In a price-sensitive market like India, brands have their own cycle of growth. With new region entry, global brands get high attention, which later stabilises. However, completing 100 stores in India and stepping up their game over these years, Starbucks India seems to be on an expansion spree and how! Being someone who is not fully functional without her dose of caffeine, I have tried most of the coffee places in the city and couldn’t afford to go through the fear of missing out on the much-talked-about 100th store of Starbucks India.
As I entered, I was greeted by a carved wood wall art that honours India’s coffee heritage at the Tata Starbucks store located at Victoria Mills (Kamala Mills). The area being one of Mumbai’s major commercial hubs, the location chosen for the store comes across very strategic and smart as always. The earthy hues and natural wood materials ushered a distinct warmth and comfort in me as the amicable staff through their friendly smiles and impressive knowledge wooed me.
The Christmas-y vibe done right
I was totally love-struck over the colour-in holiday cup unveiled by Starbucks, this year. It looks totally colouring book inspired and evoked a rush of nostalgia in me, reminiscing my childhood. With a pair of hands holding red cups of coffee, swirling ribbons with lively holiday scenes and splashes of red and green, the holiday cup couldn’t have portrayed Christmas more beautifully while reassuring you that it’s indeed going to be a Merry Christmas!
Falling into the Starbucks way of devouring coffee
Aishwarya from the store introduced me to the Starbucks way of enjoying coffee which ranges from inhaling and appreciating the aroma with eyes closed and then gradually tasting it. The first coffee I was to try was the India Estates blend from Karnataka that was prepared using the pour-over method right in front of me. With lush herbal notes, hints of citrus and a chocolaty mouth-feel, the coffee was something only true caffeine lovers will be able to understand and won’t be able to get enough of!
I tried three other drinks which have been launched as Winter/Christmas specials. The Starbucks Vanilla Nougat Latte combined Starbucks Signature Espresso, nougat sauce and a rich taste of French vanilla. Topped with whipped cream, mixed berry drizzle, and sprinkles of strawberry almond nougat candy, it became my favourite from the day and it’s going to be a guilty pleasure I’ll indulge in all through the winters. The Toffee Nut Crunch Latte comes with crispy crunch topping that complements espresso and steamed milk accented by subtle caramelized sweetness is also worth recommending. For chocoholics, the Mocha Praline Latte with a rich chocolate flavour complimented with hazelnut syrup, topped with whipped cream and mocha sauce drizzle is as sinful as it can get!
Hits and misses
The store is the first Starbucks in India to serve Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew, a small-batch Cold Brew coffee steeped overnight and then infused with nitrogen for a naturally sweet flavour and velvety smooth mouth-feel which was definitely a hit from the day. The staff also recommended me the Carrot Cake with Cream and I can’t stop raving about how it’s not overly sweet but indulgent in the right way! It could well be touted as the best dessert at the store.
The experience taught me a thing or two about the appreciation of the beverage. Another fact, I admired was that the takeaway bags at the 100th store are sourced from Srishti, an initiative that enables livelihood opportunities for young people with disabilities from the families of plantation workers. I love how Tata Starbucks is taking the revered bean to heights and championing social responsibility coupled with being on the top of the luxury coffee game. So for vibrant holiday cups and a drizzle of indulgence, don’t forget to partake in a Starbucks experience which is worth all the bucks spent!
Where: Tata Starbucks
Ground Floor, Smaash, Victoria Mills,
Senapati Bapat, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400019
Note: The critic was invited by Starbucks but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own