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Good old coffee in a new mug



Enjoying the coffee experience

THE ROMANOV Mochatail Festival is on at the 17 Bangalore cafes going under the name Cafe Coffee Day. All over India, there are 64 cafes, in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and so on, and Bangalore's first one, on Brigade Road, was opened in 1996. The Lavelle Road one is six months old and the one on Cunningham Road is the latest.

Mochatail is coined from the word Mocha (pronounced moka), a port in Yemen where fine Arabic coffee originated. Mochatails are non-alcoholic drinks as is the example of the one intriguingly named Dangerous Liaison. It is a dash of espresso sprinkled with crushed chocolate cookie, topped with whipped cream and the funky drink is the latest innovation brought by Romanov and Cafe Coffee Day. The other special blends, as part of the festival have names such as Blue Lagoon and Satan's Kiss, all non-alcoholic, despite the tie-in with Romanov, which is a UB Group Spirits Division. Ms. Sudipta Mukherjee, heading the marketing of Coffee Day explained: "We are constantly innovating and believe in staying in touch with our customers and doings that make their coffee drinking experience more enjoyable."

To that end, they have coffee labs, where they put together a mixture of drinks containing coffee — grown in the gardens of the parent company Amalgamated Bean Coffee Co. — and a host of other ingredients to come up with unique tastes combined with appealing appearances. In the labs, tasters pronounce judgement and whichever new ones find approval come to be offered at the chain of cafes. Thus, sample if you will at the 80-cover Lavelle Road cafe the Mochatail called Blue Lagoon.

It is frappe topped with whipped cream and a swirl of blue curacao and looks enticing when placed on your table. Satan's Kiss is coffee in chocolate sauce topped with cream and coffee beans.

The festival involves coffee and fizz and comes with the fun part, contests, and lots of prizes. Customers, trying the exotic Mochatail, solve cryptic clues to win prizes every week, including haversacks, t-shirts, caps, audio cassettes. The interactive promotion, designed to bring their brand closer to young consumers is initiated to increase the brand's contemporary and youthful image. If not this festival there are always others, said Ms. Sudipta Mukherjee.

"There is always something going on — Christmas, Valentine, and so on." And at all times, there is their regular menu of hot coffee, for instance Espresso (without frills strong and black Rs. 16), Machiato (espresso topped with milk foam Rs. 18), Cappuccino (Rs. 20), and Chocohino (chocolate ice-cream and hot coffee Rs. 28).

Then there are cold coffees like the coconut flavoured one for Rs. 28, Arabian Heights (cardamom flavoured and thick Rs. 28) and Kaapi Nirvana, Indian coffee that won the silver medal in the World Barista Championship, 2002. Or there are various combinations featuring ice cubes (Rs. 28 — Rs. 35).

The range possible has to be seen to be believed. The international coffees include Colombian Juan Valdez (with fruity flavour Rs. 40), Ethiopian Qahwah (aromatic with dark chocolate Rs. 40), and Kenyan Safari (with flavour of blueberry Rs. 60).

This is a cafe and so, cool drink smoothies like Strawberry Colada (Rs. 40), and granitas with Blue Curacao (Rs. 35) are available as are Tropicana fruit juices (Rs. 20) and sodas like Pina Colada (Rs. 25).

For nibbling and drooling, there are cakes: Banana walnut (Rs. 22), Butterscotch Tart (Rs. 30), Mocha Pastry (Rs. 25), and Chocolate Mousse (Rs. 30), to name a few.

Those partial to sundaes have a choice of chocolate fudge, Carribbean Calypso and Chocolate Truffle (Rs. 60).

There is a neat range of quick bites like samosas, croissants, burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches (Rs. 25-40). The hot puffs cost as little as Rs. 15.

They offer specials like the one they call Italian Connection — Drink Italian Eat Italian, a combo of cappuccino and vegetable or chicken pasta (Rs. 50-55), which should not be missed.

The most interesting fact is that there are even some teas on offer.

They acknowledge that India is a tea-loving country and so the choices are their own blends of Assam Tea (Rs. 20), Masala Chai (for the ethnic feel), and Lemon and Iced Tea (Rs. 25).

The mission statement is "to be the best cafe chain in the country by offering world-class coffee experience at affordable prices."

You can call the Lavelle Road Café at 5580881.

ARUN BHATIA

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