Starbucks comes to India…finally!

by Khushboo on October 29, 2012

Happy Monday!  If you felt the weekend flew by, consider that a sign of a great weekend :)!  If I have to describe the highlight of my Sunday in one word, it would have to be “Starbucks“.  As crazy as that sounds to those of you living abroad, hear me out!  When I am in London, I don’t look twice when I pass by a Starbucks- it’s kind of a given that I’ll be seeing at least one of those signature green mermaids on every street corner.  Off the top of my head, I can list at least 8 Starbucks which are within a 7-minute walk from our place in London.

However Starbucks in India is a novel concept.  Of course there are local coffee chains like Cafe Coffee Day & Barista around the city, but they all lack the charm of Seattle’s finest.  After years of hearing rumors that Starbucks would be opening in the country, the Tata Group finally turned it into a reality.  October 19th marked the inauguration of the coffee chain in India: Elphinstone Building in the Mumbai’s Horniman Circle. Not even a week later, the second store in Mumbai opened in the Taj Hotel in Colaba.  If China is anything to go by, I have high hopes for Starbucks spreading across India: in 2011, on average they apparently opened up a new Starbucks every 4 day…not too shabby!

 Is it as good as I expected?  Absolutely!  From the homey atmosphere to the replicated interior, Starbucks-specific lingo, and free Wi-Fi, it is Starbucks to the core.  If it wasn’t for the people on a nearby table speaking Hindi amongst each other, I could have been anywhere in the world.  I first ordered a soy iced latte and then an iced Americano, and both were as delicious as I remembered.  Side bar: 4 hours in Starbucks means more than 1 one drink.  India might be the mother of chai, but Starbucks will still be my #1 where chai tea lattes are concerned.  Fortunately it is offered on the menu, along with Starbucks classics like espressos, cappucinos, mochas, frappucinos and so forth.

Unsurprisingly they have also tailored their menu to suit local tastes.  Although I don’t plan on trying out their murgh tikka paninis or elaichi croissants anytime soon, I am sure they will be appreciated by others.  Along with adapting the menu, they have also adjusted the prices…. fortunately ;).   Whereas a tall, soy iced latte would set me back about £2.65 in London, I paid Rs. 115 (about £1.35).  For the soy milk fans, it gets even better: there is no extra charge here!

Would I go back?  I already have plans to later today!  There’s something about being able to order a “tall iced Americano with a shot of soy milk” or a “short skinny chai tea latte, extra hot, to go” that will forever have my heart.  My only regret from yesterday was not ordering my second drink as decaf.  All that caffeine left me feeling wired as hell. 

What’s your go-to drink at Starbucks? 

What was a highlight from your weekend?

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex @ therunwithin October 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm

that is so funny, I had no idea you guys didn’t have it. I am not a fan of starbucks but i mean it is a staple here in the us.

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Not a fan of Starbucks?? *GASP* ;)!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I thought of you when I saw this on the news! Starbucks is taking over the world. 🙂

I’d love to see all of the “local tastes.” Wouldn’t it be cool if they did an International month where they had menu items from around the world?

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Oh I love that idea of doing an international month…the best of each country!

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Parita October 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

It’s about time SBs opened in India! When I visit, I love trying all of the Indian”ified” stuff on McDonalds/Pizza Hut/etc. menus – places I’d never dine at in the states! But in India, it’s all fair game. 🙂 You get your drink on, K!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Haha so true….it’s quite humorous seeing the Indian options on otherwise Western menus! The McAloo burger at McDonalds is extremely popular here!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Woop, finally! I’ve been following your countdown on IG and secretly getting kind of excited for you. I’m the girl that’s looking up Starbucks locations whenever I travel somewhere new, so the highlight of your weekend being a new Bux opening doesn’t sound crazy to me at all. Perfectly normal in fact 😉

I think the thing I love most about Bux is the atmosphere… whenever I walk in there I instantly feel more relaxed and productive. I have no idea what it is – maybe the caffeine? But their drinks are goooood too. I love an iced latte in the summer, and a cappuccino in the winter.

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Don’t you also love that instant whiff of coffee that hits you as soon as you walk through the doors!! I’ve actually never tried their cappucino but I am now going to next time I go :)!

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honeywhatscooking October 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Loved seeing this post K. You had me laughing when you mentioned the people next to you were speaking in Hindi, had they not been you could have been anywhere in the world. I actually saw pics of the interior online and the SB in Mumbai seems to be one of the nicest in the world. It’s so funny they opened one up at the Taj – only in India would it get 7 star standard. 🙂
OMG, I would love to try the Indian items on the menu, but I really hope they have the cake pops and the American desserts – muffins, scones available. It would be nice to offer both American and Indian items so there is something for everyone.
I think the prices of SB in India are the same as the US. London was definitely more pricy, but we pay about $4 to $5 a drink here.

