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.

Pumkin 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.

Sunday Morning Shopping In Hypermart

If you want to go to Lulu Hypermart for shopping for groceries and stuff, then go on a weekday in the morning hours before late afternoon. For me, Sunday morning is the day for doing it. I remember going a couple of times in the morning, by 9:45 am and still they have a lot of people in it. The problem is, we don’t have large groceries stores like Walmart or Sobeys or Costco etc etc. We have just this one Hypermart in the entire city and state – well atleast until the Thriuvananthapuram and Calicut malls open.

Anyways, I went yesterday but it was later than I wanted to. I kept the alarm for 7 am so I could leave by 9ish. However since I went to bed only by 2:30 am and slept fitfully I went back to sleep till 8:30 and only left my home a little after 10am. I was in the mall by 10:30 am and quickly had a breakfast of an ice cold latte and a chicken & cheese sandwich at Costa Coffee and then found a cart and went in. It was quite busy but not as busy as it usually is in the evenings. Getting there by 9:30 am is actually much better.

I bought soaps, I bought some chocolate, cheese, apples, plums, eggless mayo, nuts roasted in pepper, cashewnuts, fresh baked cookies, hamburger buns and bread, biscuits, dates, coffee, sugar etc etc. It cost me quite a bit (trust me these things are expensive here) but it was fun and it had been a year since I last went to hypermart. I just wish we had more of them and that they were cheaper.

New Cafe 17 Outlet In Ravipuram

Today was the day after almost a month that I was able to go out and enjoy the day. With the work going on in my apartment and then my foot injury/minor tor fracture. The last day I went out – enjoying a movie and dinner – was on July 6th. Since then I have stayed in, mostly not due to choice. Even last week I thought I might go out but the heavy rains and cold weather plus the fact that my feet was still tender. That would change today. I thought if I woke up earlier yesterday I would have gone out but I ended up waking only by 11:45 am and decided to stay in.

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Today I decided to go check out the new outlet if Cafe 17 which is in Ravipuram. Their original outlet is in Kaloor on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road, which is the one I have gone to a few times, and they also opened one in Edapally which is around 45 minutes away from me in heavy traffic. I thought this outlet would be better and wanted to check it out as it was bigger – the Kaloor one is very small with just a a couple of couches and 4 tables – and their food is awesome.

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I managed to find the place after a bit of trouble. It wasn’t showing up on UberEats or Swiggy’s apps when I tried booking a ride so I googled the building it was in and then tried guiding the driver to the area. However I made a mistake as there were two Dell outlets in that part of the city and I went to the one about 10 minutes away and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Cafe. Then I walked back and realized that it was on a parallel road and walked again for about 10-12 minutes before I found myself there. I wiped my face as I was sweating buckets and then went straight to their washroom on the 1st floor.

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That’s right, they have 2 floors although the ground floor section isn’t that big. But I like their new digs and quickly ordered a cold coffee with ice cream and the Crazy Beef burger but first asking for some cold water which the attentive staff quickly gave me. Nice place and plenty of place to sit. Loved the cold coffee and the beef burger was pretty good too. More than decent French fries on the side. The total bill came to around RS. 525. Overall happy that they have expanded.

It’s Coffee O’Clock

I love my coffee. I drink 3-4 cups of coffee or life giving nectar as I like to call it. I cannot start my day without a cup and usually it is 2 cups a morning after which I start to feel like a human being and less like a zombie from The Walking Dead.

Do you like your coffee as black as the night on a moonless night or the colour of brown / mocha? See sometimes I like my coffee strong, sweet and black and sometimes I need to add milk in it. We don’t use cream or anything else in it over here. It’s either milk or nothing at all. I wish we had more options. I also see some people adding stuff like eggnog in their coffee. I have never had eggnog before but I would love to try some and then see if it goes well instead of milk in my coffee.

Any which way you like your coffee, it is an essential part of a lot of us. Even more than beer or vodka. Gasp! I can’t believe I just say that. Coffee is more essential to me than beer & vodka – the horror!! LOL, I kid. I love coffee. Bring me another cup.

Coffee Choice

Coffee is that life giving liquid that changes us – well atleast once you turn 30 – from zombies to functional human beings ready to face the day and go to work or whatever in the morning once you have had a cup. In my case it’s also something I drink between 11 am to 12pm as I work late evening shifts that start at 6:30 pm and end at 3:30 am with me reaching home between 4am to 4:30 am. So I find it absolutely necessary to drink my share of coffee.

Here are the three brands of coffee that I usually drink. Out of these Bru is what I prefer to drink and this is the one we buy more often and Nescafe is the one I get when the other two are not available. Sunrise is ok and I pic that from time to time as an alternative but Bru is still the best option available for my and my family’s taste buds.

 

And yeah, we drink instant coffee since not many of us have coffee machines – I could buy one but the bags of coffee are more expensive, I think. So instant it greenwoods personal credit is. Less of a hassle in making it as well.

Battling Sleep & Tiredness With Black Gold

If I had to choose between drinking either of only beer or coffee for the rest of my life I guess I would have to reluctantly pick coffee. You can’t drink beer in the mornings and besides, Captain Janeway beat the Borg with it. Good morning!

