Starbucks opened its first store in India Friday in a joint venture with the Tatas, hoping to redefine the coffee market in the country.Branded as Starbucks Coffee - A Tata Alliance, the flagship cafe of the 50-50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee Company and Tata Global Beverages opened its doors to customers at the historic Elphinstone Building in Horniman Circle in south Mumbai."We are proud to enter the India market with Tata Global Beverages, a global company that shares many of the same values that Starbucks was founded on more than 40 years ago," said Howard Schultz, chief executive, Starbucks Coffee Company."Together, our two companies are bringing an unparalleled experience to India customers. We are investing for the long-term and see great potential for accelerated growth in India," he said.Added R.K. Krishnakumar, Vice Chairman, Tata Global Beverages, "We are delighted to come together today and transform the coffee experience for consumers across India, while providing a community gathering place to connect with family and friends."While India is known for its tea drinking, sipping coffee and socializing at coffee shops is becoming increasingly popular. Government data shows domestic consumption of coffee rose to 108,000 tonnes in 2010, up 80 percent in the past decade.The coffee shop industry is growing at a compounded annual rate of 25 per cent for the past few years.The company has tweaked its menu to suit the Indian taste and pocket, with the most expensive Frappuccino priced at Rs.200."We want to be accessible to everyone," said Schultz.The product portfolio includes Starbucks signature espresso-based beverages, as well as Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, Starbucks Reserves and Indian Espresso Roast, sourced locally with Tata Coffee.The outlet is also offering Tata Tazo and Himalayan mineral water and its broad food offering boasts a wide selection of 42 items, including locally favoured items such as Elaichi Mawa Croissant, Murg Tikka Panini and Tandoori Paneer Roll.As part of the agreement, Starbucks and Tata Coffee Limited will work toward developing and improving the profile of Indian-grown arabica coffees around the world.Tata Starbucks Ltd will launch two more stores next week at Oberoi Mall and the Taj Mahal Palace Annexe in the city.The first Delhi store will open in the first quarter of next year.
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