We have moved our blog to http://shackcoffee.com . See you there.
Pamela, the uparwali from Uparwali Chai( High Tea) organized another get together . I had heard about it through Satish of Gunpowder fame. I wanted to go there for the first time but could not go there. However this time as soon as I got the message that she is holding another one, I jumped on to the offer.
She blessed the event with her delicious creations from macs to cookies to cakes to sandwiches to pastries and teas. As per Pamela she has organized six such get togethers before, which technically is high tea, ideally after the lunch and before the supper. It is an English tradition, with strong aristocratic undercurrents. Technicalities apart it’s all about good food, good venue and mouth full of gossips. You can always go to Pamela’s blog and dig out the food she comes up with. For the venue you need to go to the jungles of Ghitorni.
At Sanskriti we also met Mr. O P Jain, the founder chairman of Sanskriti and INTACH, and it was pleasure knowing his thoughts about conserving our monuments and how to make Delhi what it was prior to the independence. They support artists through their residency programs . We also met Mrs. Singh, the co-rdinator of the residency and she has kindly invited us for their open house event to be held on 2nd of April, 2010.
Now back to food and beverages. I have also taken final steps towards setting up Coffee Works for Shack. I am going to start Coffee Catering for the selected gatherings and events. Website will be up and running in a week’s time. My roasters Finca Coffee are supporting me through this venture and I am thankful to them for their support.
Monsoons sheepishly arrived in Delhi. Clouds gather on a whim and act like and eccentric rock-star, pouring some water once in a while. Humidity is unbearable. The only respite are cool climes like Nainital, where I had studied for few years or the next best option is a cold beverage like New Orleans Iced Coffee.
Blue Bottle Coffee is a specialty coffee company based in San Francisco , who roast coffee and run two cafes in the city. While reading about them came across an article where they had shared how to prepare New Orleans Iced Coffee. It is easy and can be done at home. With the help below one can prepare a great cup of iced coffee and savor it the way I am doing it.
250 gms of ground coffee.
50 gms of powdered chicory .( Purely optional)
600 ml of water at normal temperature.
Pour water on the ground and mix it will with a spoon.
Let it brew at room temperature for 12 hrs.
After the brewing is done strain the brew into a container either with a filter paper or a fine metal strainer.
Now to prepare coffee pour 1/4th cup p brewed coffee, sugar syrup as per taste , fill it up with ice and add another 1/4th cup of milk. Mix it well and drink.
When I was 21, and naive, and mostly broke, I was roaming in the community center in Saket , New Delhi. While my friends planned to watch a movie in the India’s first multiplex, I found myself acting smart by saying that I do not like copy cats, which multiplexes are. I sauntered off to Barista( Indian Version of Starbuck’s) to sit for hour and a half and wait for them to come back. Then, Barista under the leadership Ravi Deol would serve above average cup of joe and great sandwiches .
I wandered off to this quirky looking cafe outlet, which had a more quirkier name. Qwikys !! I decided to check it out. As I was enetering the cafe the barista smiled and welcomed . The decor was unusual as there was the bar island. The colours were brown and red, while yellow splashed here and there. It seemed very informal. Jazz was being belted out and it was not loud. Later I came to know that they had World Space Radio, which was a novelty then. The menu was somethng new to me as I had never announced panini pigghata and so much more. Everything seemed simple and unpretentious. There were two bean bags lying in one corner, while the other corner had those high chairs, which you get to perch up at the pubs.It all seemed so good.
I was a bit apprehensive in the beginning and broke. However the idiot in me made me act smart and I tried to show that I know about coffee. As per my idiotic act I orderered a shot, simply because it was the least costly item on the menu, which eventually changed to Doppio, as it sounded cool and earned me some more respect in the eyes of the barista. I waited for the order along with a panini . It arrived and the barista stayed their to befriend the first coffee connosieur. I took the first sip and the bitterness hit me with all my stupidity added to it. I smiled bravely and praised the shot . Barista went back happily and I sat there thinking about different ways to get rid of the Doppio.Gosh! I did make a fool of myself but , I liked the ambience so much and the music and the bean bags( I had never seen them before), and pretty much everything there. I was so happy inside, and even more so for not shelling out the moolah to watch some stupid movie.
With my academic under achievement as against the overtly obvious potential, I had found the place to go where I could be at ease with myself, drinking lattes , which came with latte art and in wonderfully colourful ceramics. I still cherish those moments. Slowly I started introducing my friends to the place, and it became the place where I could get the quick release from the mediocre life, and even more mediocre achievements( a silly presentation in a silly management college, again a copycat). Sandwiches were to die for.
I retracted into a shell for various reasons and would not step out of the home for the next few months. When I did come out, I went to Qwikys, and was crestfallen to see it closed. My last escape was gone. I tried to find the lingering soul there and I did bathe in the vibes left behind. However, I bid one last goodbye to the place, knowing that Saket will not be same again.
I wandered off to find myself and a new journey had begun. I tried my hands at various things to find the one thing for which I was made. I wrote GRE, studied scriptures, vegetated and meditated, but to no avail. Throughout I would get roasted coffee beans from Bangalore and grind them and drink the coffee through the drip coffee machine( Now I know that it is sacrilegious to use the coffee beans which has been roasted two weeks before, in fact a week is just fine, as the taste drops after the sixth day from roasting).
Zen Moment arrived. I could very clearly see that I have coffee as my constant companion, and I had only known more and more about it, and had never get tired about it. Therefore I decided that if it has to be anything then why not coffee. I realized the importance of a place which was Qwikys. It would be my homage to the great time I had spent at Qwikys , which showed me this trail. After that I had taught at Management Colleges and did projects for small businesses. I have also floated a small firm to offer the services involving the new media. But I have done all of it for the love of coffee, which happened nowhere else but at Qwikys.
Please accept my gratitude and honest appreciation.
What is Coffee?
Coffee is nothing , but just a few cherries plucked, processed , dry and wet, dried, packaged, reopened, roasted and served . That’s it. Simple? Is it not?
However, this simple journey has been fascinating people for so long. Coffee is grown in various regions of the world, from South-Central Americas to Africa to Asia Pacific. The trail becomes even more interesting as the exceptional producers of coffee seldom consume the exceptional coffee grown in their countries. Therefore ,majority of the coffee grown in the coffee producing nations are exported as a cash crop, while coffee connoisseurs spread across the world go into the details and infuse life in the dead coffee beans.
Shack Coffee Co. is the result of over enthusiasm of one such coffee enthusiast, who has managed to find a partner for the idea, and make him believe that all we need in this world to give us joy will be duly granted by the roasted, burnt ,badgered, charred , dried, fermented and ground coffee beans. Amazingly few more people have started to believe this maxim of the coffee enthusiast. However, for the shack to be functional we need resources.
The journey, which some wise men say, is what maketh a man , and not the destination, for Shack is purported to be difficult and inundated with roadblocks. This electronic diary will keep itself abreast of each such happening in the life of the Shack. The prominent amongst the countless would be the coffee beans.
Yes, Shack is based in India, which does not grow coffee to cater to the specialty coffee . Till very recently coffee grown in India was to cater to the bulk market. However there have been exceptions . Adding to it Indian consumers have been used to instant coffee sold by global giant Nestle and the local giant Tata coffee(it owns thirty thousand acres of coffee plantations). Other than instant coffee we have locally bred coffee chains, which have defined coffee very differently. However there are warriors , who are fighting it out alone. Future posts will cover all the aspects and much more.
Happy Birthday Shack.