My love-hate relationship with coffee began after my adolescent self happened to skim through an article narrating the drink’s disastrous effects on one’s sleep cycle, neurotransmitters and other fancy science words. Months of religious caffeine abstinence found me desperately reaching an understanding with the delicious drug; I was allowed to stumble back into its outstretched arms not for some half-hearted, instant gratification but only for a truly worthy, roasted-beans cuppa. The promise of this superior brew took me on a walk through the Shakti Mills Lane. While the view of the mill’s enchanting brick ruins makes for a great photo-op, even more magical is the coffee at Blue Tokai.
It’s an unusual name for a café so I made sure to do some research before I visited. Tokai is a Malabari word which means the tail of a peacock, and that’s what you’ll find emblazoned on their logo. The location is inconspicuous, yet it’s a cosy, attractive space, enough for Korra Jeans to have had set up a pop-up shop the day I visited.
Originally set up in Delhi, the cafe runs on the promise of good quality (read freshly roasted coffee sourced from farms across the country). Subscriptions to regular coffee bean refills start at Rs. 2150 but if you have commitment issues like me, you could sample the different offerings from various estates first. Karnataka’s Kalledeverapura Estate coffee with its cinnamon, berry and nutty profiles looks enticing, and I ask for it to be used for brewing my cappuccino. The first frothy sip is heaven, it’s been a while since my last good cup of coffee.
A couple of more sips (make that quick, desperate and appreciative gulps) and I’ve forgotten the meaning of the words ‘caffeine abstinence’.
Before I know it, I find myself ordering their Affogato, scoops of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over. I’m well aware I’ll be awake at 2 am and see my stellar intentions of waking up early to be productive the next morning vanishing. But boy, is it worth it. The robust coffee flavour and sweetness of the ice cream blend together perfectly. For a moment (or what seems like an eternity), worries of deadlines and assignments are forgotten in the pursuit of some simple java appreciation. The coffee grinders they sell suddenly start to look more appealing.
What about the food? Given that Le15 Patisserie is one of their food partners, it’s not surprising to see gems like Caramel and Sea Salt Brownies on the menu. A Custard Cruffin might sound like a bit too much after all the affogatos and cups of coffee but it’s worth a try. For my next visit, I’m determined to try Mason & Co., the vegan, gluten-free chocolate that they stock. I reluctantly leave the cafe after my wallet wins what is a losing battle with my inner caffeine addict. No coffee grinder will be purchased for a while.
Blue Tokai might not be the first establishment to throw its hat in the ring of all natural/fair trade/vegan/organic coffee shops and eateries in Mumbai, but with its passion for delicious and quality coffee I can safely say it’s my favourite.
How to Get There:
Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters
Where: Unit 20/22 Laxmi Woolen Mill, Opposite Khazana Furniture, Shakti Mill Lane, Off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai.
Contact: +91 9820095887
Timings: 9:30 AM to 9 PM
Cost: ₹350 for two people (Vat Extra) | Cash Only