Rupa Singh, Sr. Brand Strategist - B2B Practice, ABND
Humans can smell petrichor better than sharks can smell blood. Then there are people who can smell a cup of coffee and tell Arabica from Robusta. The coffee beverage industry has flourished due to such people and their likes. The industry has snowballed to nearly $450 BN globally giving us the Lavazzas, Nescafes and Dunkin Donuts of the world. The coffee culture erupted massively in the last 2 decades so much so that Cola giants tried to infuse the flavours in their sugar sodas at a point. But nothing can replace a hot cup of joe!
We humans are in the golden age of coffee or as some like to call it the third wave of coffee consumption. So, how is it different from the former two? In the first wave, coffee essentially became a commodity owing to its need and popularity in the households. The second wave happened when the business giants introduced the likes of Starbucks and Costa Coffee to change the coffee culture worldwide. And now that people have developed the taste and habit (or borderline dependency) for a regular cup or six, smaller coffee brands have come up that specialize in exploring the finer tastes and notes of coffee for their consumers.
India has been a major exporter of coffee for the past hundreds of years and rightly so. India’s fine coffees come from the southern regions of Karnataka, Kerela and Tamil Nadu primarily. Brands who source coffees from these estates have played a prominent part in educating the consumer of the value in their blends thus passively convincing that the 200 ml in your cup is worth the 300 bucks coming out of your pockets. Some ‘café-ristas’ have encashed the value of this movement by diverging into the non-coffee drinking ‘junta’ by creating an experience around this beverage. The formula became a hit so big that it led to emergence of ‘chai’ cafes – that’s a different inspirational story all together. The third wave coffee culture experience is a pie so sweet that everyone wants a piece of this. I had my first French butter croissant when I walked into an artisanal café and the chef made a fresh batch for the customers.
Well, I call it gentrification of the coffee industry when you pay through your nose to have a LUVAK that has come out of a cat’s bu*t but you cannot deny the value that your Baba Budangiri beans for this cup came from a height of 6200+ feet or the strong musky notes in that concoction are from a cask whisky barrel that your beans aged in. The waves and cultures keep on evolving but brands of every wave have become appellatives for coffee.
Here’s to wishing you a year full of cortados and affogatos! Happy International Coffee Day!