For a decade now, Coffee Beanz has been more than just a coffee shop for city folk… the perfect hangout with good food thrown in
Ten years ago, long before CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) and Barista came to Kochi, a small coffee shop on Marine Drive began brewing some coffee. And it was not just coffee. There was music, lively chatter of young people (mostly students from colleges nearby) and a menu card with fancy stuff on it to ponder over.
Within its warm and yellow walls, nodding your head to some thumping music, you could spend hours downing any number of cappuccinos or just sit there doing nothing. “We have never asked any of our customers to leave,” says Cookie Sara Verghese, executive director of Coffee Beanz.
Into its tenth year, the coffee shop still follows this tradition of indulging its customers.
More than coffee
When Cookie and her late husband Verghese Thomas decided to start Coffee Beanz, they wanted it to be more than just any other shop selling coffee. Inspired by the coffee culture of Bangalore, they wanted to replicate the model in Kochi, but with slight modifications to suit the Malayali’s eating-out habits.
The idea of a breakfast menu seemed perfect—sandwiches, omlette and some home-made crisp aapam and stew. “It was an instant hit. We began getting a number of visitors, from all age groups, many of whom have become loyal customers now,” says Cookie. Actor Mammootty has been a long time fan of the aapam and stew, she says.
Besides being foodies and coffee lovers, neither Cookie nor her husband had any formal training in coffee. “But we did our home work well and I did a course in coffee from Bangalore,” she says. They also imported Italian coffee machines to grind the beans.
Cookie makes the coffee powder for the shop herself, using three types of beans in a particular ratio.
Six years after they started, the big coffee chains entered Kochi, but Cookie and her husband hardly felt competition, as the number of loyal customers kept going up.
Today, Coffee Beanz is a private limited company and has five branches in Kerala—two in Kochi, two in Thiruvananthapuram and one in Kozhikode.
The menu has also expanded to include biryani, kathi rolls and kothu parotta. But the all-time favourites such as burgers, potato wedges, sausages and sandwiches, remain intact. Changing times reflected on the prices, too. “When we started, a cup of ordinary coffee was priced at Rs. 20. But, now it is Rs. 40,” says Cookie. “It is inevitable. Just look at the cost of milk now,” Cookie exclaims.
The decor, too, has undergone a few changes, though minor. The walls have been dedicated to the spirit of the coffee parlours around the world.
Cookie got an artist to do some paintings of the ancient coffee houses of Germany, Turkey, and our very own Indian Coffee House for the cafe.
The top floor of the Kochi Marine Drive outlet has opened an exclusive steak place, ‘Club Selection’, as part of the coffee shop’s tenth anniversary. It will offer a variety of steaks, bakes and pasta.
The chefs, specially appointed for this, will dish out their specialities. One such special is a classic chicken steak, which comes grilled and topped with brown sauce and accompanied by boiled vegetables, French fries and garlic bread, for Rs. 240. The baked dishes include chicken cannelloni, minced meat, tuna and prawn bakes.
Coffee Beanz Club Selection will be open from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.