Spice your morning cuppa up with excellent brews and exciting flavours
When I think of coffee, my mind directly takes me to the opening scene of Gilmore Girls and Lorelai Gilmore requesting for her sixth cup of coffee in the morning. As a caffeine addict, I relate to Lorelai’s supposed disorientation until I have a warm cuppa before the day begins. It’s the taste, the aroma, the warm jolt it gives that makes lovers of caffeine the devout fans they are.
But for the longest time, we were hard pressed for choice, quietly finding solace in garden-variety (often adulterated) coffee. Now, things have changed, with the Third Wave of coffee having well penetrated the Indian market, which is seeing a steady uptick in homegrown brands that are specialising in premium flavours, new-age brews and sustainability, all at once.
We’ve collated a handy list of some of the best offerings to ensure your morning coffee gets that much-needed upgrade. Bookmark it first, and thank us later.
A coffee enthusiast will recommend heading to KC Roasters for their cold-pressed brews and freshly roasted coffee. Founded by Shannon D’Souza and Clement Sissia, who travelled to Italy and Thailand to master the art of roasting, and brewing, the Arabica beans for this brand are sourced from estates across South India. The aroma of their fresh brews hits you like a bullet in the head.
The brainchild of Matt Chittaranjan and Namrata Asthana, Blue Tokai it started out with a small roastery in New Delhi in 2013 and hassince, expanded to over 20 cafés across India. Drop by at their cafés for a taste of interesting roasts, alongside lip-smacking desserts. If you’re ordering for home, try the Vienna Roast, Attikan Estate and Bibi Plantation.
Coming from the Naandi Foundation, Araku Coffee gets its beans from the eponymous valley in Andhra Pradesh, where over 90,000 tribal farmers toil the 25,000 acres plantation to give you consciously grown coffee. What makes Araku special, is that the enterprise was founded with the aim to uplift and empower the disadvantaged Adivasi farmers in the valley. Try their signature blends that come with hints of green pepper and dark chocolate.
Sleepy Owl came to life in an apartment in Delhi by three friends, Ajai Thandi, Arman Sood and Ashwajeet Singh. Specialising in cold brews, its Original and chocolatey Dark Roast come in both hot and cold varieties, while the Cinnamon blend is available only for cold brews. Their aim was simple: to create coffee that would be easy to procure, store and drink; anytime and anywhere. Their cold brews can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and now come in exciting variants like, pumpkin spice and hazelnut.
A hip brand, Dope Coffee wanted to create brews that were, ‘dope’. Co-founded by coffee aficionados Rizwan Amlani and Nitu Pohoomul, this homegrown brand offers 15 varieties, including Chocolatey Dark Matter, butty Polaris, nutmeg-y Swarnagiri Estate and a citrusy Balmaadi Organic.
Launched during the pandemic in Mumbai by Q Arabica grader and founder, Rahul Reddy along with his partner Daniel Trulson of Auroville-based bakery Bread & Chocolate, Subko Coffee has quickly gained traction among the city’s coffee lovers. The duo restored a Goan-style bungalow and set up shop in Bandra to churn out special roasts and cold and hot brews. Subko sources their beans from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Meghalaya. Fun fact: All their products including the delectable baked goods are sold in 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable packaging.
Sourcing their beans from two single-estate farms in Kodaikanal and Coorg, The Indian Bean aims to provide a variety of freshly roasted coffees for the Indian palate. Founded by Kunal Ross, they offer coffee in different variants. Try their Strong and fruity Frowner’s, Bullet with a vanilla finish, mildly chocolatey Bello and the classic South Indian filter coffee.
Changing the game with instant coffee - Country Bean offers one-of-a-kind flavours that will elevate your morning cuppa. Flavoured instant coffees are available in different flavours, such as Cocoa Mint, Hazelnut, Caramel and Choco Orange. Check their website to find your pick.
An unconventional name, Bili Hu is a coffee brand that celebrates the state of Karnataka where coffee first grew in India. ‘Bili hu’ is a white flower symbolic of the coffee plant flower, that blooms to signify the yield in the harvest season in Kannada. Founded by Bharat Singhal, who worked with The Coffee Board of India in 2011 and fell in love with coffee, this brand is on a mission to put evolved brews and flavours on the Indian coffee-drinking map.
A family business, the women of the Kariappa family from the “House of Halli Berri” decided to launch their label in order to save their estate in Chikmagalur. Their coffee is sustainably farmed, handpicked, shade-grown and also Rainforest Alliance-certified for their efforts in reducing their carbon footprint. Apart from the coffee, they also allow you to visit their farm, learn more about their brews and stay in one of their cosy cottages.
Devika is not just a food writer, she is a writer with a political science background. She switched her field to pursue her dream of writing. She is up to date with all things travel, food, pop culture, and Instagram. When she is not writing to meet her deadlines, Devika spends most of her time reading, binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the nth time and scrolling through Zara’s newest collection.