The Telegraph
| Sunday, June 30, 2013 |


Talk of the Town

Published on Wed, 3 Jul 2013

  • Konkona Sen Sharma at the launch of Coffee Day Square
    Photograph by Jagan Negi

Caffeine culture

A lot can happen over coffee as it did when actress Konkona Sen Sharma came calling on Delhi last week to launch Coffee Day Square (CDS), a brand new version of Café Coffee Day (CCD). But first things first: What sets the CDS outlets apart from the regular CCDs is that the menu includes seven single origin coffees that are served with dishes that go best with each of the beverages. The brand celebrated the launch of this new outlet, located in the heart of Delhi in Connaught Place, by organising a food pairing session with single origin coffee.

For the uninitiated, single origin coffees are procured from beans grown in a single location. This gives the coffee uniformity and a distinct flavour that captures the essence of its surroundings. "Single origin coffees are like the business class of coffees and meant for connoisseurs. Their origins are as specific as coffees sourced from a single hill or a single plantation and not just a particular region," said Rhicha Sinha, senior manager, beverage innovation, CCD. The coffees are also therefore more expensive and priced at Rs 167 per cup as opposed to regular coffees, which are priced between Rs 85 and Rs 145.

CDS — there are just two more, one at Delhi's Terminal 3 at the IGI airport and the other in Bangalore — offer single origin coffees from Latin America, Africa and India. Of the seven single origin coffees served here, four are sourced from abroad while the other three are Indian coffees.

Sinha spoke about how the Costa Rican Tarrazu is a smooth coffee while Colombian Supremo has a more intense flavour. The Ethiopian Sidamo comes with hints of caramel and chocolate and Guatemala Antigua is infused with the taste of fruit, almonds, caramel and herbs, which are grown around these coffee plantations. Amongst the Indian single-origins there are Rajgiri Pearl, which gets its spicy flavour from spices grown alongside coffee in these plantations, Indian Kathlekhan Superior, which carries notes of wild berries and Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold which has the flavour of chocolate and caramel.

Sen, a coffee fan since she was 15, said: "Earlier I usually drank instant coffee. But on my travels I discovered single origin coffees and fell in love with them."

Now for what they pair best with: the spicy Rajgiri Pearl is best had with something sweet like a brownie while the Colombian Supremo, with its nutty flavour, pairs best with the CDS speciality, a spicy chicken dish called Southern Tadka.

So, coffee connoisseurs have a brand new address to get high at. Cheers!

By the book

  • Author Ravinder Singh at the launch of his latest book Like It Happened Yesterday

"I made my readers cry with my first two novels, so I wanted to make them smile with the third," said author Ravinder Singh at the launch of his latest book, Like It Happened Yesterday (italics), at Calcutta's Crossword bookstore on Elgin Road.

The 31-year-old author's latest work — a part of Penguin Books India's Metro Reads series — revisits his childhood spent in Burla, Orissa, a phase that the author regards as "the best part" of his life. "I wrote this book because I wanted to share my story with a number of people," said Singh. The books spans 14 years of his schooldays, and that even includes two years in nursery and kindergarten. He looks back at the gamut of emotions and feelings that ruled his life then — from the terror of first entering school to the thrill of scoring well in exams — and the people he loved.

Singh also spoke about having to work his way around the question of how he came into this world. "This was the pre-Google era," smiled the author, "and when I asked my parents where I'd come from, I got different versions from both — that I'd been 'bought' at a shop, and that I'd been 'brought' from a gurdwara! They should at least have reached a consensus about the lie." He then read the relevant section from the book.

Singh was joined by Tollywood director Mainak Bhoumik who peppered the evening with his own memories of growing up in New York and his annual visits to relatives in Calcutta. It was an interactive evening with the author answering a number of questions posed by the audience before settling down to autograph copies of his book.

Avid admirers among the audience also piped up to say how Singh's previous works had touched them. His debut novel I Too Had a Love Story (italics), launched in 2008 as a part of Penguin's Metro Reads series, was a national bestseller. It recounted Singh's experience with love and loss after the death of his girlfriend in a car crash in 2007. His second offering Can Love Happen Twice (italics) that followed in 2011 was Penguin India's fastest selling book in 25 years, according to the author. The two works together have sold more than a million copies till date.

Singh grew up in Orissa's tiny town of Burla and worked as a software engineer before pursuing an MBA degree at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, in 2011. A stint at Microsoft followed, which he quit in February this year to turn full-time writer. And if the number of youngsters who gushed about their admiration for him at the launch is anything to go by, he took the right decision.