Small things can lead to deep experiences. A particular instance is that of a chilly that doesn’t hit you on the tongue but its pungency has a way of warming up the throat and then there are the places that simply relax you, and if you’re relaxed just enough they have the power to take you to a time you knew nature at its best. Imagine this happening with a glass of juice while you’re sitting in what I have come to call a ‘juice bar’- The Yellow Straw. Isn’t that something?
Boyhood dreams die hard and when they don’t they just redefine. This time the redefining is happening in The Yellow Straw, Kolkata. Co-founders Piyush Kankaria and Vikram Khimwasara are bringing to Kolkata, the city of joy, the goodness of freshly squeezed cold press – masticating juices.
I met Piyush in the soothing to the eye dimly lit, a cozy cafe called the The Yellow Straw. The place has some great wall art and quirky interiors. The first of its kind, The Yellow Straw has on its menu some of most unique juices you’ll ever find. A look at the menu and the risk averse will say, ‘What the hell?’ while the risk-taker will respond by his usual ‘Bring it on’, but I am expecting an ‘I should do this more often’ from both of them, once they’ve tried it.
The Yellow straw seems to be a lot more than just a juice store. The juices on the menu are more like a balanced solution for different taste buds and health needs. With names like Mean Green Straw, with spinach, celery, amla/lemon, cucumber and mosambi, and Skin Glow Straw, with apple, ginger, beet, carrot and lemon, there are many different taste sensors that this juice bar seems to be hitting. With its great service, waiters asking you to taste your juice and get more customizations and its attention to retaining the healthiness in the juices, the consumer is set to be surprised.
Vikram proudly says, “The juice we sell is even better than the one you consume at home”. He uses a process called masticating. This technique uses a slow squeeze process that converts a fruit into juice, without adding any water and with the least amount of nutrients lost.
Vikram explains, “The grinder blades running at an RPM of 2000-30,000, have a huge amount of kinetic energy that turns into heat causing accelerated oxidation of the juice while killing a whole range of nutrients. Our juicers rotate at an RPM of 40-80 and so we say our juices have most of their nutrients intact. We are against the practice of adding water to juices and make sure our consumers get 100% fruit.”
There are currently 5 The Yellow straw stores in Kolkata. The founders plan to open 5 more by the end of the year. Besides these stores, The Yellow Straw plans to launch juice carts to enhance its reach and to increase awareness about its special juices. The expansion plan across cities is to take effect most probably in the next 2 years with next cities in line to be Pune and Bangalore.
The concept of cold press juices has gained a lot of traction in past 2 years not only in India but also worldwide. Other startups that are doing cold press juices are the Raw Pressery (Mumbai), Antidote (Delhi), Relish Nutrition (Chennai), Fresh Pressery (Bangalore) and Juice up. Most of these other start-ups operate on a subscription model, different from The Yellow Straw’s juice bar model. With Alia Bhatt and Jacqueline Fernandez using cold pressed juices and tweeting about the benefits of cold pressed juices, I expect this sector to show some juice in the future.
31-year-old Piyush has been a food enthusiast since before he can remember. Back in the day did his engineering from SCE Bangalore. He has worked with software company Keane and later joined the family business in software at Coral Soff’ware. After a couple of years of coding and marketing and sales he decided to unleash his passion for Food and started The Yellow Straw.
Vikram is like one those people in your group that are always fit. He hits the Gym regularly and is a ‘healthy food’ enthusiast. He had worked with ING Mutual funds as a state head and decided to take a plunge and start The Yellow Straw when asked to leave kolkata.