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Get high with coffee

"What is moving amazingly fast among Madurai public is the `Coffee Nirvana'. It's plain cold coffee in Carribean flavour with zip cream."


BORED OF amma's filter coffee at home? Wanna try a hot cuppa coffee that has a Columbian, Kenyan or an Ethiopian flavour? Zip off to Madurai's most happening place, your friendly neighbourhood Anna Nagar. Walk into the nifty décor of Café Coffee Day (CCD) and pamper yourself with all that and much more.The Cafe day guys finally arrived in Temple City last month marking the State's eighth store (seven are in Chennai) and the country's 151st. As part of the largest coffee conglomerate - the Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd - the group with its patented technology assures uniform high quality taste, service and hygiene.Opposite the Golcha complex, the CCD's glass exterior offers a see-through into its business. Pass by those dazzling violet signs particularly after dusk, and you are sure to discover the city's latest hang-out destination.The café manager A.Narendran admits, the 80-seater café spread over 2,000 sq.ft. of indoor and outdoor space on two floors is packed to capacity on weekends. "Weekdays a floating population keeps us busy but not scurrying as on Sunday nights."CCD's reputation for "rich aromatic blend of fresh coffee" and the store's design as a coffee pub, a fast food joint and an informal place to hang out combined is what makes it a chosen venue. Walk into the soothing décor done up in light yellow tiles and pillars with a violet touch-up and Malaysian furniture combining steel and wood in coffee colour. Depending on your mood, preference -- and of course availability -- choose either of the floors. The balcony seating arrangement is for smokers. There are two snug corners too with lounge sofa in mauve.The tough part of eating out is deciding the menu. Twenty varieties of coffee are served here with an additional 70-80 types collectively under these 20 categories. Cappuchinos, lattes, mochas, frappes... name it. What is moving amazingly fast among Madurai public is the "Coffee Nirvana". Its plain cold coffee in Carribean flavour with zip cream and costs Rs.65.Frequented most by the 20-somethings, coffee with fruit flavours is also doing good. Given the beautiful colours and catchy names, the youths want to try it out. And if they like it, they return for more. That's simple logic and so you have Blood Orange, Cool Blue, Emerald Ice, Litchi frappe, Blackberry, Arabian Nights, Irish or Cold Sparkle Tropical, all costing four tenners. Go for the savvy beverages to lift your spirits. Or the eatables ranging from veg and non-veg croissants, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, all having either chicken, mushroom or vegetarian filling. Wind up with desserts including apple pie, or pineapple cake or creamy and fluffy pastries.What it calls its "tantalizing spread of items", the CCD also boasts of its "attractively affordable prices." Worried about your pocket? Go prepared to pay between the sweet range of Rs.16 to 60 per person.The youthful atmosphere of CCD owes it to the techies, the after college groups, and all those who want to stay connected, exchange gossip and discuss career options or work. Families drop by in chunks on Sundays while an occasional loner with an unfinished book is not a surprise spotting either. The exclusively prepared coffee blends and recipes have helped the chain to establish across the country. Now they are in Madurai aware of the fact that last three years have seen the birth of three similar cafes (Abis, UFO and Tornado) in this part of the town.Neither intimidated nor complacent about competition, the CCD team with about a dozen boys brims with sunny optimism. They have plans up their sleeves for Madurai customers.From next month, smart cards will be launched for over a bill of Rs.200 which will ensure a customer a 13 per cent discount at any CCD store in the country. Surprise gifts will be an added attraction along with the "Q-jam". A customer can select his code on the net and play a song of his/her choice from CCD's inventory of 5,000 Hindi and English songs.Exciting things are in store. If you believe in CCD's slogan : "lot can happen over coffee." , a debut visit is a must. And if you like it, chill-out again whenever you want.

SOMA BASU

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