One morning, Tuhin Jain woke up and smelled the coffee, literally. The guy with a cushy job at a leading beverage multinational decided it was time to quit to help Indian coffee lovers get a better cup of coffee. Right in their homes, minus the brew time, the fuss or mess. In fact, very much like that famous N-word coffee machine, which produces perfect golden crema-topped espresso at the touch of a button and pop of a capsule. As a mighty big fan of said N-word machine myself, I know the pleasure a perfect cup of coffee gives.
So Jain and his partner Kunal Bhagat began experimenting with coffee beans, flavours and brewing styles. Soon, they had a machine designed, with eight capsules of different coffee blends to go with it and a name to match a�� Bonhomia. Pilot launches done, the coffee machine was sold at top gourmet food stores around the country, even online. As we are a tea-drinking land, Jain also added tea capsules a�� a green tea and an English breakfast made of whole leaves (no tea dust-filled teabags) a�� to the range, with a Darjeeling to follow. Quality is top notch, he affirms, and prices are far more India-friendly than other high-end machines.
Sipping a cup of his coffee straight from the machine, golden crema-topped as promised, I asked Jain what he has figured about Indian coffee drinkers over the years.
a�?Indians have preferred milky variants,a�? he acknowledged, a�?So ita��s not been easy to tell how good or bad the coffee really was. Now with a growing culture of espresso drinking, we are learning fast.a�? Though coffee has been around for ages, coffee culture developed much earlier abroad a�� remember Friends and their endless cups of coffee at Central Perk? a�?CafA�s always offered quality barista-made coffee, and thata��s helped grow the coffee culture aboard a�� in cafA�s and with takeaway. While India grows high-standard coffee, we lack the name of Colombian or Brazilian coffee, though ours is good, and getting much better.a�? It helps now that Indians are travelling, tasting the good stuff, and are willing to spend to get it. And modern coffee lovers want it fast and clean so a machine works wonders, he adds.
A quick lesson on coffee followed: a�?A good coffee should have rich overtones a�� fruity, woody or spicy aromas. When brewed it should have a golden crema on top which denotes quality and freshness, and a creamy aftertaste. Treat your coffee with love, dona��t scald it with boiling water.a�?
Some trends: true blue coffee lovers are fussy about their morning cuppa, which sets the mood for the day, and are ready to try new flavours (hazelnut, vanilla) later on. a�?So many people are opting for a coffee in place of a dessert when they dine out.a�? Finally, a�?drinking coffee is sociable, at the end of the day. Ita��s about bonhomie. There might be a science to it but finally ita��s a social drink.a�?
Ia��ll raise my chocolate macchiato to that.