By Stuthi Nair
Depaul’s is actually not even a coffee shop. It’s a cosmetics store that also sells coffee. But ask a Delhiite where to get the hottest selling cold coffee in the city, and they’ll point you to DePaul’s!
Emerge from the depths of the Rajiv Chowk metro station, and you find yourself in the heart of Delhi’s signature shopping district, Connaught Place. Swiping my card, I exit gate no. 6 and walk purposefully towards Janpath. Because it is a hot day and I need my cold coffee fix. Because if it is cold coffee in Delhi, it has to be Depaul’s. Because, each time I sip from that long plastic bottle, I draw in the scent of sweet memories.
Janpath in the evening is somehow much more romantic than Janpath by daylight. The sun is gone but the lights accentuate the colours on display. Shirts, skirts, shoes, bags, bangles, lamps, books, curios, ittar—everything that can be sold is on sale here. People are exercising their bargaining skills. “I have lived in Delhi all my life, bhaiya, don’t think I’ll fall for this price.” But the foreigners do, of course. Fall for the prices, that is. Truth to tell, the market’s prime customers aren’t really us, the locals. But on a lucky day, I do strike a good deal on an earring or a kolhapuri chappal. And that day, the cold coffee at DePaul’s tastes even sweeter.
The DePaul’s Story
Founded in 1952, Depaul’s sells everything from classic cold coffee to Irish Cream, hazelnut, caramel, and white chocolate-flavoured cold coffee.
Originally starting off as a cosmetics and general merchandise store, Depaul’s founder Dharam Pal Kathpalia introduced coffee as its main attraction in 1969. A daring move, according to his son, Ashwani Kathpalia, the second generation owner of the family business, “Because at that time nobody would have milk-based drinks outside of home. Times were tough initially. We used to make coffee but had to throw half of it away every day.” However, it wasn’t long before the taste captivated people. From the very first sip of your ice-cold coffee, a sigh of contentment escapes you; a silent gratitude for their decision, as this coffee is nothing short of heavenly in taste!
Down Memory Lane
As its popularity grew, DePaul’s soon became a meeting spot for college students on a first date, office folk battling the afternoon slump, and families out for shopping. It’s crowded and grimy, but even as you stand beside the large can filled with tossed bottles, you nod at each other and exchange smiles. And it is that one moment of nostalgia that makes it worth the long drive or metro ride.
From delicious cheese sandwiches and momos to those heavenly cold coffees, Depaul’s lives up to its motto of Right Price, Right Quality, Right Quantity. My favourite combo is cold coffee with a big, hot cheese ball: a complete if sinful meal. Yet another coffee sipped, yet another memory made…
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