1998 : What Retirement Plan?
It started as a semi-retirement plan - I would move from New York to Bangalore, open a few coffee shops, enjoy the creativity of making coffees and foods and live happily ever after. Bangalore looked like a laid back place compared with the hustle of New York. Like many things I’ve thought of, I was wrong. On many counts.
Making coffee was not easy. It required a lot of equipment and processing. Getting a place was not easy, and from the one year of planning to execution, prices of everything, especially real estate, had doubled. But I made it through and in 1998 opened one of India’s first ever Italian style coffee shops, with espressos, ristrettos and cappuccinos.
Java City soon became very popular, and with ammunition from my recipe column in the local newspapers, it became well known for excellent coffees and cookies and confectionery. It was on national TV, and newspapers as far as Kolkata covered it, all calling it ‘a happening place’ - a word from the beginning of this century, you may recall. I got so busy, I forgot all about retirement.
Espresso vs Kaapi
Java City offered a dazzling variety of coffees from around the world, made into cappuccinos, lattes and frappes. A year after opening, I had learnt a lot about local coffee drinking habits, and was pleased to introduce a South Indian coffee served in two copper plated steel cups. Many traditionalists were happy to see that and I remember many conversations that would start this way… “So you serve South Indian coffee, is it?”
In South India, the method of making a good coffee was pretty much similar to a cappuccino, I would say, but nobody believed me. Then I would explain it in some detail, and many would still not believe me - must be my grouchy look. A good kaapi in the South entails fresh grinding of medium to dark roasted beans, and pouring hot water (very slowly) through the grinds to provide a concentrated extraction, called decoction. This is best consumed fresh by adding hot milk and then pouring the coffee rapidly back and forth between two steel cups to create a froth.
An espresso shot is made by rapidly pushing hot water under pressure through fresh ground coffee that is dark roasted. Then warm milk is made with a steam pipe that also creates a frothy top which is added to the coffee. Cappuccino you say, kaapi I say!
2022 : And now, Artisanté Fine Foods
Wind up to the present, and my retirement plan has been tossed out. Here I am with my son making fine luxury chocolates and roasted coffees. I am delighted to offer these on our website artisante.in. Our products are artisanally made, small batches with attention to detail, and te in sanskrit means for you, artisan for you embodied in our name artisante.
Enjoy our finest coffees from around the world, as well as estate grown varieties from Chikmagalur, South India. I am happy to revive the Java City blends from the finest of Indian arabicas, called Java City classic and Java City intense. Moving in the same direction, I have also created an even darker blend called Matador - suitable for those who like dark, darker coffee. Of course, we also have India’s finest pure arabica Mysore Nuggets extra bold, and the smooth, mild, earthy bean that put India on the global map of coffees - Monsoon Malabar. As the name suggests, these beans soak up the Malabar monsoon rains for a long time before they are finally processed and sold.
Our website is growing every day as we add more products, and coffee gadgets for sale. Take advantage of our one-stop shop for coffees and filter papers, and the many ideas for gifting. From global to local, we bring the finest of products for our uncompromising customers.
We love coffee. We know coffee.