Tim Hortons Finally Comes To India – A Little Bit Of Canada In India

Finally atleast part of one of my dreams is coming true. There are several fast food & coffeeshop chains from the Western world that I have not tasted and wish to have them come to India. Some UK, American & Canadian ones. Now in terms of Canada, I wish I could actually move there. Now that’s another story but when it comes to Canadian brands, they don’t come as big or iconic as Tim Hortons. And they are coming to India.

Tim Hortons, a coffee brand established in 1964 in Canada, will enter India as part of an exclusive agreement with AG Café, a joint venture entity owned by Apparel Group, a global fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate and Gateway Partners, an emerging markets alternative investment manager.

Popular for its freshly prepared iconic beverages like the smooth and creamy ‘French Vanilla’ and its creamy blended frozen coffee, the ‘Iced Capp®’ along with made-to-order food and baked goods offerings, like the delicious bite-sized morsels of traditional donuts called ‘Timbits®’, Tim Hortons will open in New Delhi this year, quickly followed by Punjab and other parts of the country. With over 50 years of coffee expertise, the brand has captured the hearts and taste buds of many.

India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for specialty coffee retail chains. The growth can be attributed to the changing lifestyle of the young population, rising disposable income, and a keenness to explore global experiences. With this launch, India will become the brand’s fourth country in the Asia Pacific region, and plans to open over two hundred and fifty outlets over the next five years. Tim Hortons India will be led by Navin Gurnaney, an experienced and reputed professional who will serve as the  company’s India CEO. He was previously the CEO for Starbucks India. 

Starbuck’s White Chocolate Frappuccino

A delicious caffeinated white chocolate and coffee frozen drink that’s made for hot & humid days like today. I found myself craving a cold beverage at noon and I hopped onto my Zomato app and checked out the frappes available at the nearest Starbucks. I have had almost all but 2 and the other is a green matcha tea frappe so I thought, let’s try this one first. White chocolate Frappuccino® Roast coffee, milk and ice get together for what might be the best thing that happens to you all day. Oh, and there’s whipped cream on top.

What’s in it: Ice, milk, coffee Frappuccino syrup, whipped cream, coffee, white chocolate mocha sauce.
How much caffeine: 65 milligrams for a tall. Mine was a grande.

Ok as I said this is a heaven sent on a hot and humid day. As all cold frappes as but I digress. It isn’t going to be my favourite one from Starbucks but I do want to tell you that if, like me, you do not mind getting your white mocha on once in a while (I’m a sucker for regular milk chocolate and dark chocolate) then you will enjoy this one. It’s got everything going for it.

Once I got it delivered to my apartment I put it in the fridge for a little while. Like 2 hours almost. White chocolate is a popular flavor at Starbucks and shows up in 17 popular drinks. Post a disappointing lunch, I was waiting until I needed a pick me up and then, pausing my work, I went to the fridge to get the cup. And it was well worth the wait. Starbucks uses white chocolate mocha sauce (shortened to white mocha) to make their hot and iced white chocolate drinks. There’s no coffee or caffeine in the white mocha sauce and it tastes like sweet milk, like sweetened condensed milk. It’s an 8.5 outta 10 from me!

Starbucks Toffee Nut Crunch Frappuccino

Starbuck’s Toffee Nut Crunch Frappuccino -Shots of rich espresso dance together with the heart-warming flavours of buttery toffee, which are delicately balanced by flavours of toasted nuts. The crescendo is a crown of whipped cream peak sprinkled in a sweet, crunchy topping. Blended with milk and ice for the perfect summer sips. This beverage is vegan friendly when enjoyed with oat, almond or soy milk and plant-based whipped cream. Vegan customers are advised to omit the Crunch topping as it contains traces of dairy.

Ok so this is one of the items from the famous coffeeshop chain’s Winter season menu. Although winter isn’t a big thing here – I live in a tropical state – that’s no excuse to not try the winter special drinks from Starbucks. I had planned to get a frappe on Thursday but I pushed it to the weekend since I had a doctor’s appointment and some blood tests set for Friday. So this Sunday afternoon I thought that I would order one of the winter special and this particular drink caught my eye. Ordered it on Swiggy and waited for the 30 minutes it took to have them deliver it to me.

I sat back in my chair and put the drink next to my laptop. Mandatory photo taken, I take my first sip through the straw. A customary swirl of whipped cream is topped with a sprinkle of toffee nut bits – possibly best describable as a crunchy, buttery, a bit nutty and a bold toffee taste. The sprinkled bits add the ‘crunch’ to toffee nut crunch after mixing the concoction. It has a sweet scent of toffee that reminds me of my childhood. Buttery toffee with a light note of nuttiness, blended together with coffee. It wasn’t too cold and also gave me the feeling of cozyness. I got the grande this time and I think going forward I might stick to it. Since I only order like one coffee from Starbucks a month, I usually go for the venti but hey this one was delicious and satisfying. An 8 outta 10.

