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One of Delhi’s oldest coffee suppliers now has a cafe

My friend Harsh is quite the coffee fiend. He developed a taste for the brew during a sojourn abroad, and started looking high and low for coffee in Delhi after his return. That was when I introduced him to a place called Devan’s in Khanna Market, next to the Lodhi Colony market (24694467, 24611474). When I was a young lad, there were only three places in my Central Delhi neighbourhood where one could get good coffee powder and beans. Devan’s was one, and the other two were the coffee board outlet in Connaught Place and a coffee-bean shop at one end of Meharchand Market.

My friend has been singing praises of Devan’s ever since. So much so that I decided I had to go back to Devan’s — after years — and get some coffee for myself. I had heard that it was now a place where you could sit and have a cup, hot or cold. Tea was being served too. I went there one Sunday morning and found that it was shut. But when I get the scent of something, especially of coffee, I don’t give up easily. So I was back the next day.

The aroma hit me when I was making my way towards Devan’s. The shop, for those who don’t know their Delhi or their coffee, is at one end of Khanna Market, towards the Barapullah Bridge. Set up in 1962 by D. Vasudevan, the business is now run by his son, Keshav Dev, and his son, Siddhant, who went to Vienna, where he worked in a coffee shop and picked up many new tricks about selling coffee. So, just over a year ago, they decided to earmark a little corner for those who wanted to sit there for a soothing — or exhilarating — cup.

The tea menu includes a cup of Darjeeling (₹100), first flush (₹120), ginseng oolong (₹150), chamomile (₹120) and lemon grass tea (₹120).

One of Delhi’s oldest coffee suppliers now has a cafe

I had to go somewhere, so I asked for a takeaway: cold-brewed Kerala spice (₹150), a cold brew with milk (₹150) and café de oya (₹150). The brews, including a lemonade coffee and white tea flavoured with lemongrass, were mostly for a group of young coffee enthusiasts.

I had the cold coffee brew with milk and thought it was excellent: a nice South Indian filter which had turned into an equally nice South Indian cold coffee. The black coffee, I was told, was strong and refreshing. The person who had the café de oya gave it full marks. It had a nicely nutty flavour, with a hint of cinnamon. But my young friends said the lemonade coffee and the lemongrass tea left them cold, literally and figuratively. The latter was much too bland, and the lemon in the former somehow didn’t gel with the coffee. The cookies that came with coffee, however, got a thumbs up.

You can buy various kinds of coffee powders and beans, as well as tea leaves. There are some nice coffee-makers, too, including a French press and an Italian moka pot. But what I like most about Devan’s is its quaint ambience and the smiling owner and staff. Then, of course, you can’t miss the delicious coffee aroma.

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 8:26:20 AM |

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