, where it’s grown, the quality of the beans itself, the filtration process, the roasting process, and packing. Great quality filter coffee mix that is brewed right equals a cup of decedent filter coffee, which takes away all the fatigue of the day.

Filter coffee essentially is made with sugar but can also be substituted with jaggery which is seen as a healthier option. Sheetal Saxena, Founder, Athyeka, a Noida based South Indian café brimming with Dravidian culture, identity, architecture, flavors, and aroma shares the equipment you’ll need to make filter coffee- “The equipment includes a filter coffee press (components- the decoction collector, the perforated upper chamber or the compartment with sieve in it, the pressing disc, and a lid for the upper chamber) usually made of brass or steel. You may also need filter coffee mix for the general audience is a roasted mix of coffee beans and chicory (with varying percentages of the latter in decreased proportions, usually an 80% to 20% mix) or just 100% arabica beans. Essentially south Indian filter coffee is in the form of grits (its granular in texture) plus water and decoction: the coffee concentrate that defines the taste of it, sugar, milk, traditional South Indian Filter coffee cup with saucer (also called dabra).”

Average prices for premium coffee brands

Brand Form Product Name Weight Price (INR)
Blue Tokai Ground Coffee Orchardale Estate 250g 650
Blue Tokai Ground Coffee Stanmore Estate 250g 650
DAVIDOFF Ground Coffee Espresso 57 100g 650
DAVIDOFF Ground Coffee Crema Intense 100g 550
DAVIDOFF Ground Coffee Fine Aroma 100g 650
DAVIDOFF Capsules Prestige Espresso Intense Roast 55g 650
The Coffee Co Whole Beans Monsooned Malabar 250g 875
The Coffee Co Whole Beans Morning Dew 250g 775
The Coffee Co Whole Beans Morning Dew Organic 250g 875
The Coffee Co Whole Beans Southern Estate 250g 675
Nescafé Powder Gold Blend 200g 950
Rage Ground Coffee Instant Coffee 100g 499
Country Bean Powder Hazelnut Instant Coffee 100g 499
Country Bean Powder Vanilla Instant Coffee 100g 499
Country Bean Powder Cocoa Mint Instant Coffee 100g 499
The flying Squirrel Powder CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE 250g 680
Astisante Whole Beans Sumatra Mandheling 250g 975
Astisante Whole Beans Costa Rica Pure 250g 975
Astisante Whole Beans Brazil Santos 250g 975
Forest My Tribal Superfood Powder Mushroom Coffee 150g 1

Source: Business Standard

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