Forty-one years after making a modest beginning in Seattle's Pike Place Market, the Starbucks Coffee Company has finally come
to India, in a 50:50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages
The American coffee giant opened its first cafe near the Bombay Stock Exchange, at the Horniman Circle in Mumbai, on October 20.
As happens when any global chain opens its first outlet in the country, there were long queues on the first day. When I visited the place with a friend a couple of days later, nothing had changed; the queue now stretched well outside the outlet.
It took me 15 minutes to get in, and another half hour to get to the counter. Still, the experience was not altogether unpleasant. The staff was friendly, and serving free samples of Starbucks' trademark Vanilla Frappuccino
blended coffee to those standing in line.
The menu has a variety of Italian coffees, tea and the usual assortment of snacks and dessert. I ordered a brewed coffee while my friend had a Java Chip Frappuccino. We ended up spending around Rs 250.
The Mumbai outlet is huge. Foreigners who were inside claimed they had never seen one as big. The ambience was very Indian: old boxes, dummy books, a hand grinding machine and large photographs. It was a bit like being in a curio shop for foreign tourists in India.
All in all, an interesting experience.