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Cooooofffeeee! Part 2

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Clearly my 1st Starbucks experience in India was utterly sub-par… So why bother with a Part 2?

Well… as is often the case in life… there is more to the story!

1. Bandra Reclamation Starbucks – Part 2

Embroiled in local tussles regarding bribes… ahem licensing issues, apparently the power cut issue is only one symptom. One hopes that whatever lafra (a brilliant Hindi slang word that roughly translates as ‘trouble’) is going on is resolved soon.

However even with full power:

  • The staffs were as unhappy to be there as their miserable patrons
  • Only one guy sorta had a clue how the Wi-Fi password worked and it was completely beyond him to understand that the internet connection was instantly compromised!
  • It is small, cramped and a poor cousin of the comfortable coffee shops conducive to writing, blogging faffery and more!

2. Starbucks at the landmark Taj Mahal Palace & Hotel

So, when before seeing Mumbai vs Mumbai (with Rathod the Roach Killer), a proposal was made to go to Starbucks in SoBo (South Bombay)… My first thought was – you have got to be kidding!? Especially when the proposal was to take my partner’s mother there too as a ‘treat’!

However, I kept my grumblings at bay and bravely said – ‘Sure, let’s go!’ (pasting on enthusiastic fake face). And off we went to the Starbucks behind the Taj Hotel….

I walked in and my jaw dropped! Bustling with energy, efficiency, perky happy staff, well-heeled patrons, savouring perfectly made soy lattes, cappuccino, americanos in cool comfort.

This could not be the same company at all?! Such a contrast, I felt like I had stumbled into a different dimension! Spacious, cool, the exact same coffee as I ordered in Bandra was waaaaay better… you would never think it was part of the same ‘chain’!

Check out a couple quick pics….

Taj Starbucks

Taj Starbucks

Inside Taj Starbucks

Inside Taj Starbucks

Glamorous photos of coffee drinkers...

Glam shots of coffee drinkers…

3. Starbucks at Fort

When the message from my partner asking for coffee came after we’d already finished our coffees, snacks, deserts… What did we do? We naturally decided to check out the Starbucks in Fort! What else?!

Once we navigated around the film shoot in progress… and opened the door… I was awestruck. It is MASSIVE! And I do mean HUUUUUGGGEE!! Prime SoBo real estate transformed into a temple to coffee!

My pics do not do justice – walk into a main room with one area to order a coffee, the move on to the centre coffee bar to pick up your brew. There is an upstairs space, then an even larger room behind the coffee bar to lounge, chat, enjoy, all abuzz with happy energy, fuelled by caffeine.

Regular sight in SoBo - film shoot

Regular sight in SoBo – film shoot

Fort Starbucks

Fort Starbucks

Coffee bar

Coffee bar

An alter to coffee...

Homage to that dark brew…

Can you believe the contrast? If either of these SoBo Starbucks were walking distance from home, they would become my new ‘office’.

Ratings: Taj and Fort Starbucks – surpassed what you would expect!

Ever find radically different experiences from the same ‘chain’?

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11 Comments

  1. Phew! Your sanity has been restored. And blog faffery resumed. All is well with the world.

  2. gkm2011 says:

    I don’t remember seeing such a huge difference before, but probably there is. They talk about people getting married in KFC in China when it first came because it was so different, now – normal everywhere….

    • Yes the new normal is what was extraordinary before! I was at the 1st Barista opening in Greater Kailash I in New Delhi in 2000.

      Such a big deal it was covered in the Times of India. The funny thing is my friends and I stumbled on the ceremony – I had spotted the sign and thought – hey coffee!! We were their first customers – ever! On the house 🙂 It was the start of coffee shops in India… before Barista, you could not get a cappuccino anywhere!

  3. Expat Eye says:

    Ah faffery. 🙂 They still do shit tea though!

    • Faffery is officially my new favourite word! And I fully credit Lady of the Cakes for it. 🙂

      All this talk of tea is prompting me to go buy more Tulsi green tea… that used to be my beverage of choice in the afternoons. I ran out just before the Canada trip and Indonesia jaunts began and haven’t been home in Mumbai long enough to bother to replace.

      Now that it looks like I will have another two to three weeks home – time to re-stock!!

  4. Suparna says:

    Its the same here in Delhi Select City Walk… 🙂

  5. vidamanejo says:

    I have tried Starbucks in Delhi in a few places and I have to say – not impressed! Maybe I just like Cafe Coffee Day much better now that I have been in India for a few years.

    • I’m not a massive Starbucks fan… and my Bandra experience was very sad. However the SoBo ones are another universe.

      For me – it ultimately comes down to location. I can’t walk to a CCD from home. I can to Bru World Café. So…

      For Delhi I still remember when Barrista first came. Real coffee vs instant was WOW!

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