Getting high on coffee

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 06, 2009
For the first time in India, Barista Lavazza has introduced a blend of coffee with alcohol

With Barista introducing its range of liqueur coffees, called Cheers to Coffee, you can now enjoy your cuppa with a hic.

Starting November 5, Barista is offering a range of coffee to its patrons with a dash of wine, rum, beer, whisky or vodka. These are in the price range of Rs 199-299, excluding taxes.

& #BANNER1 & #Cheers to Coffee is currently available only at the Barista Lavazza outlet in Defence Colony, New Delhi, where the banners read 'don't drink and drive'.

"Since the concept of selling coffee with liqueur is still new to India, right now we are only experimenting with it," says Sanjay Coutinho, chief operating officer, Barista Coffee Company Ltd.

He adds that this is not for revenue generation and is primarily a pilot project. With this, Barista has also taken a leap by offering wine and beer at its outlets.

Coutinho's favourite liqueur drink is Baileys Blast, which comes with Bacardi superior rum, caramel shaken with cream and poured over ice, which he says "is completely refreshing".

Owned by Italy's largest coffee company Lavazza, Barista is targeting a niche, liberal customer segment above the age of 25 years. It currently has about 230 stores across the country and plans to add 40-45 more this year. Of these, 21 have already been added.

Barista currently has an L-4 licence, which is granted to an independent restaurant approved by the Department of Tourism, Government of India. According to this, the restaurant should be situated in a commercial area, with adequate parking space and should not be within a distance of 75 metres from educational institutions and religious places.

Based on the feedback from guests, number of orders served and above all, the permit to serve liqueur, the company plans to provide the Cheers to Coffee range at 10-12 outlets in the country by next year.

"In India, you have many limitations for selling liquor. For example, in Tamil Nadu, a commercial establishment needs at least 14 rooms to be able to offer liqueur, which is only possible in a resort or a hotel. Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, since they have stopped providing licenses, you have to trade it. And Gujarat is a dry state," says Coutinho.

The company, whose coffee beans come from Chennai based Fresh&Honest, has currently tied up with Foster and Sula for supply of beer and wine respectively. The Delhi based company recently also introduced chocolates with coffee paste filling.

Although a new concept in India, internationally, liqueur coffee is a very popular item, where coffee parlours offer a variety of flavours and brews, and some also offer hard liquor.

The liquor coffee comes with an average of 30 ml of alcohol and does not exceed the 60 ml limit because, as brew-master Atul Sudharm says, "We do not want our customers to get high on the drink and get unconscious but rather enjoy it slowly."