My favorites – Raspberry Iced Mocha – just try it.. amazing.
Caffe Vanilla Latte
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Salted Mocha Caramel Latte.
Their shots get me wired too, so I have to be careful I don’t drink it too often. Great post!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Unfortunately the dessert options here are hardly tempting! I always find myself drooling when I look at the cakes/pastry section in Starbucks abroad but I didn’t even look twice…hopefully they will tweak them, at least for the sake of presentation ;)!

The Salted Mocha Caramel Latte sounds heavenly…I have actually never seen it on their menu!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien October 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Mmmm I’m so happy for you! I looooove Starbucks. A tall iced americano with a shot of soy is one of my favorites, too! My go to is just a boring old tall coffee with soymilk. It’s especially delish when the soymilk is steamed.

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

It’s funny because I drink both regular & soy milk but when it comes to coffee, soy milk makes SUCH a difference!

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish October 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Yay! I’m so excited that you can now caffeinate regularly (err, *over caffeinate*–I KNOW that jittery feeling all too well) with skinny chai tea lattes and soy milk Americanos! I have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks, but the love wins out 99% of the time. 😉 Even though I don’t like that the Buxx is putting small cafe’s out of business, I DO love their consistency, and the fact that I can expect a fantastic beverage every time I walk through the doors, no matter where I am in the world. 😀

Besides the Indian-inspired eats, are there any different drinks? I’d love to try a Starbucks lassi! (I think I just stereotyped Indian beverages, but that’s the only one I can think of!). I hope your second go around today is even better than the first! xoxoxo

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Haha no lassis yet but I won’t be surprised if it pops up within the next few months! I love your point about consistency- no matter what crazy concoction you come up with, chances are it will taste identical regardless of the Starbucks location.

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TorontoRunner October 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm

woohoo! Nice!
I’m not a coffee drinker – I only drink when I need to stay awake (ex. study/work stuff). But, I LOVE the vibe of starbucks. The people, the barista’s, everything about it! I feel your excitement 😀

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Consider yourself lucky for NOT being a coffee drinker…it’s a rather expensive habit ;)!

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Alexandra October 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

AHH when I saw this on the news I totally thought of you!!! 😀
I’m not a coffee fan, but I love Starbucks’ smoothies– they’re actually pretty tasty!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I’ve never tried their smoothies (not yet at least) but I am impressed that protein powder is an optional add-in!

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Allie October 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I can’t believe there wasn’t a Starbucks in India already! But cheap Starbucks, free soy milk and that good cafe environment? Maybe I should come to India just to check out the local SBs ;D My go-to WAS a tall soy latte…but now they’re making me pay a ridiculous $0.60 for soy so I’ve pretty much stopped going entirely. Booo….

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

$0.60 for soy is absolutely ridiculous! They charge extra in London too and I am anything but impressed!

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chicago foodie girl October 30, 2012 at 2:26 am

LOL! Congratulations on the addition of Starbucks! Although I spent years living in a town without one, I’ve been in Chicago since ’99 and now I can’t imagine not being without one (or 20) that are easily accessible.

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I know it’s only been a few days but now I can’t even imagine Mumbai without a Starbucks…my taste buds are already spoiled 😀

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karina October 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

Can’t wait to come and try Starbucks out there – its looking so good! My new fave is also the Starbucks chai tea latte, unfortunately they don’t sell them in Stabucks China. All the more reason to come visit you ASAP!! BTW, do they have the salted caramel mocha there? I keep seeing it here and want to try but never get round to it.

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karina October 30, 2012 at 6:31 am

Just checked the NV’s for the salted caramel mocha and I take it back – I don’t want to try. FORTY whooping grams of sugar in one tall cup!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Wow the Salted Caramel Mocha sounds amazing…hope they bring it here soon…can’t wait to try it!!!

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ritika October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

sigh! i can only hope it comes to Delhi soon enough.
meanwhile you keep enjoying your lattes 😀

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Good news, I hear they are opening a branch in Delhi before the end of the year!

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Katy October 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm

My go to Starbucks drink in the summer is a black tea lemonade and in cooler weather, a skinny caramel macchiato!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I always forget that tea is an option at Starbucks..I might have to branch out next time!

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Jess October 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Haha this reminds me of my sister in law she lives in California and she asked me if we had Starbucks here because she woukd never visit Australia unless we had Starbucks. I told her Starbucks was pretty much all over the world. I actually never drink Starbucks in Australia, I always support the local stores but I love it abroad. Feels like a treat!

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm

That’s the only problem with Starbucks- it raises the moral dilemma of supporting local coffee shops versus giving into your own cravings!

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli October 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Oh wow, how exciting! I always take Starbucks for granted since, like in London, it’s on practically every street corner around here! I’m not really a loyal customer (as I don’t drink coffee that often) but I used to LOVE their chai lattes and pumpkin spice lattes. Now if I go, I usually just order a black decaf coffee since now even the caffeine from one small cup of coffee is enough to make me want to peel my face off! haha!

