“Welcome to Starbucks”
For most, it’s just a greeting. Yet when I step into one of ‘my’ bucks, I know I am really welcome. Whether it is the one in Khar or Linking Road, Bandra; the staff makes me feel welcome. The atmosphere warm, the vibe welcoming. They know my coffee and they know how I like it.
That speaks volumes for not just how I am as a customer (I know I need a coffee rehab) but also how the culture of this foreign brand of coffee shops is changing the scenario of a café in Mumbai. I cannot speak for the country, but yes, these coffee shops have become an integral part of the Mumbai culture. It has become the new hub for personal as well as professional meetings.
But what I love the most at these cafés, is the concept of share the table. Of how you see familiar faces, new faces; and you connect with people on co-incidentally over-heard conversations and curiosity over a book they are reading. You can talk without being overheard and do your thing without being judged. You bump into people from all walks of life and make business contacts with people who were complete strangers.
I have made friends here. And my ‘other’ friends asked, “You have a friend you made at a coffee shop?” Yes I do and let’s not be quick to judge. Think about it. We make friends at schools, colleges, work places. For that matter you make friends when you are drunk at a bar! How much did you know a person before you met them there? Your friend who has been with you since school or college, did you know about their background before you became friends? The answer is no. Irrespective of where you meet a ‘friend’, it is a leap of faith you take. And Starbucks made me have this faith again and again.
Now this is ‘minus the food and drinks’ part of the culture! Let us talk the real deal.
The coffee for us barely sleeping, over working ‘working upper class’ is a must have. The boy at office might make a killer coffee but the one that wakes you will be a dark, strong coffee of a coffee shop. This place will also provide sweet frappuccinos for long conversation with friends, hot chocolate on a cold evening or a monsoon evening and a bite of decent café food.
What also is the part of my Starbucks experience is the distinctive décor and ambience of each café. The texture of the walls, colours of the upholstery and a unique element to each café wins itself a crowd that not only is a patron to their coffees but also the rare vibes of the café.
Though for an Indian, coffee and food are ‘over’ overpriced and not for everyday purposes, we still love the taste of this New York-like culture that is slowly blending into the Mumbai ‘chai’
I will finish this with a lot of love to this culture for giving me an interesting array of friends, inspiring my quirkiness and adding caffeine to my craziness.
Until my next sip of the classic latte with a victorious heart on it, KEEP IT REAL
PS: A big shout out to Miss Shivani Gawde from BingeFactory for doing this for me
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