Know Your City: With a refreshing look, India Coffee House, Bengaluru, adds a twist in its menu – The Indian Express

The Coffee Board junction on Ambedkar Veedhi road in Bengaluru might just be a traffic landmark for commuters, but the board that houses the India Coffee House (ICH) is an emotional and historical landmark for many. Leave alone the emotions, any passerby cannot ignore the aromatic essence of the coffee brewing in the India Coffee House (ICH) nor can forget the waiters donned in the characteristic Indian attire and the signature turban serving piping hot coffee.
The India Coffee House has come up with a new look this January giving a much-needed facelift to the old structure. The Coffee Board of India, which runs the ICH has a lot in store for coffee lovers. Taking forward the legacy and promoting the coffee ecosystem is the Bengaluru- headquartered Coffee Board of India.
During the 1940s, the coffee industry in India was struggling due to World War II. Very low prices and ravages of pests and diseases had dealt a heavy blow to the sector. At this time, the Government of India established the ‘Coffee Board’ through a constitutional act ‘Coffee Act VII of 1942’ under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The board comprises members from the coffee growing industry, coffee trade, curing establishments, and workers’ community, consumers, representatives of governments of the principal coffee growing states, and Members of Parliament.
However, according to K G Jagadeesha, secretary of the Coffee Board, the board in the 1960s started the India Coffee House to promote pure coffee beverage drinks across the country. The objective was however to not make a ‘profit’ but to ensure that pure coffee reaches every ordinary person at a reasonable price.
In Bengaluru, due to the proximity of the India Coffee House to the Karnataka High Court, Vidhana Soudha, and other government buildings, it is mostly packed with customers including lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and working professionals who exchange ideas, thoughts, and conversations over a cup of coffee.
“ICH was earlier crowded with visitors from the High Court, Vidhana Soudha and surrounding buildings, and there were very few youngsters. Youngsters drinking coffee in the 60s or 70s was not a big phenomenon. It was during the introduction of Espresso machines that served different varieties of coffee when Indian youngsters preferred coffee,” said Jagadeesha.
India Coffee House was initially set up to boost the domestic coffee market and introduce a strong coffee culture in the country. Setting up the base in Bengaluru was very important because Karnataka is the state with the highest area under coffee and highest production of coffee.
However, cut to 2023, the India Coffee House began restructuring its space and also the coffee flavours to attract families and youngsters. As a result, a renovated ICH was inaugurated on January 9 at a cost of Rs 22 lakh. The décor and interiors of India Coffee House have been revamped so as to match the legacy of the 50-year-old iconic building while making a subtle yet strong connection with the youth.
The India Coffee House has also provided an opportunity to Mitti Café, a chain run by the staff of differently-abled personnel, an incubate of the Atal Incubation Centre. The Coffee Board will also use this facility as a training centre for those interested in starting a coffee business from tier-II cities.
Apart from the ‘pure’ coffee, the restaurant also serves lip-smacking snacks such as bread toast, omelette, cutlet, among others. The ICH for the first time will also be introducing different flavours of coffee like latte, mocha, iced coffee among others. In fact, 25 per cent of the coffee beans (mostly Arabica) are sourced from Coffee Board’s own plantations across the country while 75 per cent beans are sourced from the coffee growers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and other states.
Jagadeesh said the renovation is the first step towards a long-term plan to promote coffee across the state. The outer corridor has been modified to accommodate 20 more chairs.
“Coffee Board, as a tradition, supplies only pure filter coffee, and the new menu has been curated by Mitti café who will introduce a specialty segment of coffee. Overall, our aim is to promote entrepreneurship as well as increase coffee consumption across Karnataka,” he said.
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