The 'bitter-sweet' business strategy over a cup of kaapi!

In a generation of instant mixes, Madras Coffee House brings you authentic flavours and aroma of authentic filter coffee. Here’s their story...

Published: 01st June 2016 04:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2016 10:10 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: The aroma of freshly ground coffee powder brewed in that traditional filter, mixed with boiled milk and the sound of it being poured in the classic Davara tumbler might be what most of us see in our kitchens every day.

With many shifting to instant coffees, cappuccinos, expressos and lattes, some might wonder whether filter coffee has still got it? Oh yes, they do! Thanks to Madras Coffee House, the on-the-go coffee kiosks that you find spread across the city.

Founded by restaurateur and entrepreneur, M Kumaaravelan and co-founded by Prasanna Venkatesh, the first outlet of this one-of-a-kind filter coffee kiosk was launched in 2010 in Chennai One IT Park, Perungudi. City Express caught up with the duo over a cup of hot filter Kaapi at their very successful and busy kiosk at Bazulla Road.

The restauranteurs-cum-entrepreneurs met in 2009 and by 2010, they decided to launch their first outlet. So, what’s their story?

“We met in 2009 and Kumaaravelan asked me if I would be interested in taking up a business based on coffee. I agreed immediately! Why wouldn’t I? I love coffee,” laughs Prasanna. With their first outlet getting positive feedback, the duo went on to open more in Express Avenue, T Nagar and Avadi.

In an optimistic tone Kumaaravelan said, “We knew this would work and we knew it would be a success for sure.”

“We are coffee lovers so we know the struggle of finding a good coffee place. You either have to go to an expensive restaurant or a tea shop and there was nothing between these two gaps and that’s where we wanted to be,” he explains.

Madras Coffee House currently has 43 outlets across the country including Bengaluru and Pune.

Though there is a stable market for traditional coffee, there is high demand for good quality and consistent service, they say. “Filter coffee is available everywhere. But, it’s hard to get the right taste. That’s what we aim at and deliver,” shares Kumaaravelan. All they talk about is coffee, coffee and more coffee! So, what’s their caffeine connect? “I drink around 30 coffees a day. I have been drinking since I was 17, or maybe even before that,” laughs 50-year-old Kumar, playfully nudging Prasanna who is also a coffee lover. “I don’ t drink as much as he does. But, I know I can’t survivewithout coffee. His granddaughter drinks it and my son drinks it. It’s a family thing,” he quips.

With a clientele count of 6,000 (approx) around the city in a single day, Prasanna says that most of their customers are surprisingly young working professionals.

“In the mornings you’ll find senior citizens stopping buy for a hot cup of coffee after their morning walks and the usual crowd will be a mix of everyone,” says Kumar. With their customisation concept, they prepare coffees according to the specifications of the customers.

“Not everyone likes a lot of sugar in their drink. Some like it bitter and some would want less decoction and less sugar due to health issues. We make it according to their needs,” shares Prasanna.

Brewing the finest filter coffee, the outlets also provide a wide range of snacks for its customers. “We are looking to give the best and never compromise on the quality. Be it rain or the hot summer, we improvise.”

The duo also provide their customers with seasonal delights, For instance during summer the coffee house introduced buttermilk in the kiosk.

“We want to cater to everyone who wants to have quality drink/snack quickly,” shares Kumar. The outlets also have star clients from the film fraternity including actors like Vivek, Kuyili, Sathappan and more. “We are happy that this concept has been welcomed by people in Chennai and other cities. It just shows that traditions never die!” adds Prasanna.

Giggling at the mention of health before, Kumar quickly asks his customers, “There was a study that showed drinking coffee can reduce the risk of heart attacks. And I drink way too many coffees and am still healthy! So, is it a myth that coffee is bad for health?”

Adding On to The Delights!

Want a taste of the coffee at Madras Coffee House every day? Well, you have some good news. The kiosks will be selling its very own MCH coffee powder to customers very soon.

For Every Cup of Coffee, A Small Nibble is Essential

Madras Coffee House makes sure they’ve got a variety of small bites to complete your meal or satisfy your hunger


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