Matt & Namrata Founders of Blue Tokai Coffee
“Why settle for bad coffee?” The question that started a
company, and created an culture.
Matt & Namrata Matt Chitharanjan and Namrata Asthana, are hoping to convert a fraction
of India’s massive tea drinking population into coffee connoisseurs.
What started as a hobby in 2013, has turned into a thriving online coffee business, Blue
Tokai. In 2018, they now have 12 cafes across India and have enabled explicit coffee education
in India. Named after an ancient South Indian term for the tail of a peacock -- tokai, the
coffee start-up wants to popularize India’s vast coffee growing plantations, which have been
largely unknown abroad and within the country itself.
While India is the fifth largest coffee grower in the world, the bulk of the coffee is
exported, especially the premium Arabica beans, Chitharanjan says. The state of Karnataka
produces nearly 80 percent of India’s coffee. Yet, north Indians know little about these farms.
Using their savings and support from friends and family, the two invested in a roaster.
Blue Tokai roasts twice a week and ships out coffee immediately after the roast to ensure
freshness. People think coffee is a staple. Rather, it’s a perishable good, he says. Hence, the
coffee is ground to a customer’s liking and sent via Fedex for delivery. The company processes
one-time orders and monthly subscriptions. Their packaging showcases Indian artwork, a
description of where the coffee is from, and of course, their signature label, a peacock.
It wasn’t simple. Indian households stock instant coffee, not ground beans. That meant they
got calls from customers and first time brewers, asking how to brew with grinds. Given that
coffee equipment is not readily available in India, Tokai has started offering a selection of
devices to brew coffee as well (including Aeropress, french press, and more elaborate Japanese
Awareness, however, is growing. Blue Tokai estimates that the domestic coffee consumption
has increased over 5% every year, in the last 10 years. That’s more than tea. Coffee, popular
mostly in developed nations, is a more expensive drink, they argue, requiring more beans (than
tea leaves) to produce a single cup.
India’s foodie culture is booming -- and along with it an appetite for good coffee, not the
traditional South Indian coffee, prepared with a heavy hand of sugar and milk.
Poet, Lyricist Storyteller Founder of Project Fuel
The storyteller who has travelled from Uttaranchal to
Afghanistan, from refugees to officers, from children to the elderly to hear and share
Deepak Ramola Started Project Fuel at age 17 and has collected over 1,50,000 life
lessons since then
Mission of his life - Make each life count. Make people feel valued
Some of Deepak’s iconic project’s include-
The Ghost art village They painted life stories on the walls of abandoned houses at Tehri
district’s Saur village. Refugee tour with United Nations They traveled to Sweden, Netherlands,
Germany, France and Hungary to collect life lessons of people affected by recent migrant crisis
- both refugees, and citizens of the countries that have provided asylum to them.
The Master Piece tour Travelled to Punjab, which is one of the most culturally rich states
of India as well as historically significant. They taught nearly 3500 students in 7 schools
across 6 cities & focused on building life skills such as effective communication, critical
thinking, creative thinking, self-awareness and self-esteem. Green Batti Project co-created the
curriculum for cycle 1 (12 sessions) of the mentorship program. This collaboration helped
experiential learning to 500 mentors.
Mukti Bhavan Life lessons from a hostel in Varanasi where people check-in to die. Lyricist
for Bollywood movies Penned lyrics for a Manjhi sung by Amitabh Bachan and Farhan Akatar.
Out of Syllabus Project Celebrate the wisdom, stories and life lessons of our educators,
this project that allows students to see a reflection of themselves in the story of their
teachers and build a world of new learnings.
Theatre Director & Playwright
The man, the performances, the art, the music, that can
only be experienced, not explained...
Roysten Abel You don’t need words to tell stories. Or for that matter, language.
Because to stir a soul, to capture the imagination, to inspire awe... you don’t need to follow
the rules; you need to reinvent them. There is no way to describe what Roysten does. Because
what Roysten does, defies definition.
Roysten Abel graduated in 1994 from National School of Drama.
In 1995, he founded Indian Shakespeare Company.
In 1999, he devised and directed Othello a play in black and white, which was his first
original work. It went on to win the Scotsman fringe first award and since then has toured
extensively around the world.
He conceived and direct a play on the Italian Film maker Federico Fellini in Rimini, which
is Fellini’s hometown in Italy. He created a play called the Spirit of Anne Frank, which starred
the biggest female stars in the country. He went on to do his first feature film In Othello
which was his first step into cinema.
He enjoyed working with musicians and created, “The Manganiyar Seduction” and “A Hundred
Charmers” which has been traveling the world. Roy then went on to create “The Kitchen” which he
devised with 12 Mizhav drummers and two actors/cooks. This project was commissioned by Sydney
festival. Holland Festival and Auckland festival.
He recently premiered “The Manganiyar Classroom” in which he worked with the children of