Tata Starbucks Ltd., the joint venture of two global beverage giants, opened its first café in Mumbai this week featuring coffee grown and roasted in the world’s second largest market for tea.
“Our first flagship store in Mumbai is an amazing celebration of great coffee, rich Indian heritage and community,” said Starbucks Chairman, President, and CEO Howard Schultz. “Together, our two companies are bringing an unparalleled experience to India customers. We are investing for the long-term and see great potential for accelerated growth in India.”
The store is located at the historic Elphinstone Building, Horniman Circle. Seating is for 120 people in a cool, soaring space, with hand-carved wooden screens, thick tables of solid Indian teak, painted vintage trunks, and old leather-bound books.
Schultz told the Associated Press he hoped the effect would be like "walking into a shrine of Starbucks coffee."
The shop will offer free Wi-Fi and stay open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on weekends, unusually late for Mumbai cafes.
The 42 menu items reflect local as well as Western tastes, featuring items such as Elaichi Mawa croissants — made with cardamom and milk solids — and tandoori paneer rolls.
The prices position Starbucks at the premium end of India's coffee cafes, with a 12 ounce cappuccino retailing for a little over $2.
The opening marks the beginning of the iconic brand’s India journey. Tata Starbucks Limited will launch two more stores in the next week at Oberoi Mall and the Taj Mahal Palace Annexe in Mumbai.
The venture will then add stores in New Delhi.
“We are proud to enter the India market with Tata Global Beverages, a global company that shares many of the same values that Starbucks was founded on more than 40 years ago,” said Schultz.
“This is a historic moment for Tata Global Beverages and Starbucks,” said R K Krishnakumar, Vice Chairman, Tata Global Beverages. “Both companies have a history of delivering product innovation and the highest quality experience to customers around the globe. We are delighted to come together today and transform the coffee experience for consumers across India, while providing a community gathering place to connect with family and friends.”
In addition to the exceptional third place global experience Starbucks is known for, the two companies are proud to offer Indian Espresso Roast, sourced locally through the coffee sourcing and roasting agreement with Tata Coffee. The Indian Espresso Roast will be a hallmark feature of all Starbucks stores in the market and highlights the quality espresso available in India. As part of the agreement, Starbucks and Tata Coffee Limited will work toward developing and improving the profile of Indian-grown arabica coffees around the world by elevating the stature of Indian coffee, as well as improving the quality of coffee through sustainable practices and advanced agronomy solutions.
Commenting on Tata Starbucks Limited’s first store, Avani Saglani Davda, CEO, Tata Starbucks Limited stated, “We are honored to open our doors to customers today and look forward to sharing our passion for high-quality, locally sourced and roasted espresso; as well as the uplifting moments of connection Starbucks baristas are known for around the globe. Tata Starbucks Limited is committed to investing in the communities where it does business and creating a great work environment for its people.”
The unique flagship store is owned and operated by the joint venture and branded as Starbucks Coffee – “A Tata Alliance”. Strategically located, the store is designed to reflect Starbucks coffee heritage and embrace the local culture, with the artifacts, Indian teakwood furniture, floor design, and interiors created by local craftsmen and artists.
The extensive product portfolio includes Starbucks signature espresso-based beverages, as well as Starbucks VIA Ready Brew and Starbucks Reserves. The store will also offer Tata Tazo and Himalayan mineral water.
Deepening its commitment to community, Tata Starbucks Limited will work to improve the lives of coffee growing communities in the State of Karnataka. The joint venture, through an initial financial commitment, will work to support 'Swastha', a school for children with special needs (in partnership with the Coorg Foundation). Additionally, Tata Starbucks Limited will work on initiatives including the promotion of responsible agronomy practices and training of local farmers, technicians and agronomists to improve their coffee-growing and milling skills.
Along with exploring social projects which could positively impact the communities in the coffee growing regions where Tata Global Beverages is active, the joint venture is committed to supporting the local community near the store. Toward this, Tata Starbucks Limited is proud to be developing a cultural hub in Horniman Circle, where local artists can come together. The first step in the development of this cultural center was the community service project to clean up the area and prepare it for future development, which took place with Starbucks partners earlier this month