Bonhomia's capsules hold out the promise of a perfect coffee, each time, at home
By: Suman Tarafdar
Posted on: June 1, 2015
You have often lusted after that Nespresso machine during your travels around the world. Come on, admit it – you wished it was available in India over the counter. You got Pinky’s masi to send it over from Dubai. And realized the flaw in your plan – the capsules aren’t available in India!
Well, that was true. Coffee capsules have not been commonly available in India, and that is a space Bonhomia is cashing in on. Bonhomia who? Well, Bonhomia is a relatively new Indian coffee capsule brand that is retailing capsules at select outlets in Indian metros as well as supplying to premium restaurants for their coffee needs.
The owners of the Bonhomia brand are former corporate executives Kunal Bhagat and Tuhin Jain, who launched Indulge Beverages in 2012-13 and are looking to carve a niche in the coffee capsule market. After a lot of product testing, especially with Delhi’s abundant diplomats, they finally started retailing in March 2014 with Modern Bazaar in Delhi.
Bonhomia coffee is currently available in two variants - Free Love (Espresso coffee intensity 4) and Dark Deeds (Espresso coffee intensity 7). The intensity scale goes from one to ten, the latter being the highest, more acidic flavours. Bonhomia will be expanding its portfolio later this year by adding four new blends to its existing range - Black Veil, Organic Bliss and Artisan Coffees - Vanilla and Chocolate. “We want people to make their own blends, especially for desserts,” says former PepsiCo employee Jain.
The coffee capsule portfolio offers a range of signature blends with varying intensities and flavours to suit the palate of different consumers, explains Mr Jain. The blends contain an assortment of 100% Arabica as well as some variants add Robusta to bring in the additional acidity, all sourced from different regions in India. Yep, all Indian origin coffees.
Yes, it’s instant too. Here’s why you need to go the capsule route – the state-of-the-art coffee capsules marry the convenience of an ‘instant’ with the indulgence of a freshly ground brew and enables any individual to create a perfect cup of coffee in the comfort of their home – with consistent quality each time. The coffee capsules are compatible with the internationally popular Nespresso coffee makers. Of course, you will need one at home to use the capsules!
Tea, in capsules!
The tea capsules are an innovation for the tea loving Indian market, admits Mr Jain. The tea comes in a couple of variants too - Green Peace (Mild Green Tea) and Dark Pot (Classic Breakfast Tea). “They are a much smaller business for now,” he says. He estimates that about 10 per cent of sales are of tea capsules currently.
The coffee capsules are priced at Rs 350 for a packet of 10 capsules – pricey for the average coffee consumer, but right for the target market, estimate the promoters. Affordable luxury is how the brand sees itself.
The Indian consumer is fast evolving and is willing to experiment with their food and beverage today, reiterates Mr Jain. The younger generation wants to try out new experiences and flavoured cappuccino are high on the priority list, he says.
From a capacity of 9 million capsules, Okhla, Delhi based Bonhomia has already scaled up its capacity to meet increased demands. The company started with angel investment, but now has raised $2 million from its first round of investments. “The funds will be used to expand our footprint,” explains Mr Jain. The brand is looking at markets such as Singapore and the Middle East as possible markets.
Bonhomia has also tied up with numerous restaurants such as Bohemia and Hungry Monkey which offer Bonhomia blends in its espresso coffees and gourmet tea capsules. For retail, the capsules are available at stores such as Nature's Basket, Foodhall and Modern Bazaar. Hotels groups such as the Oberoi Group and Starwood are also using Bonhomia capsules. Of course they can be ordered from their website too. Want to sample? Visit the stores or wrangle an invite to sampling sessions – coffee pairings – as they call it, and you just might get hooked to the capsule way!
Suman Tarafdar is a journalist and writer based in Delhi. He has worked with a number of leading Indian media organisations, and writes on various aspects of luxury, lifestyle and culture. When not writing to earn a living, he likes to travel, read, cook, chat, shop and watch all kinds of soppy stuff on TV. Yes, current politics bothers him.