Coffee Or Tea? Which Do You Drink While You Write And Why?

Coffee. Usually hot & black with sugar but many times I do add milk as well. As long as it is coffee I am pretty happy about it. It gives me energy and the caffeine is the kick I need to keep me awake and alert. Or so it feels. I also love the taste of coffee and it is more or less an addiction. For many people, coffee is the first beverage consumed in the morning and can be relied upon for energy to help them get through the day. For some, the smell and taste of coffee are comforting.

If you are deprived of sleep, having a cup of your favorite brew can help you feel more relaxed and ready to be productive. Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed drink. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as riboflavin, magnesium, and potassium, coffee can help to lessen depression, promote a healthy heart, and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, and liver cancer.

Overall I like to drink a beverage while I do write and though I also like to have a Coke or Pepsi or maybe some fruit juices (apple or orange for instance) coffee is ever present in my home and cheaper to have more of. But even if I had the same amount of juices, cola and coffee, coffee is gonna win most of the time.

Prompt from NOVEMBER BLOG PROMPTS: NANOWRIMO EDITION at Living A Sunshine Life

Cappuccino : Fun Facts About This Awesome Coffee Drink

Cappuccino Fun Facts: Capuccino was invented in Italy. It was first patented by a man named Luigi Bezzera in 1901. It is a derived from the Italian word “cappuccio,” which means “hood.”

  • November 8th is National Cappuccino Day.
  • During World War II cappuccino machines were improved and many restaurants began serving the beverage.
  • In Italy, cappuccino is traditionally consumed once a day with breakfast.
  • The top layer of the foam is where you usually encounter the strong flavors giving a special taste to cappuccino. Ginger, cinnamon and cocoa in powder form, are the most popular choices.
  • The steamed foam served with cappuccino serves as an insulator and allows the liquid to retain its heat for a longer period of time.
  • Cappuccino is rumored to have been named after Marco d’Aviano: a friar who led the resistance to the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.
  • The first use of cappuccino in English is recorded in 1948 in a work about San Francisco.
  • In Italy, the average barista is 48 years old.
  • Kopi Luwak is considered to be the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world. It is grown in Indonesia, and is about 50 dollars a cup, or 400 dollars a pound.

3 Weeks No Sugar

Congratulations to me! I have now completed 3 weeks without any sugar added. I have also not had any milk or cream added to my coffee in these past 3 weeks. I used to think that this was impossible for me to drink as even if the sugar is less in my cup of coffee I would find it difficult to drink. But all that has changed and now, I do not mind drinking my black coffee without sugar. Some people have said that drinking black coffee without sugar is “Savage” but I say, hey it’s not that bad.

I haven’t even added any stevia to the coffee, even though I bought some and it is lying in my cupboard. I bought the stevia since I thought it might be difficult to get through sugarless coffee but I haven’t added any once. I think I will keep the stevia for coffee that I buy from cafes and I also want to try some iced coffee and iced without sugar and with me adding the stevia to it. That would be interesting to try out. So I am looking at getting some great coffee from Cafe Coffee Day, Costa Coffee & Starbucks but the ones without whipping cream and without sugar added. The cold ones all come with sugar/sweetner mixed so I can’t choose those.

I might not even go back to adding actual sugar to my coffee in the future. Well never say never but I don’t feel that it is necessary anymore. HoweverI do have a sweet tooth and hence I am not ruling it out. Let’s see!

How To Save Money On Pumpkin Spice Lattes

1. Join a rewards program from your favourite coffeeshop chain to get free drinks. Tim Hortons, Starbucks etc have their own reward program either on their app or website, choose a rewards level, start earning points and redeem those points for your favourite beverages, baked goods or food.

2. Look out for discounted cards that any of the coffeeshops have on sale in their website or in store. It’s basically a gift card for less than its face value, and you’ll get more for your money at your coffeeshop. Great way to save some dollars.

3. Or you can make it at home. Indulge in a pumpkin spice latte any time you like with this great do-it-yourself recipe that I had posted here on my blog.

4. Find alternate cafes where they might charge you a little less but the taste will still be the same. Maybe the ingredients aren’t as rich as the ones at the big chains but I bet you they will still taste as delicious if not more.

5. There are several Pumpkin spice flavoured creamers you can buy year round to add to your coffee at home. This list will give you an idea of which ones to buy.

