Indian Coffee House in Jaipur: A Traditional Cafe from the Past

The Indian Coffee House in Jaipur has a rich history in the region and throughout India. First established in Thrissur, India on March 8, 1958, it came to Jaipur in 1962. It now has two different locations in the city one at M.I. Road and the other at Jawahar Kala Kendra. With over 500 different chains nationwide, the coffee chain is well known for its worker-cooperative societies and delicious coffee.

By far one of the best cafes in Jaipur, the Indian Coffee House in Jaipur has amazing coffee, deep traditions, and culture you have to experience. I have visited both branches in Jaipur and which were both unique and must visit places for a cold coffee.

So let’s dive into the history of the coffee shops in India and Jaipur and why they are a must-visit restaurant while visiting the Pink City of India!

History of the Indian Coffee House:

Reception Area Indian Coffee House, MI Road, Jaipur

Coffee cultivation in India dates back to the 16th century. However, the emergence of coffee houses began to gain gain popularity in the 18th century in Madras and Calcutta. Unfortunately, due to the discriminatory policies enforced by the British rulers, these coffee houses exclusively catered to Europeans, denying entry to native Indians. It was only in the late 1890s that the concept of establishing an inclusive chain of coffee houses, known as the “India Coffee House,” was conceived.

The Coffee Cess Committee took the initiative to establish the India Coffee House chain. The first outlet, named ‘India Coffee House,’ opened its doors in Churchgate, Bombay, in 1936, under the management of the Indian Coffee Board. Throughout the 1940s, approximately 50 Coffee Houses operated across British India. After the partition, the branches of Indian Coffee Houses in major cities were inherited by Pakistan, where the coffee house tradition continued to thrive as a gathering place for intellectual discussions.

In India, a change in policy during the mid-1950s led the Coffee Board to close the Coffee Houses. However, inspired by the communist leader A. K. Gopalan (AKG), the Coffee Board workers, initiated a movement that compelled the Coffee Board to hand over the outlets to the workers. As a result, the workers formed the Indian Coffee Workers’ Cooperatives and rebranded the network as the Indian Coffee House. The first cooperative was established in Bangalore on August 19, 1957, followed by another in Delhi on December 27, 1957.

Branches of the Indian Coffee House throughout India:

The Indian Coffee House boasts a strong following throughout the country, with over 500 chains and more than 4,000 workers. The different branches are scattered across the country. They are in the following states:

  • Kerala
  • West Bengal
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Chandigarh
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Karnataka
  • Rajasthan
  • Pakistan

Indian Coffee House locations in Jaipur:

Currently, there are two different Indian Coffee Locations in Jaipur. One on M.I Road close to Ajmeri Gate, the original and oldest one in the city. At the same time, the second location is more modern and located inside the Jawahar Kala Kendra.

Let’s take a look at both locations.

Indian Coffee House on M.I. Road in Jaipur:

The Indian Coffee House MI Road

The Indian Coffee House on M.I. Road is the first to arrive in Rajasthan and opened for business in 1962. Located down a small alleyway in a building that is over 100 years old, the cafe reminds you of a bygone era.

With its traditional and simple decor, I immediately fell in love with the coffee shop when I visited. The simplicity reminded me of movies from the region that feature heroes sitting at old coffee shops waiting to catch the bad guy.

Known for attracting intellectuals from all facets of life, the walls are adorned with pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and other well-known politicians and influential people. 

When I asked the man behind the counter about the famous restaurant, he told me that the cafe’s ambiance had changed a little over the years. The furniture, paintings, and walls are still in the same style as they were years ago.

Indian Coffee House in the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur:

Indian Coffee House Jawahar Kala Kendra

The second location is in the Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, a famous art museum and art exhibition complex. With a much more modern feeling, thanks to its location, the Indian Coffee House in the Jawahar Kala Kendra is a happening place. With tables and bench seating perfectly placed across the open-air seating area, one can enjoy a refreshing cold coffee while taking in the architecture of the building.

Although less traditional or rustic than the coffee shop on M.I. Road, this one has a special charm, which enchants the young artistic minds laughing and working with friends. 

I really enjoyed the JKK Indian Coffee House, as it is lively, with people coming and going frequently. Also, with the open-air seating, the architecture, and the vibe of this place, I recommend it to anyone in the area! The best thing to do is to hit up The Magnolia cafe across the street in the morning and then spend an evening at the Jawahar Kala Kendra, finishing the day with a refreshing cold coffee from the Indian Coffee House before you leave!

Now for the best part – The food and drinks!

Drinks from the Indian Coffee House in Jaipur:

They are famous for their cheap but delicious drinks that they have been serving for almost a century! So let’s dive into what we had while visiting the Coffee House in Jaipur!

Cold Coffee with Ice Cream:

Simple but amazing. I have ordered this every time we have visited the restaurant! With cream made in-house, the coffee is a yummy sweet, cold drink to enjoy in the blazing Jaipur heat. The portion size is smaller, but that is because it is so cheap – the value is perfect for what you are getting!

There is not much to say about this drink, it is simple, and they make it perfect every time! A safe bet when visiting either of the coffee shop locations.

Cold Coffee and Banana Shake Indian Coffee House
(L-R) Cold Coffee w/h Ice Cream and Banana Shake w/h Ice Cream

Banana Lassi with Ice Cream:

Once again, just a well-made drink. When you order this, you know exactly what you are getting – a delicious cold treat. This is Pooja’s favorite, and she gulps it down almost as fast as it arrives.

I was able to steal one sip of her drink before she finished it, and it was perfectly blended, with a great balance between the banana taste and the yogurt. I mean, they have had almost a hundred years to perfect this drink – and they have done just that!

Food at the Indian Coffee House:

Although we had not been able to get food from here yet, my mouth was watering every time one of the waiters brought food for another table! Famous for their South Indian Food. While we sat at the cafe, almost everyone ordered a dosa, mutton omelet, or chowmein. All of which looked absolutely mouthwatering.

We plan on going back to one of the Indian Coffee Houses in Jaipur real soon, and trust me when I say I am going to eat everything on that menu! So stay tuned for my next adventure, and I’ll update the blog accordingly!

Speaking of Menus.

The Indian Coffee House in Jaipur’s Menu:

Below you can find photos of the menu from the Indian Coffee House. It is simple and small, but they perfectly make every dish and drink on the menu!

The Indian Coffee House Menu

Verdict: The Indian Coffee House in Jaipur

With its rich culture and heritage, the Indian Coffee House in Jaipur is a unique and exciting place to visit for coffee. Whether visiting the coffee shop on M.I. road or in Jawahar Kala Kendra, you are in for a special treat.

Pooja’s favorite was the Indian Coffee House at Jawahar. She loved how it was spacious and located right in the heart of the architectural beauty that JKK is known for. Additionally, she loved the open-air concept that allowed you to take in the beauty of the sky while relaxing with a cold drink.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the more traditional coffee shop on M.I. Road. With its proximity to the Ajmeri Gate and the hustle and bustle of M.I Road, and one of the best places for shopping in Jaipur, it had a different atmosphere. It reminded me of movies like James Bond or Extraction when they would film at old coffee shops in Asia.

Overall, we loved the restaurant’s simplicity, the traditional attire the waiters wore, and of course, the delicious food and drinks available there! If you are ever in Jaipur or anywhere in India that has an Indian Coffee House, make sure to visit it and enjoy a cold coffee!

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