Oh and speaking of coffee…I saw your comment on Allie’s blog about my Tiramisu Protein Pancakes. You can definitely sub chocolate powder in for the vanilla! I actually did it in these: http://www.kissmybroccoliblog.com/2012/10/14/you-mocha-me-crazy/ and it came out GREAT…especially layered with the pumpkin cream! 😀

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Khushboo October 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I’ve never tried pumpkin spice lattes but they are bringing them to Mumbai within the next few weeks- WOO! Thanks for the tip about the pancakes…they look unreal and I’m all the more excited to try them out now :)!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig October 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Okay, maybe you can explain this to me then – what the heck does ‘extra hot’ mean??? I heard someone order their coffee that way the other day and I was very confused. LOL.

When I moved to Sydney I thought I was going to go to Starbucks every day because we didn’t have it in Western Australia. When I realised it was $4.50 for a coffee and $6 for an iced coffee, I suddenly lost the urge to go. I think in the two years I lived in Sydney I went to Starbucks twice. I have been much more since living in London, but I think it’s because they are on every street corner. Subliminal advertising!!

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Khushboo October 31, 2012 at 11:32 am

Haha…basically Starbucks hot drinks are never hot enough! They’re probably scared after someone sued McDonald’s because their coffee was too hot (obviously in the US)! So ‘extra hot’, at least for me, refers to the temperature which coffee/tea should be served at…i.e. not lukewarm!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig October 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Silly me – here I am thinking that all coffee is served hot 😉

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TorontoRunner October 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hey!
THANK YOOOU for the tabatas workout suggestion on my post!
I’m definitely going to do that. I always feel like I need a structured workout on exactly what to do or else I’d be standing and looking around. Thank you!
btw: burpees. So.Hard.

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Khushboo October 31, 2012 at 11:33 am

You are most welcome! I posted about it earlier with a specific routine if you would like to take a look: http://kthadani.com/always-time-for-a-quickie-tabatas/

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Brittany October 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm

This post rocked my world!! I am a Starbucks fanatic, and soooo jazzed you have one now!! I also LOVE that they don’t charge extra for soy milk there, that is such a bogus charge and makes me sooo mad. I’m VEGAN dammit, give me free soy milk!! I usually just get a black coffee though, or a refresh tea.

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Khushboo October 31, 2012 at 11:34 am

I’m not a vegan but maybe we can bring a claim against Starbucks for being lactosist/veganist…i.e. making lactose-intolerant & vegans pay extra due to their dietary needs ;)!

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Gayatri October 31, 2012 at 3:02 am

My go to drink at Starbucks is a Tall Hot Chocolate – Skim, no whip, no sugar.

I know! Slap me now!

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Khushboo October 31, 2012 at 11:35 am

Haha the only reason I would slap you is for ordering the regular hot chocolate as opposed to their signature hot chocolate….so.freaking.delicious!

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caloricandcrazy October 31, 2012 at 10:44 am

I prefer the Indian versions of American fast food places, it’s just that I feel Starbucks is too encroaching, and I’m not sure I like the fact that they’re making their way to India. I guess it was bound to happen, but at least your happy with it 🙂

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Khushboo October 31, 2012 at 11:41 am

I’m always surprised to see that the Indian options always seem to end up being more popular than the standard dishes over here!

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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables October 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

No extra charge for soymilk?! I’m officially jealous haha.

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Khushboo November 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hahah seeing “No additional charge for soy” made my day!

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Sonal October 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Starbucks is the best! 😀 I’ll take mine as a java chip frapachino with soya milk (hot weather), or a hazelnut hot chocolate with soya milk (cold weather), you can see i would be very happy with the no extra charge! Hahaha elichi croissant 🙂

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Khushboo November 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Java chip fraps are the BEST…especially the choc chip bits!

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Kym November 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Yay for starbucks opening there!! I don’t frequent Starbucks but when i do, it’s usually around Christmas time when they release their Peppermint Mocha Frappucinnos, my favorite!

and excuse my immaturity but……………… Horniman Circle? 😛

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Khushboo November 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Haha your immaturity is very much appreciated! And Peppermint Mocha Fraps sound heavenly- like an After 8 in a cup!

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Tanvi November 2, 2012 at 1:41 am

Everyone has been tweeting/blogging about this. I always want to fly in to just see the Indian version! (:

∞ © tanvii.com ∞

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Khushboo November 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

The funny part is that I’m sure that in the airport alone, you’ll have a Starbucks (or multiple) available 😉

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Corrie Anne November 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

HOORAY! That’s awesome. I get a lot of skinny vanilla lattes!

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Khushboo November 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I used to hate Starbucks’ hot coffee but I’ve started to embrace their lattes!

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