Prompt from 200 Fall Blog Post Ideas That Will Make You Delighted To Be Writing

I Don’t Want No Sugar In My Coffee

The lyrics to the Big Sugar song goes like this – “I don’t want no sugar in my coffee / makes me mean, makes me mean”. I don’t know about making me mean, I don’t think so but I am not taking any sugar in my coffee anymore. I just cut it out cold turkey. I did not slowly reduce my intake – from over 3 teaspoons in one cup of coffee – 3-4 cups a day – to none.

Just like that! I could not even imagine this before yesterday but this morning as I sit here with my first cup of the day, I am surprised at how quickly I have adjusted. Yesterday I had 4 cups of coffee and I slowly am getting adjusted to the lack of sugar. Slowly. My tongue is expecting the sweetness as is my brain and mouth but then the liquid hits. I will try to get some cream so I can add it to my coffee. Or maybe I will used to sugarless coffee. I have ordered some stevia but I won’t use it for now.

Funny thing is today, half asleep, I actually added coffee and sugar but I didn’t pour the boiling water yet. I was so used to doing these two steps – adding the instant coffee and then sugar – I stopped halfway through adding the sugar and kept that mug aside for my mother. I got another mug and used that without sugar. Old habits, as they say!

Costa Coffee’s Belgian Chocolate Frostino

British coffeehouse chain Costa Coffee has has a small footprint in the Indian landscape and have had an outlet in Lulu Mall located in Cochin since 2015. Overpriced for sure and with a more bitter taste than giants Starbucks or Indian chain Cafe Coffee Day, Costa coffees were something I had only when I went to the mall.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, I have ordered a few coffees and frappes via either Swiggy or Zomato to quench my premium coffee thirst. Usually it is Starbucks or CCD. I think I have only ordered a latte from Costa Coffee once but I have been hearing about their Frostinos line which I had never tried before. Frostinos are a range of creamy iced drinks for utter indulgence. Available in 6 delicious flavours they are sure to be a hit of they already aren’t.

Double Chocolate Cookie, Vanilla Frostino, Coffee Frostino, Caramel Latte Frostino & Strawberry Cream Frostino are other options but the one I chose was the Belgian Chocolate Frostino: Belgian chocolate sauce blended with fresh milk and ice, finished with an extra swirl of sauce and fresh cream. Nice and thick and not too sweet – that was something I liked as it wasn’t an overdose of sugar. It has the bitterness of coffee with some sweetness of the Belgian chocolate. With lots of chocolate chips and cream. It’s really good!

Vanilla Lattes From CCD

Vanilla lattes are one of my favourite coffees to drink. Ofcourse now because of Covid I mostly order in my coffees, be it hot lattes or cappuccinos or cold frappes from one of the coffeeshops. Today’s brew is from Cafe Coffee Day. My once favourite place to go for a cold or hot coffee. They haven’t seemed to improve on their menu much but some of their coffees sure do hit the spot.

Vanilla lattes are made with 1?¼ cups 2% milk, 2 tablespoons vanilla flavored syrup & 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger brewed espresso. Pour milk into a steaming pitcher and heat to 145 degrees F to 165 degrees F (65 to 70 degrees C) using the steaming wand. Measure the vanilla syrup into a large coffee mug. Brew espresso, then add to mug. Pour the steamed milk into the mug, using a spoon to hold back the foam. Spoon foam over the top.

These are best enjoyed hot and with a biscotti or some cookies on the side. Or maybe a muffin. Or even a sandwich. Hmmm I could go for a nice sandwich right about now.

Coffee Is Life

How many of you are coffee drinkers? I first started drinking coffee at around the age of 13. Once I stopped drinking milk – flavoured or otherwise – for breakfast I started drinking tea. Being in India, tea is a big thing but in the South we tend to drink a lot of coffee as well. Then ofcourse once the coffeeshop boom hit us, I think coffee drinking has a big boost in consumption numbers.

So like I said I started drinking tea at around 8 or 9 years old but I drank so little of it. I tend to not like tea with milk; the taste is off putting. Once I started drinking coffee, not only did I like the taste but I also liked the energy it gives me. Since that time – I am now 44 – I am kinda addicted to it. I need a big cup to just wake up in the morning and another cup a little later on. In the evening I want one more cup atleast and 2 unless I am drinking some juice or a Coke/Pepsi/7up or maybe a beer.

As I make my 3rd cup of coffee while still drafting this, I wish I had a nice big top of the line coffee machine that can make cappuccinos, lattes & espressos. Proper machine. And what about the frappes? I wish I could make them at home. Where is a food replicator when you need one eh?

