Coffeewala Roasters, desires to make premium quality fresh-roasted coffee available on the streets of Delhi. We want to see a local coffee stand in every basti and in every marketplace. We also fresh-roast and sell 250 grams packs for brewing at home.
Coffee in India has carried a stereotype that it is Western or only Westerners like real coffee. Most people here prefer the instant variety. However, when examining Indian history, coffee came to India from the Arabian Peninsula long before it’s current Western popularity. For example: chai was once a “foreign” product of the British, but today it’s in every locality throughout India. We want to see the same thing happen with coffee!
For my first two years living in India I couldn’t find any good coffee. Most coffee consumed here in India is instant coffee brewed directly in milk and sugar. When I would venture to a nicer place and try a coffee house I found that often the coffee was mixed with chikory and there was no indication that it was freshly roasted.
Around this time I met a PhD student who was roasting his own coffee that he had purchased from www.sweetmarias.com. I remembered this encounter and upon completion of my studies in India I returned to the States and purchased green beans from Sweet Marias. Upon my return to India I began teaching English in a coaching institute in Uttar Pradesh. It was there in Moradabad, UP that I began roasting coffee. I was roasting beans from Kenya, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Yemen. My favorite was Yemen (see Coffee History to read about Yemen’s connection with Indian coffee).
During a class I was teaching, one of my students asked if they could learn how to give formal business proposals. I agreed and we began to train and prepare to give a business proposal in one week. I also worked on a proposal, “When Chaiwalas Become Coffeewalas.” Thus was born my business idea for Coffeewala Roasters. I had a lot of fun exposing some of the misunderstandings and assumptions that many Indians have about coffee. One of the greatest is that coffee is a drink from the West.
I asked them if chai is also a Western drink or is it Indian? They emphatically responded that it was Indian, however, one young man wanted to show me his knowledge of Indian history. He exclaimed loudly, “No, it was British!” Many of his friends surrounding him agreed with him. However, I did not. I asked the group how many British chaiwalas were busy making chai in Moradabad that morning. We all had a good laugh and came to the conclusion together that even if chai had once been a foreign product of the British, it was now and forevermore something Indian!
At the end of the proposal I made them coffee using a coffee sock filter. They enjoyed it, but many didn’t sleep well that night. It was a little late drinking real coffee and not their usual Nescafe variety.
In January of 2013 I moved to Delhi, purchased green coffee from Chikmagalur, Karnataka, and began roasting Indian coffee for the first time. It was such a special pleasure to discover the rich flavor, the bright fruitiness, and the dark chocolate undertones that are available in this coffee. Soon I was supplying many of my friends and then it was friends of friends and now we are beginning to supply local coffee stands. What was once a dream is becoming real! Join us for the Indian coffee experience!