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Fave Caffs (15): Devans at Lodhi for the most delicious coffee in Delhi (perhaps anywhere)

An ancient copper roasting machine

Siddhartha Devan and Rahul the assistant barista

Vintage Coffee Board poster

Mr D.Vasudeva, father of Keshav and grandfather of Siddhartha, founded the wholesale coffee business named Devans in 1962.

In his day there was little more than a rough looking dusty godown, or shed, with gunny sacks of coffee berries which Mr Vasudev sourced from Karnataka. His plantation contacts were in the Babagudangiri  and Chipmangalore districts as he was only interested in high grown varieties. Tea was bought at auctions in Kolkata (Calcutta). 

As a faithful long time  customer- almost my first stop after the jet lag- my eyes were out on stalks  when I saw the shiny new red and white  board. I guessed there had been a landmark change, and  I was  right. A bright, contemporary interior with   trendy low stools and benches  (designed by the architect daughter), a low table with the New York Times Review off Books, a dazzling bar with the latest Italian espresso machine and the best coffee in Delhi (no, let me be fulsome) or the world!

In the shabby but loveable New Khanna Market,  between Uncle Arora’s haberdashery (needles, ribbons, underwear, buttons, creams like Fair and Lovely) and the wool shop where I bought hanks of wool mix for my mother to knit into tank tops, is the very cool Devans.

Mr and Mrs Devan

The menu- only coffee brewed in different ways

Siddhartha, the son, has boned up on the elements that really matter in making a sublime cup of coffee: sourcing, blending, roasting and filtering. He works alongside young Rahul who cut his teeth as a barista in  Coffee Day and is in love with all the shiny gadgets around him. I asked for a flat white, which found me oohing and aahing in an embarrassing way, and came back next day for a Spanish cortado,the best since Bilbao. 

I think what I love most of all is knowing that here is a place which is clean, does what it says on the label, is brimming with a sweet energy and gives me a lift like nothing else does in this benighted city. Be happy- get a macchiato (aero pressed, paper filtered out of the shiny monster) and forget the pollution and dirty politics for ten minutes.





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