Sometimes, the existence of certain special people in your lives can completely transform you. In other words, you become like them and start doing things you never imagined. My association with coffee started on a similar note where my dearest husband inculcated in me the belief that coffee is one of the finest drinks in the world. As a result, my fascination towards it has strongly evolved in the recent years, and, now, my undying love for it has made this drink a linchpin of happiness for me. Being a food blogger, I am glad in many ways to form a deep connection with coffee as it gave me an opportunity to understand this brewed drink, and, at the same time, I am also astonished to see its versatility in terms of flavours. Fortunately, I got to know much more about coffee during a Starbucks event where I, as a blogger, was invited to this prestigious cafe to cover a coffee championship programme.
The Starbucks Coffee Championship event 2015 was held on August 27,2015, at Fort, Horniman Circle, Mumbai, which also happens to be the first Starbucks outlet of India. With its vintage architecture and mesmerizing décor, this two storey café is my favourite Starbucks outlet. Artistically, the design complements the South Bombay’s architecture, and its overall ambiance engulfs you within moments. Believe me or not, this is one of the finest Starbucks in India where its indelible impression asks you to come back for more.
The event marked the grand finale of the first Starbucks Coffee Championship in India where it gave its partners an opportunity to compete with each other on their expertise and knowledge of coffee along with the accuracy of their beverage crafting skills. From each of the three regions of India – North, West, and South – two of the most outstanding and knowledgeable partners were selected; hence, the coveted coffee championship title was battled out between six partners who competed in a total of four exciting challenges where every round required them to showcase: their knowledge & passion for coffee, their beverage artistry skills, the accuracy of their coffee palate, and, lastly, the Q&A round. The panel of Judges consisted of six senior executives of Starbucks (Global) and Tata Starbucks Private Ltd, the 50/50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee Company and Tata Global Beverages Limited.
In my personal opinion, the event was the perfect example of challenging employees – as Starbucks call them partners – where they come out of their comfort zones and outperform. In other words, events like these are crucial to provide overall professional and personal satisfaction to employees. During my very brief encounter with one of the participants Ms. Geetu Mohani, I understood more about Starbucks where she mentioned: “I like working in Starbucks as they give importance to their employees. Things are acknowledged, and nobody holds any grudges against each other; hence, the working environment is very good.” A young and aspiring contender, her ambitious aspect was completely evident from her tone, and her thoughts on the event were: “Your have to learn your basics in order to succeed. This is my first job, I am still learning, and I am very happy to be a part of Starbucks.”
The inaudibility of the participants’ speech due to the technical fault in their microphones while they were performing in front of judges was the only disappointing factor. We all would have loved to hear their knowledge about various coffees. However, the delightful sight of the spectators cheering and screaming their war cries was hard to miss. The participants showcased their skills in mastering the art of coffee; however, at the end, Saili Rane from Starbucks store at Mumbai Domestic Airport earned the title of the ‘Starbucks Coffee Champion’ whereas Rubeena Qureshi from Starbucks at Bandra, Mumbai and Shikhar Hali from Starbucks at Mantri Mall, Bangalore were announced as the runner ups. The winner, Saili Rane, will go on to participate in the International Coffee Championship which will be held in South East Asia, later this year.
It was a fun and learn event for me, and I look forward to more such similar events.