A few years ago, while visiting Hong Kong, Starbucks (Staabaa as the locals called it in Hong Kong!) was the preferred place for us to have a steaming hot cup of either coffee or tea, alongwith a few green tea cookies which we absolutely loved.
Then, almost a year after that we visited Coorg, where it was enthralling seeing how a uniquely aromatic coffee is grown in lush green estates of Tata Coffee, alongwith spices like cardamom and pepper. That inspired Neeti, a pure tea-drinker to write about flirting with coffee, which she had covered in her blog.
Little did we realise at that moment that Starbucks was going to partner Tata Coffee to get the chain to India, sourcing coffee from the same lovely green plantations that we had visited about two years back.
About 10 days back, their first outlet opened at Horiman Circle followed by two more, one of which was closer to home, at Oberoi Mall.
We made a serious attempt to visit the outlet for breakfast today - the anticipation of having green tea cookies again kept awake till long last night! But we overestimated ourselves. Breakfast at Starbucks was tall order, as laziness ruled the weather, at home, this morning.
I thanked my stars when we finally left home at nearly 1PM. In about 20 minutes we were at Oberoi Mall. But the time we saved in getting to Starbucks was all wasted in the long queue full of excited people - mostly young, some elderly and few expatriates for whom having Starbucks coffee surely must be nostalgic.
After about 30 minutes of waiting, we got a table. We were to place our orders - frappucinos, double chocolate chip muffins, mushroom chicken pie and a corn brioche.
I must admit that the frappucino was intensely flavourful. The pie was flaky, crusty and fresh - the chicken inside was meaty without an overbearing spiciness that is so common at a Café Coffee Day or a Barista. The muffin too was much better than what I have had elsewhere. As Neeti put it, it was again, another flirtation with coffee!
But to my dismay, there were no green tea cookies!
As we moved out, the Café Coffee Day outlet hardly had a soul in it. So did Gloria Jeans. This was the Starbucks effect for sure.
While the stuff here at Starbucks was excellent, it is indeed too early to give a verdict. Today Starbucks has only three outlets, all in Mumbai. Will the quality still be the same when they have over 50, 100, 200 outlets? I wonder! It will be a challenge - in the Indian restaurant and café business quality does indeed take a plunge with an increased reach.
Despite enjoying a decent snack, my mind was still on the green tea cookies! And I could not resist calling my sis to send in some from Starbucks in China! Our real Starbucking has just begun!