Betting on a hot cuppa
Unlike coffee, tea doesn’t have a demand problem. But can tea cafe startups brew the right business model?
Nikhil Varma
Nikhil Varma
Bengaluru
10 September 2020
2
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India in the early 2000s saw the beginnings of a proverbial gold rush in coffee. Café Coffee Day, which had launched as a single store in Bengaluru in the late 1990s, had gained steam, crossing 200 stores by the beginning of 2005. In the process, it catapulted coffee into an aspirational, yet accessible drink across urban India. “Cappuccino” and “Americano” entered the common lexicon. Many followed CCD, with Barista, Costa Coffee and Starbucks entering the Indian market.

More recently, Café Coffee Day has had a rough time, with the death (potential suicide) of its founder and an investigation uncovering the siphoning off of company funds. But that’s another matter entirely.

Mirroring the initial coffee wave, the past few years have seen the rise of the humble chai as the next new thing in beverage chains. Gurugram-based

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