Nothing can beat the taste of a nice big mug of strong coffee just after you wake up. I like my coffee strong, with or without milk and sweet. I need the sweetness but I also like a bite of coffee bitterness so I make it strong.

Mornings like today are perfect examples : I woke up early, by 5 am, as I had fallen asleep quite early for me. By 11:30 pm or so my eyelids were getting droopy so I switched off the lights and went to sleep. The two beers I had last night were the culprit. Anyways I woke up by 5 am as it was kinda hot.

I still lay in bed in the dark and checked my phone. I went online to Facebook and also played a few games but then tried to go back to sleep. Still groggy at 7 am I finally gave up and woke up. I brushed my teeth and washed my face and went to make my first cup of coffee for the day. Ah! Much better.

Newest CCD Outlet In Kaloor

India’s largest coffeehouse chain, Cafe Coffee Day, is one of the places I mostly have visited for a (usually) cold coffee/frappe fix and a little bite to eat on weekends or other days that I am free. Ever since 2006 I have frequently CCD but in more recent months – since 2015 – I have preferred the more independent chains as even though CCD still has probably some really good frappes/lattes and other beverages, their snacks and sandwiches are very lacking.

Still it is convenient as they now have 3 outlets near me and one small one in Lulu Mall which is a place I go for movies. Yesterday I visited their newest outlet in my city and which is also very close to my residence. It is the spanking, brand new outlet on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road. It was opened in November 2017 and is a pretty cool place to while away some time in, while drinking your caffeine intake for the day.

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Lappy Date

Just like my earlier post about books and not reading much in the form of novels when I used to read a lot. I also haven’t been taking my laptop to a cafe and going online while drinking the cafe’s coffees and frappes or eating a sandwich. It’s been ages and I miss it.

As I am planning a mini-vacation or staycation for a few days starting Wednesday, I plan to go to a couple of cafes which used to be my faourite places to go to. I am checking up on various cafes that do offer free Wifi (I can think of only two at the moment) and I plan to go there sometime this week; early by atleast 11 or 11:30 am and order a large coffee and a sandwich and ask them for their wifi password. And I plan to sit down and take out my mouse (the USB kind, take your mind out of the gutter) and click on to the browsers.

So once aga cialis pricing in, if only for a little while, I will rejoin the Republic of Laptopistan and drink coffee in a cafe while browsing the internet.

Laptop, Wifi, Coffeeshop & You

It has been so long, longer than I can even remember since I just went into a cafe with a laptop and sat there for a couple of hours browsing through the internet and drinking coffee. I think the last time I did that was more than 4 or 5 years ago?

I used to take my laptop – not my 2 year old Dell but my previous laptop which was a Lenovo – with me to many places. Mostly to one of the cafes I used to frequent. The two Cafe Coffee Days in the city, or Coffee Cube which has free Wifi or the Barista that shut down a few years ago – they also had free Wifi. I used to order a cup or two of coffee, a sandwich or a muffin, maybe a small bottle of water and for two hours or so, be online. It’s the same as doing it from home but you get better coffees.

I kinda miss that time. I loved doing that. I’ve even taken my laptop to a couple of restaurants and to a bar a few times. Didn’t use it much there but atleast a half hour or so. Which was fun. But coffee in a coffeeshop and free Wifi go hand in hand. There is one place that has decent food and has free Wifi – the others have closed – and I think I will pick a Saturday and go there with my Dell.

The Decline Of A Coffeeshop Chain

Before I start, I should say that this is solely based on what I have experienced in my hometown of Cochin. Cafe Coffee Day is an Indian coffeehouse chain. They have outlets in all major cities and towns. They are the Starbucks or Tim Hortons of India. A few years ago CCD was the only coffee shop option we had in most cities and I frequented them on a weekly basis. Every Sunday or Saturday out since 2006 started at CCD with a nice thick frappe and maybe a muffin or a sandwich to go along with it.

Until a couple of years ago we had maybe one or two other options for a quick bite to eat like a sandwich or muffins,  maybe a pasty or cake and some delicious cold or hot coffee. Now – there are lots of various options with the slew of independent outlets that have come up. Some have 2 or 3 outlets in the city/state as well and foodies are flocking to them. CCD has 6 outlets in Kochi, 2 of which I have been to. They have 1 in Lulu Mall and 1 near Center Mall and one on MG Road a couple of kilometers from Center Mall (the one that I have been going to the last 3 times). Once a retreat for me, a place where I could go with a book and relax for a couple of hours, have a sub and big frappe it is now the least favourite option.

The last couple of times I have been inside a CCD I found that their sub sandwich have not only increased in price but decreased in taste and quantity of what’s inside. Miserly little things and debit consolidation they have the audacity to serve way beyond mediocre sliders and call then international burger fest! American classic burger – two sliders with chicken cutlets (the Indian kind) and hardly anything else. The two cafes I have been to look old and badly in need of sprucing up. I haven’t been to any of the other outlets though I had seen the CCD in Lulu Mall and it being the newer on, looks more inviting. I will stick to my choices of other outlets most of the time but once in a while I guess I will visit a CCD for old time’s sake.