After several years of frustrated attempts at entering India, a Starbucks tea is finally on the Hindustan horizon.
Aiming to open 50 outlets by the end of the year, Starbucks managed to slip its way into the South Asian country through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, a subsidiary of India’s largest conglomerate Tata.
India is known as a country of tea drinkers, with coffee being popular in the south. But that doesn’t mean the coffee giant shouldn’t be sensitive to the nuances of the Indian consumer’s needs. When McDonald’s entered India, for example, it replaced some of its meaty favorites with the vegetarian-friendly “McSpicy Paneer.”
Below, a proposed menu for Starbucks in India:
1. A true masala chai.
Masala chai in India consists of brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs, including ground cloves as well as powder of cardamom, ginger and pepper for an altogether flavor-packed finish. A Starbucks Tazo chai tea latte blends some of those spices, too, but then dilutes them by adding honey, cane sugar and vanilla.
2. South Indian filtered coffee.
South India is known for the strength of its coffee, made from dark roasted coffee beans and chicory. The coffee is made using a filter (known as “drip coffee” stateside), with the water passing through the grounds by simply dripping instead of being put under pressure. The drink is served in a dramatic fashion, as a server pours the hot drink back and forth between two tumblers until it gets frothy and can be sipped.
So long, Starbucks’s short-lived Sorbetto. India’s got a popular yogurt-drink of its own — the lassi, a combination of yogurt, water and either the spice cumin or sugar and fruit. Lassis are an optimal summer-weather beverage and can be used as a remedy for stomach pain if turmeric powder is added to the mix.
4. Coconut water.
A favored treat in India and recently making waves in the Western world, coconut water has high potassium content and contains much-needed antioxidants. Bottled coconut water could be an easy Starbucks addition, with a shelf life of some 24 months.
5. Tulsi green tea.
Starbucks Tazo Green Tea latte is inspired by the way the Japanese drink green tea. But Indians manufacture their own green tea back home, featuring a little more of a lemon twist and some holy basil, called “Tulsi” in India. Tulsi green tea, like many Indian drinks, also supposedly has its health benefits, including building up resistance to colds and viruses.