Starbucks inaugurated its first store in India in the historic Elphinstone Building in the Horniman Circle neighborhood of south Mumbai, not far from a vast Hermes shop. After over six years of studying the local market, Starbucks made a rapid-fire entry into Asia's third-largest economy. The company is in a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, and plans to open two more store in Mumbai.
I was so excited - Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee house, with more than 15 thousand stores in over 60 countries. Being very famous for its Caffè Verona, the most loved coffee, was finally in India.
After a long day, I decided to treat myself with a good and probably over priced cup of coffee and something to munch on. So, I thought – Starbucks? Why not?
The store opened on Friday and there was a wait for almost 2 hrs for a cup of coffee, by the time I got free today, it was almost six, probably the worst time to go there. I had heard so much about it that I actually didn’t mind waiting for an hour or two, to taste what they had in store.
Here’s a bit of how my experience was.
For a person like me, who is really bad with directions, the shop was very difficult to find. After walking for what seemed like a mile, I was there, the huge Starbucks logo caught my eye and so did the number of cars parked.
Located in the beautiful Elphinstone Building, the location couldn’t have been better.
Far but not too far from the main road i.e. it was kind of far from the all the traffic and the ear-hurting honking but not too far from a bus stop or an easy-to-get-a-cab zone.
The Perpetual Wait
Believe me; from the day it has opened, it is more famous for its queues rather than its coffee.
There was a huge queue outside as well as inside, while I was one of those idiots who would wait outside for 30 mins in Mumbai’s heat to get a coffee. There were people who overshadowed me as well. The lady in front of me was waiting for more than one and an half hours to have -what she referred to as ‘My Perfect Coffee’.
The line was so long that you could actually discuss your entire life and still run out of topics to talk about.
Once inside, well, first of all, ‘once inside’ is a BIG deal – and secondly once you get it – you wouldn’t want to leave.
The ambience was extravagant. Even with around 30 people standing in a queue – the shop had ALOT free space. With huge curtains, comfortable seats and perfect lighting, it was beautiful, elegant and mesmerizing.
The jaw-dropping decorations and breath taking furnishing astounded me .The aroma of coffee filled the atmosphere and even though there was no music, the sound of coffee blending was a great touch.
The air conditioning was perfect – it was the kinds you could sit and relax in and not feel even the slightest of the need to change the temperature or put on little scarf because your legs are cold.
Also, not to forget, the free WiFi is a like a gift coupon for all the Android users.
It was truly the best staff I have ever seen. They managed to keep the customer jolly even when they were waiting for their coffees. They kept communicating and at times making jokes here and there. Some were funny, other were kittenish – but if it helps to keep you from getting bored – why not?
The service was quick, coffee was on self service – food was served on the table.
Though , the watchmen complained about not been given even a drop of water after working the entire day , no such issues were brought up by the staff working inside.
Menu was something below my expectations. There were about 15 to 20 types coffees but there was nothing different or unique about the menu.
If I was asked – did they Indian-ize the menu?
I would say, they tried to go down that road a bit – with Chai Tea Latte, but maybe that was all they could come up with.
Expect this stand they had near the entrance, with ‘Chatri’ written on it –like that helps.
There was food to eat, but not much for the veggies.
Just a suggestion for all the vegetarians – if you want variety in food, this is not the right place for you. Only go there when thirsty.
Finally, after 50 minutes, the coffee I was dying for – was in my hand.
And I was more than ready, to drink, what that lady called ‘My Perfect Coffee’. There was one thing in my head – even if it’s bad and you choke on it, gulp it down, drink even the last drop – because you waited for almost an hour for this thing.
As I took my first sip, I loved it – I had to.
But by the time, I took the next sip; I was out of the bubble that this is the best coffee no matter what. My Café Mocha was over-sweet, it felt like drinking hot melted sugar with a pinch of coffee in it.
Even after an hour later I couldn’t finish that sucrose-extract so – I did something I dreaded the most – yes, I threw it.
Luckily, at the last moment, I had ordered a Corn Brioche Sandwich. And it was totally delicious. It had all the flavors I was looking for and it did sort of –saved the day.
Well, I wouldn’t say it was expensive – and I really can’t say it was cheap.
But – will I go there everyday? No.
Thrice a week? Definitely.
The rates matched Costa Coffee’s. The coffees were for Rs. 150/- (small size) and the food: burgers, croissants etc around Rs: 150/- or so.
It was an amazing experience. In our busy and fast lives, it wouldn’t be possible everyday even though the service is very quick but none of us really has the time as well as the patience to wait for an hour – just for a cup of coffee.
No doubt that it’s an excellent place to just sit and talk and relax. But I would prefer going there – maybe once a week.
Ratings: 3.5 /5