Waking up to the sound of your coffee maker boiling your favorite cup of coffee and the delicious aroma of roasted coffee beans all around your house is unarguably the best part of your day. Isn’t it?
Although coffee is not a traditional or an ancient beverage rooted in our culture, it has made its way into Indian households and is now a very integral part of many morning routines. Irrespective of the increasing awareness about the harm caffeine intake causes to the human body, people do not seem to be giving up on their daily cup of coffee. As I said, it has become an indispensable part of our routines!
How it all began:
A very interesting background story is that the essence of these magic brown beans was discovered by Kaldi, a simple goat herder in the Ethiopian Plateaus in the 9th century! The world can trace back the heritage of coffee to the ancient coffee forests of the Ethiopian Plateaus.
This story is however highly debated in contrast to the story of the beans being originated in Yemen. The history of coffee in India is also backed by its Yemen origin. Legend has it that an Indian pilgrim to Moch(a city in Yemen) smuggled 7 coffee beans into the country in 1670. He planted them in the Chandragiri Hills of Karnataka and that’s how we got our coffee!
Today, India is the world’s 6th largest Coffee producer with 83% of coffee producers. However, these producers have only 5 acres of land to themselves which often falls short to fulfill the needs of Indian coffee consumers. Westernization and the influence of foreign rulers and travelers have led to a cultural shift towards the preference of this beverage.
The beverage, since its origination, gained high popularity and love. People started experimenting with the coffee beans and came up with various ways to make this beverage subjectively unique.
And finally, in the modern 21st century, we witness top-class international coffee chains like the giant- Starbucks or Costa Coffee taking over the markets. In the meanwhile, brands like Cafe Coffee Day is a renowned coffee house in India with over 1192 cafes in the country!
Apart from coffee chains, homegrown instant coffee brands like Blue Tokai, Black Baza Coffee, Tata Coffee, etc. are taking over the markets! Indian coffee consumers are getting more and more selective about their cups of coffee!
The Brand Called You has featured prominent startup founders and entrepreneurs. Out of which we have the founders of two renowned coffee suppliers!
We are very sure you have heard of Blue Tokai! That’s right.
Matt Chittaranjan, Founder of the renowned coffee supplier- Blue Tokai featured on S1 of our podcast and shared the story of his amazing brand. Matt’s story is full of experiences, a little wandering, and a lot of coffee!
Matt attended a business school where he acquired a degree in Finance. He has worked in Real Estate for some time, following which he pursued a Ph.D.
Matt, along with his wife, came up with the idea of starting a premium coffee brand. Blue Tokai was established to provide quality-focused premium coffee to the consumers. To make sure he gives nothing but the best to the consumers, Matt visited several Indian farms and initiated direct trade from the best ones. This not only helped him pick the best quality beans but also the coffee farmers to earn a fair and transparent result of their hard work.
Matt’s focus has always been on the product, its quality, design aspect, and customer communication. He believes that the complexity of the beans and flavor needs a perfect balance for a good cup of coffee. And that the intensity of the coffee is very important for his business.
On being asked about the increasing preference for coffee in the country, the entrepreneur replies,
“Coffee has become a little trendy. Tea is the sort of thing you have at home but when you want to go out, you don’t want to go out for a cup of tea. You want to indulge or treat yourself so people are increasingly opting for coffee. It is a transition that happens in a lot of places as the places become richer, coffee becomes popular. Coffee also has a significant amount of caffeine and caffeine gives you that kick to get started in the morning. It is addictive and sort of a legal drug that wakes you up and gets you going!”
Today, Blue Tokai is one of the best and highly preferred coffee suppliers in India with 22 cafes across the country! The brand believes in transparency and is always open to inform consumers about the sourcing, roasting, and brewing of Blue Tokai Coffee. It is a brand well established, well managed, and perfectly executed!
Another guest who featured on S2 of the podcast is the Founder of Black Baza Coffee, Arshiya Bose!
Black Baza Coffee is a social and conservational enterprise.
Arshiya is a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Cambridge. She is an acumen fellow, kinship conservation fellow, and a national geographic explorer. And last but not the least, she is the Founder of Black Baza Coffee!
A conservation and social brand, Black Baza Coffee originated from the idea of trading the global commodity in a unique way that places value and recognizes the people and producers in the coffee value chain including nature.
Arshiya believes that Coffee is a commodity that is still very new to many indigenous and impoverished communities that cultivate the crop. Keeping this in mind, these smallholder producers are often cheated on with respect to the. The system is not fair and transparent to the hard work that these farmers put in. Hence to fill that gap, Arshiya works with and helps 650 such smallholder coffee producers in the Western Ghats to provide them fair prices from their coffee all the while preventing the indigenous forests and species around the area!
On being asked about the meaning of the word Black Baza, Arshiya explains
“ So Black Baza is actually a bird. It is a small bird of prey that’s found across Asia and found in typically fairly dense healthy forests. So for us, the Black Baza is symbolic of the kind of cultivation we would like to see much more of! A kind of coffee growing practice that coexists with all biodiversity. And that’s why we call ourselves Black Baza Coffee!”
Her brand is highly conscious of the environment and makes sure to practice equality of shares while working with smallholder producers.
This environment-focused brand in addition to the aesthetic packaging and the superior quality of hand-picked premium coffee makes Black Baza highly preferred in India!
Whether it’s Blue Tokai or Black Baza, we all like our morning coffee to get the perfect start to our hectic week.
Because apparently for us, the phrase has now changed to:
A cup of coffee a day keeps the weekday blues away!