Starbucks Cravings

Well it has happened. I guess I am a basic bitch! LOL, I hate that term and I will call all who use it to go and fuck off. Yeah, fuck off cause we are not basic bitches. But I, as do lots of people, love Starbucks coffee.

I had been waiting for years for Starbucks to finally come to our shores and they have. So it is plain and simple to see that I would want to visit them over and over again. Now because of Covid and because the only Starbucks we have in Cochin is in Lulu Mall (which is quite crowded) I do not want to go there. Instead Zomato has a delivery service agreement with them. So I have ordered a few coffees since they launched.

Now with the 4th coffee that I have had from them (5th if you count the macchiato I had in Chennai back in 2015) I have a greater appreciation for them. But not for the charges which are really high. Though my latest frappe from them wasn’t the greatest. It was a strawberries and cream frappucino which was more artificial tasting than anything and had no coffee flavour. Point to self; avoid anything strawberryish from Starbucks. I’m already awaiting my next orders from them since I am developing quite the craving for sweet coffee and whipped cream with dollops of sinful chocolate syrups.

If only they weren’t so damn expensive!

Yes! Finally We Have A Starbucks In Cochin

Read This. And then this little article. And then my first visit to a Starbucks (not in Cochin but in Chennai) back in 2015. And now….

We finally have a Starbucks open in Cochin! Finally after all this time. I first heard about Starbucks on a Discovery Channel program back in the 90s. I think. Coffeeshop culture hadn’t hit India at the time. Then Friends became a thing and Indian fans of the show wanted their own cafes. Enter Cafe Coffee Day which soon spread all over India and became our version of Tim Hortons & Starbucks. But we wanted more.

In 2008 I had heard about the possibilities of Starbucks coming to India but it was only in 2012 that they finally did launch – I was informed of this via an NYTimes article sent to me via Twitter by a Canadian who was living & working in India at the time. Starbucks had started a partnership with Tata Global Beverages LTD to launch Starbucks in India with 50 cafes. I visited a Starbucks for the first and only time back in 2016 when I was in Chennai and the mall that I was in just happened to have one. And now, 2020 we finally have a Starbucks in my hometown.

Located at Lulu Mall, Kochi is Starbucks’ 14th city and the company’s 201st store. I’m sure than in a few years we will have a store in Calicut, Trivandrum and maybe Thrissur as well. Now if I can get a part time job there to be able to afford the coffees and food.

Coffee Tumbler Collection

I like coffee. I like coffee cups and coffee mugs and coffee tumblers. And I cannot lie. I want to have a nice collection of different mugs with designs and logos on it. I currently have 2 coffee mugs, the regular stuff, which are predominantly white but have some colourful logos on it.

I also have a camera coffee mug and 2 more that I have still in the box. I just haven’t opened them up but I know that they are there. Back when I was teen, I bought my first unique looking coffee mug, different from the usual set that my family used, and I always wanted to drink my coffee from that mug.

I think I also have another one that is huge and it was a gift given to me by someone who for no reason that I can think of went away from my life quite shortly after I was given that gift. And now I have these two coffee mugs – very similar to the one that is shown here in the pic. These were sent as a gift to me and I love them. I will also look out for similar ones as well as I love these.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a coffee drink made with a mix of traditional autumn spice flavors (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove), steamed milk, espresso, and often sugar, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Since 2015, it has also often contained a small amount of pumpkin puree. The drink is offered by Starbucks, Tim Hortons and many other cafés on a seasonal basis, usually available from late August through January.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a medium microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the milk is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.

Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Missing Cafes

IMG20200821171219One of the I miss since the Coronavirus hit us is sipping coffee in a nice cafe. I love coffee and I love sipping hot or cold coffee depending on the weather. But I rarely drink cold coffee at home since I don’t know how to make them. So when I am out and about I tend to look for a nice cafe and if I have time, will relax for an hour or so.

If it is regular day then I will have a cold coffee/frappe and if I am in the mood for extra sweetness, I will get one that has whipped cream or even ice cream in it. Or if it is a cold & rainy day then I will order a hot latte or mochacino and sip it slowly as the seconds tick over into minutes and minutes into an hour or so. And I can relax in the cafe, listen to some music on my headphones or watch whatever they have on the telly.

Since the lockdown I haven’t been out to get coffee. I have missed them and I do not know why I took this long to order some. Atleast some places do deliver. Cafe Coffee Day, which has dropped in quality quite a bit and still has some rather ridiculously priced, atleast they have decent coffee. And they have signed up with both Swiggy & Zomato for delivery. This past week I have ordered twice. I wanted a hot chocolate a few days and so got two – one for my mom and one for me. This past Thursday, after I had to go out for a couple of errands, I was siipping a banana caramel latte at home. Delicious. I still prefer the cafes though.