Those of us who grew up in Delhi can affirm that the world’s best cold coffee is served by Depaul’s in Delhi. As Ms Manmohan explains, “Packed in tiny, customised bottles of 200 ml, Depaul’s beverage lasts just about 4 happy gulps.” Every work trip to Delhi should therefore involve visiting one of the many Depaul’s outlets scattered across the enormous NCR region. For those unfortunates who have spent their entire lives drinking frappe, a visit to Depaul’s is a must when they are next in Delhi.

“The coffee shop’s story began in 1952 with Dharampal Kathpalia and his family. The name Depaul’s is a phonetic play on the founder’s name…”

Kathpalia started his first shop in Janpath with a limited menu of fast-food snacks and cold coffee. At the outset he made a big call which built his firm’s legendary reputation: ““He chose to use fresh stock of full-fat pasteurised milk by Amul brand instead of milk from local dairies, which were abundantly available all around Delhi. Locally accessed milk would have been cheaper but he felt there would be no standardisation so he went for branded milk supply,” says Ashwani Kathpalia, Dharampal’s son and the current owner of Depaul’s.

The founder used not only the best quality edible materials such as coffee powder and sugar but even the glass used to make the bottles in which Depaul’s coffee was sold was sourced from the National Glass Company, which used good quality material. The design of the bottle had a pleasing novelty and its size was deliberately kept slender and tiny to provide a ‘small refreshment’ to people. The starting price was just Re 1 to entice the young consumer.

Nobody ever knows the secret of success, but it seems everything came together for Depaul’s coffee. It became a smash hit with young college-going boys and girls who would come from all over the city and crowd outside the shop to meet friends. Positioned at the cul de sac or dead end of a corridor, this non-descript little canteen had no fancy seating nor any eye-catching wall art. But it became a favourite spot among young people who would wash down sandwiches, burgers and patty with the famous cold Depaul’s coffee.

“It seems that the taste, quality, quantity and price was just how the youngsters wanted it. This shop has seen celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, and Mallika Sherawat relish the cold coffee when they were young students in Delhi.”

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