1999 / HARYANABarista

Designing a coffee drinking experience aspirational


Apart from home and work, the need for a ‘third place’ in the Indian scenario was an emerging trend. Especially for India, the space had to be warm, energetic, happy and bustling with radiance. Barista wanted to cater to this need, serving the authentic coffee experience.


A retail concept that captured the radiance and exuberance of the Italian piazza with a more gregarious Indian twist to relish coffee in a “third space”.


Barista as envisioned by Amit Judge focused on the complete Italian coffee experience from the start through the creation of a space that is trendy and familiar-appealing to the ‘young at heart’…a glowing refuge where one ‘feels at home’ with friends or feels socially connected even when by oneself. A space which is informal, happy, accessible and affordable yet possesses a well-defined and aspirational character. An international product in an international ambience. He took a huge gamble by working with the relatively young yet enthusiastic team at Incubis to shape his idea when we launched this pioneering concept in the year 1999.

Since Barista’s core offering was an authentic combination of Italian coffee blends and hand-crafted espresso, Incubis created a store concept that captured the radiance and joy of the Italian piazza or town square. This was in some ways an Asian response to enjoying coffee in bright and cheerful surroundings as against the intense, smoke-filled and somewhat gloomy European cafes epitomized by the Left-bank Paris scene. Even Starbucks, the first truly global coffee shop brand and pioneer of the ‘third place’ between home and work is still more of a somewhat introverted, dark and cozy ‘me and my coffee’ place in contrast to the bustle, energy and warm-inviting glow of a Barista. The original design concept captured the exuberant Italian spirit through the use of an innovative textured orange finish accented by terracotta floors, brushed steel, natural wood and specially calibrated lighting and aromas – All this was done in a contemporary style with eclectic inspirations drawn from the Tuscan countryside interpreted in a minimalist way.

A unique experience designed around authentic, handcrafted, Italian coffee/ espresso. Capture the multi-sensory dimensions around espresso – The sight of a gleaming espresso machine…a high- performance device rearing to go!…the glowing, radiating oasis where friends are only a smile away… the sound of steam frothing into cups and the heady aroma of fresh brew grabbing all those who pass by – pulling them in once more.

After the successful launch of the first store in Vasant Vihar, Delhi in 1999, the brand scaled up rapidly to over 130 stores nationwide within four years and established a small presence in Sri Lanka and the UAE, all conceptualized by Incubis. The company went through a couple of transitions in ownership; first with an investment by Tata Coffee and thereafter through a majority acquisition by the Sterling InfoTech / Fresh & Honest Group (promoted by Sivasankaran). The company was then acquired by Lavazza, an iconic Italian coffee roaster-blender and one of the world’s largest and most respected purveyors of ‘coffee culture’ with a 110-year-old heritage….a fitting recognition of Barista’s Italian spirit yet uniquely Indian roots. It is now a part of the Rolltainers group.

Incubis has been a part of the brand’s evolution right from the start, working with the management team to ensure that the brand remains relevant and fresh.

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