Indian Coffee House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Indian Coffee House
Restaurant chain
Industry Restaurants
Retail beverages
Founded 1936
Number of locations
Indian Coffee House Name Board

The Indian Coffee House is a restaurant chain in India, run by a series of worker co-operative societies. It has strong presence across India with nearly 400 coffee houses.[1][2]


Coffee had been grown in India by native Indians since the 16th century.[3] However, the concept of coffee houses began to gain a little popularity in the 18th century in Chennai (Madras state) and Calcutta. However, as part of the racial discrimination policy of the English rulers, native Indians were not allowed into these coffee houses, which were mainly During the late 1890s, the idea of an "India coffee house" chain was formed.[3]

The India Coffee House chain was started by the Coffee Cess Committee in 1936, when the first outlet was opened in Bombay. In the course of the 1940s there were nearly 50 Coffee Houses all over British India. Due to a change in the policy in the mid 1950s, the Board decided to close down the Coffee Houses. Encouraged by the communist leader A. K. Gopalan(AKG), the workers of the Coffee Board began a movement and compelled the Coffee Board to agree to handover the outlets to the workers who then formed Indian Coffee Workers' Co-operatives and renamed the network as Indian Coffee House. A co-operative began in Bangalore on 19 August 1957, and one was established in Delhi on 27 December 1957.[1][4] Later Bellary and Madras (Chennai) Societies were separated from their mother societies.[citation needed]


"There are 13 co-operative societies in the country to run the coffee houses. These societies are governed by managing committees elected from the employees. There is also a federation of the co-operative societies as the national umbrella organisation to lead these societies.".[5]



Indian Coffee House shop at Thampanoor, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

The state of Kerala has the largest number of Indian Coffee Houses, approximately 51 in India.[6]

Kozhikode has six branches of Indian Coffee House and Kannur has four branches and the regional headquarters of the Indian Coffee Workers' Society.

Indian Coffee House near High Court, Ernakulam, Kerala

Advocate T. K. Krishnan, a Communist Leader of Thrissur and N. S. Parameswaran Pillai, the State Secretary of the India Coffee Board Labour Union and a thrown-out employee of ICH were the founders of ICHs in Kerala. The first Indian Coffee House of Kerala was started in Thrissur in 1958. It was also the fourth ICH in the country. It was inaugurated by A. K. Gopalan on 8 March 1958.

There is also an alternative history book about the ICH movement, in Malayalam - Coffee Housinte Katha or History of Coffee House by N. S. Parameswaran Pillai under the pen name, Nadakkal Parameswaran Pillai (Published by Current Books, Thrissur). This is the only published written history of ICH movement in any language. The book won the Abudhabi Shakthi Award as the best autobiography in 2007.

Coffee House outlets in Kerala are noted for their extensive use of beetroot in their dishes.[7]

West Bengal[edit]

The Indian Coffee House has several branches in Kolkata, including the College Street branch, Central Avenue branch, Medical College Kolkata branch and Jadavpur branch. These are favourite hang-out places among the students and youth, although one can see several old-timers frequenting the coffee houses on a regular basis.

Coffee House at College Street
Indian Coffee House, Kolkata.

The most famous Coffee House branch in Kolkata is the one at the College Street, also known as the "Coffee House at College Street". Though popularly known as College Street Coffee house, this branch is actually on Bankim Chatterjee Street.

The history of the Coffee House at College Street can be traced to Albert Hall, which was founded in April 1876.[8] Later, the Coffee Board decided to start a coffee joint from the Albert Hall in 1942. Notable citizens, including Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, were frequent visitors to the place. In 1947, the Central Government changed the name of the place to "Coffee House".[9] The place became a meeting place for poets, artistes, literati and people from the world of art and culture. The coffee house is famous for its adda sessions, and as the breeding place of several political and cultural personalities and movements.

Other states[edit]


The Indian Coffee House branch in Sector 17 of Chandigarh was opened in 1964 and remained popular among professionals, journalists, doctors, bureaucrats, lawyers and senior officials.[10] The branch originally operated in Sector 22, and was shifted to Sector 17 in 1971. The Coffee House on the Punjab University campus is popular among students. In 2016, a new branch was opened in Sector 36.[11]

Himachal Pradesh

The Indian Coffee House branch in Dharamsala used to be a popular hang-out of intelligentsia in the city. It was set up, after the district administration approached the Indian Coffee Workers' Co-operative Society, Delhi in 1991. The society decided to close it down in 2006, after losses ran over 35 lakh rupees.[2]

Waiter with turban in Indian Coffee House, Vangalore.

The 50-year-old Indian Coffee House at M. G. Road in Bangalore closed on 5 April 2009, after the Indian Coffee Workers' Cooperative Society Limited lost a legal battle with the owner of the building to continue in the premises.[12] It has been reopened on Church Street, less than a hundred metres away. Another is at Koramangala opposite to Jyoti Nivas College. Another branch of Indian Coffee House is functioning at Christ University.


In every NTPC plant, Plant canteen is managed by Indian Coffee House (ICH). These canteens are subsidised and operate 24x7.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "More than just coffee 'n snacks". Metro Plus Kochi. The Hindu. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Vibhor Mohan (27 September 2006). "Crisis in a coffee cup". The Tribune. Retrieved 13 May 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Wild, Anthony (10 April 1995). The East India Company Book of Coffee. Harper Collins. ISBN 0004127390. 
  4. ^ "History". Indian Coffee House Kannur. Retrieved 2015-08-22. 
  5. ^ Indian coffee House
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Indian Coffee House's tryst with Beetroot". Food, Manorama Online. Malayala Manorama. 13 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Cuppa At Coffee House
  9. ^ Flavours of another era
  10. ^ Coffee House charm intact
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Bangalore's Coffee House shuts after 50 charming years

External links[edit]