The late V. G. Siddhartha is credited with establishing cafe culture in Bangalore and India in general. A Chikmagalur native, Siddartha founded the ever-popular coffeehouse chain, Cafe Coffee Day, in 1996.
The F&B industry in Bangalore owes a large chunk of its success to the city’s cafe culture. Bangalore has been one of the most happening cities in India when it comes to coffee. From the rise of CCD in the late 1990s to leading India’s third wave coffee movement a few decades later, India’s Silicon Valley sure does love a good cuppa.
The late V. G. Siddhartha is credited with establishing cafe culture in Bangalore and India in general. A Chikmagalur native, Siddartha founded the ever-popular coffeehouse chain, Cafe Coffee Day, in 1996. The company would open its first outlet in Brigade Road, Bangalore, the same year. Siddartha could not have picked a more perfect time or location to start the venture. The IT revolution was beginning to take shape in Bangalore, and professionals from all over the country began to flock to the city in order to work for the many IT firms that called the metropolis home. Almost every single one of these professionals ran on caffeine, from kadak chai to filter coffee. CCD was immediately a favorite among engineers, being the first cafe in the city to sell specialty coffee and feature furnishings that were optimal for productivity. The Brigade Road outlet would soon be overwhelmed with patrons, which led Siddartha to open outlets all over the city.
Today, CCD is the largest cafe chain in India, with an impressive 495 cafes spread across the country. While CCD continued to have a devoted customer base, it primarily only sold milk-based beverages using coffee blends, so the potential for true specialty coffee in the city remained unrealized. During the early 2010s, Indian third wave coffee took the country by storm with the establishment of coffeehouse chains like Blue Tokai and Third Wave Coffee Roasters. Several small roasteries soon followed, with Bangalore remaining the center of the action, given the city’s proximity to Chikmagalur, which produces the bulk of the country’s specialty coffee. Even though this was a major improvement over the blends served by chains such as CCD and Starbucks, roasters still struggled to source good-quality coffee since the majority of Indian coffee farmers exported most of their produce.
This would all change during the pandemic, as farmers were hit with export restrictions and were therefore forced to sell their beans to domestic roasters. This groundbreaking change occurred in conjunction with another that was just as important to the industry: the boom in homebrewing across the country. Roasters would ship out specialty beans all over India, with plenty of estates on board. The bags would sell out at record rates, encouraging several other estates to foray into the domestic market. Producers were much enthused by the success of their products on Indian shores and would go on to process beans for Indian roasters well after the pandemic. This increase in the availability of green beans led to several entrepreneurs setting up shop all over the country, from cloud roasteries to cafes. Needless to say, Bangalore has quite a few of these establishments, and we've picked out three that we think stand out from the multitude of options in the market:
Trippy Goat is certainly one of the more interesting options among the three. The cafe features ample outdoor seating, lush greenery, and colonial era inspired furniture—a perfect setting for the various curated sensory experiences the establishment offers. Trippy Goat specializes in coffee made using manual brew methods, from pour-overs like the v60 and the Kalita Wave to lever espresso made using Flair products. The cafe also features impressive wine, cigar, and food menus, all of which cater to the most discerning palates. An evening at the cafe will cost around 500 rupees per person.
This tiny coffee shop located in J.P. Nagar is a part of Benki Brewing Tools, India’s leading coffee equipment dealer. Run by Suhas Dwarakanath and his team, the coffee shop serves a range of beverages made using India's finest coffee beans. The shop uses some of the best machines in the country to make its various concoctions, from the San Remo espresso machine to nearly every available pour-over brewer in the market. Benki features economical rates across the menu; a cup of coffee with a bite-sized snack to boot would set you back only 200 rupees. You'd also do well to check out Benki Brewing Tools, located right next door.
Araku Coffee serves coffee sourced from smallholder farms across the Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh. The Indiranagar outlet is the company’s second flagship store, after its first physical space in Paris. The cafe serves a variety of signature and traditional drinks using three specialty blends and plenty of great food pairings. The nitro cold brew, Café L'Orange, and modbar espressos are must-haves. The ever-changing food menu is sure to have something that catches your eye as well. An afternoon at Araku will set you back a good 700 rupees.