Tata Starbucks has launched a coffee blend exclusively for the Indian market, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the opening of its first store in Mumbai. Called India Estates Blend, the coffee is sourced from the finest arabica beans produced at Tata Coffee’s four estates in Chickmagalur.

Tata Starbucks, a 50:50 venture between Tata Global Beverage and US-based Starbucks Corporation, has also set up a coffee roasting and packaging plant at Kushalnagar in Karnataka’s Kodagu district with a capacity to produce 375 tonnes.

The company chose India Estate Blend after testing various coffees across Tata’s estates in Kodagu and Chickmagalur. It will be sold at Tata Starbucks outlets for blending or consumption at home, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Avani Saglani Davda. “Home bean consumption is catching up and India Estates Blend has been lined up for this,” she said. To be sold in packs of 250 g, the coffee will be available with six other varieties such as Home Blend, Italian and Addis Ababa.

It’s a long journey for the blend. The coffee beans are picked up from shady canopies in Kodagu and Chickmagalur estates and sent to Starbucks’ sourcing department in Seattle. This is the second blend brought out by the firm after the India Espresso Roast, sourced and roasted locally. The espresso is a popular product at Tata Starbucks stores across the country.

“The Starbucks sourcing department analysed the coffees and finalised the blend. The feedback is encouraging,” said Davda. The new blend is the first step Starbucks and Tata Coffee are taking to develop and improve the profile of Indian-grown arabica coffees in the global market. India Estates Blend is a medium roast coffee with a herbal juiciness and a chocolate finish. Tata Starbucks currently operates 24 stores across Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. “We will soon open an outlet in Bangalore,” a company official said.

(The writer visited Tata Starbucks’ Kushalnagar plant at the invitation of the joint venture firm).