Kochi, Mar 16 (UNI) Tata Coffee, Asia's largest integrated coffee company with a turnover of nearly Rs 213 crore, launched its ''Mr Bean Coffee Junction'', a combination of a coffee bar and a retail sales outlet, here today.
Announcing the launch at a press conference, Tata Coffee managing director M H Ashraff said that this was the first time that the company was launching ''Mr Bean'' in a novel 'store-in-store' concept, as part of the popular DC Books sales outlet.
Besides retailing a variety of filter coffee blends, the store would also serve snacks and sell roast and ground coffee. In another novel idea, the outlet would keep a computerised database of individual customer preference of coffee blends, he said.
''Reading is still a very popular habit in Kerala and DC Books gets a lot of footfalls everyday. We hope the people would like to relax over a cup of coffee and a book,'' Mr Ashraf added.
He said that the company was trying the 'store-in-store' concept as its earlier stand alone ''Mr Bean'' coffee outlet in Chennai did not take off.
Depending on the popularity of the Kochi venture, Tata Coffee would extend these outlets to other parts of the state and southern India, he added.
Stating that the coffee junctions were targeting the young housewives and the student crowd, Tata Coffee vice-president Christine F Jamal described the art of making filter coffee as a fast-fading tradition, especially among the youth.
''We hope to make roast and ground coffee popular the way instant coffee has become popular,'' she added.
Mr Ashraf said that the ''coffee culture'' was catching on among the youth and the consumption of coffee was steadily going up in the country.
Tata Coffee owns over 20,000 acres across 26 estates in Karnataka and produces 10,000 tonnes of coffee annually. It had recently acquired over 12,000 acres of tea and coffee estates in the Annamalai region in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Mr Ashraf said Tata Coffee was the second largest exporter of instant coffee in the country and exported to countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Among its popular brands are 'Mr Bean', a filter coffee and chicory blend, 'Tata's Coorg', a 100 per cent pure filter coffee, 'Tata Cafe', a 100 per cent pure instant coffee and 'Tata Kappi', an instant coffee and chicory blend.
The company is also pursuing opportunities in vending through its 'Jiffy' vending machines, retailing of roasted coffee beans through franchised outlets and institutions.
Tata Coffee had also recently made a foray into the hospitality sector with the launch of 'Plantation Trails', a cluster of holiday cottages and bungalows in Coorg.
Describing the response to 'Plantation Trails', launched in December last year, as ''very good'', Ms Jamal said that the company hoped to make available 12 holiday homes, consisting of 36 rooms, available by the end of the year in Coorg. It would later extend this concept to its plantations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, she added.
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