The scene of a boy and a girl sipping coffee on their first date has become almost a stereotype, being immortalised in movies, ads, TV serials and novels. But this scene often seemed irrelevant in Indian context before the advent of popular coffee joints and cafés. The addictive TV series Friends got the younger as well as older generation in India introduced to a café culture, albeit only on TV, and made them dream "I wish we had a good coffee place nearby".
Now thanks to mushrooming café outlets in every nook and corner of the city, one doesn't have to yearn anymore. We have our Baristas, our Café Coffee Days, Costa Coffees and Nescafé Bars to cater to the growing urban demand for café and snack bars. These joints have rapidly increased in number in the past three to four years. Almost every market in Delhi can boast of a Café Coffee Day or a Barista or even both.
These joints have certainly fulfilled some of the growing needs of the young, working and mobile population of cities. Since they are always on the move, a coffee bar that can provide them with a quick cup and a quick snack always helps. And since price is not really a problem with the young population, they do not mind spending to the tune of Rs 45-80 on a single coffee.
And these joints have also become popular hangouts for college crowds. Most of the people you find around these joints are, in fact, college-goers who are either enjoying a coffee after a hectic schedule of classes or just plain bunking them.
What do these youngsters have to say about the emerging "coffee culture" in the country?
"I feel it's a part and parcel of new urban culture. But the effects of expanding café-chains is yet to be seen. With opening of cafés, these multinational companies are raking in profits", says 19-year-old Namrata.
But not everyone seems to be comtemplating things as analytically as Namrata. Twenty-year-old Amrita, an undergraduate feels that "it is a good trend that is helping people bond with each other".
"The cafés have given some hope for dating couples who otherwise have nowhere to go. Now there is no need to go to a monument or a park and suffer glares of the public. Couples can peacefully go together in cafés without feeling uncomfortable", she says.
Even 29-year old David believes that the café culture is good for cities like Delhi that boast of providing a world-class environment to its citizens and tourists.
" These cafés have become a favourite hang-out place for teens. But it needs to be seen that these youngsters do not get addicted to going to these places everyday", he says.
Good or not, the "café culture" is here to stay. These cafés have found a new and more lucrative market in teenagers, whose spending capacity has steadily risen over the years. So while teens are happily sipping their cuppas, café owners may well be singing all way to the bank.