Article by Vinayak Kini – Official Team Member | The 3 Hungry Men – Bangalore
Photos by Tejovanth – Official Photographer | The 3 Hungry Men – Bangalore
Conglomerate ITC has gotten into the premium coffee space with their latest offering, Sunbean. Offering two speciality blends, namely the Nicamalai, which is a blend of beans from Nicaragua and the Anamalai hills and the Panagiri, which is a blend of beans from Panama and Baba Budan Giri, it makes for a fascinating addition to the burgeoning coffee scene in India. While there’s a lot of talk about speciality single source coffees, ITCs approach of giving us blends works to a large extent, thanks in part to the intensive research and field tests that have been part of the process of bringing these products to the market.
Now, these are incredibly wonderful tasting coffees (with 0% chicory, mind you), and everything about them is premium, starting right from the packaging all the way up to the process of buying it. These aren’t regular coffees that you could pick off a super market shelf. You gotta head to the nearest high end ITC hotel (in Bangalore, the ITC Gardenia is a safe bet) and you’d be taken to a Coffee Studio (if you will), and you can select the blend that you want, and have it ground to a consistency you’d prefer. It’s not difficult to see why ITC has taken this course. This sets them apart as a niche player in this market, catering to the discerning and well-travelled coffee drinker. BTW, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the Nespresso experience, but whether it goes on to become something as big as it is something only time will tell.
At the outreach event conducted by ITC Sunbean, we from T3HM were lucky enough to get a taste of both these blends in different forms. The Nicamalai was in Espresso and a Black Coffee format, whereas the Panagiri was consumed in a Cappucino as well as a Café Latte. The flavors on both were rich, complex and aromatic. Quite honestly, being a coffee lover helps here, because it really tells you how much of a diverse experience you could have with different varieties of coffee. Team T3HM also got to spend time with their master blender, and the good news is that research and development is still on to bring many more such unique blends into the market, once the idea of this premium coffee catches on.
Let’s get one thing straight. This is premium coffee, and ITC has gone to great lengths to bring us the best beans from Panama and Nicaragua to perfect their blends. Import duties of 100% upwards mean that your shot of caffeine does not come cheap. Needless to say, it’s still something that I’d keep in the kitchen, just for the days when everything seems to be going wrong and an invigorating cuppa could set the whole world right.
A few tips:
Sunbean is best had as an espresso or brewed. Try and have the coffee without milk.
If you do need some sweeteners in the coffee, try Cinnamon powder. It imparts a special flavour that sugar would find difficult to match.
Have your beans ground medium fine. Works best for that espresso.
Go ahead. You deserve your cuppa coffee, and while you’re at it, make it a Sunbean.
The 3 Hungry Men is the brainchild of three very hungry men. No, seriously! Almost 7 years into the food and travel reviewing industry and their joint venture has proved to be a huge success with their excellent & honest reviews and media coverage. The 3 Hungry Men now travel the world to follow thier passion. They also organise all kinds of food events with a part of the proceeds going to charity. They also conduct food meets, contests, competitive eating events and of course do what they do best: TRAVEL & EAT!