At the table with Blue Tokai

In Delhi, coffee has always been a necessity, but it only became a culture after Blue Tokai set up shop. Their expansion from a mom-and-pop bean delivery service to roasterie and café (including a forthcoming location in Mumbai) has been rapid – a sign that Dilli Wallas are no longer content with the powdered half-milk, half sugar concoction that has passed for coffee here for so many decades. Blue Tokai was founded by Namrata Asthana and Matt Chitaranjan. They meticulously select their beans from small plantations in the South, roast them at their shop, and sell home-brewing equipment. The café is located alongside the roasterie (you can peek inside through modernist windows that look like life-size ship portholes) and order the city’s flat-out best flat whites, cortados, and mochas.

Here, the Blue Tokai duo gives us advice on everything coffee-related:

How do you make your own morning coffee?
Our morning coffee at home consists of a pour over made from a light or medium roast. But if we happen to skip our morning coffee to be at work early, I grab a cortado, and Matt has a pourover at the roasterie.

What brewing method would you suggest for a coffee novice?
The French press is an easy way to brew coffee for a novice. All you have to do is put two tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee into a French press with a cup of water. Just make sure that when you're using any brewing equipment, don't use boiling water. Wait for 30 seconds after the water has boiled before you use it to make sure you don't get a bitter, burnt taste. Let the grounds steep for 5 minutes before you pour your coffee out. Another tip for this or any brewing method is to invest in a small burr grinder. Using a spice grinder to grind coffee leads to unevenly ground coffee which affects the flavour of the coffee.

Best on-the-go coffee tool:
An aeropress! It doesn't break, and it makes a delicious shot-like dose which you can also use to make an Americano. This is definitely our best (coffee-travel) friend.

When I'm in the kitchen, we listen to:
Usually jazz from some part of the world.

Go-to host/hostess gift to give:
Our coffee makes for a great gift not just because it's freshly roasted but also since our labels contain the name of the person you're gifting the coffee to along with a customised message. For a truly thought-out coffee gift, it's helpful to know how the person you're getting the gift for brews their coffee, and whether they like it with milk.

Favourite dessert to serve:
Rustom's coffee chocolate loaf, made from coffee from Bibi Plantation in Coorg, is absolutely delicious.

What to see/where to stay in Coorg and neighbouring regions:
We’ve stayed at BB Estate Homestay which was really serene and beautiful, but there are so many to choose from.

Any travel tips to keep in mind when visiting coffee plantations?
Take lots of mosquito repellant when you go, and a panoramic camera for the absolutely stunning views. If you'll be there for a few days, you may want to hire a taxi for the duration of your stay instead of hiring one by the day.

For more information on Blue Tokai, to get in touch, or to order their coffee, and coffee-making apparatus, visit their website.