Pondicherry, lovingly know as Pondy by locals and tourists alike is home to some of South India’s best coffee. Pondicherry was colonised by the French in 1951 (for the first time) and the influence is very much still visible in the wide tree lined boulevards, quaint buildings, baked goods and most importantly coffee. Almost everywhere in the pretty as a picture French quarter does a great French press but I had to narrow them down. Alors, here are my 5.
Address: 10, Suffren Street, White Town, Pondicherry, 605001
Phone: 099944 81914
2. Le Café
It's location is what earns this establishment it's place on my list, It's shaded outdoor seating is one of only places that offer an delightful view of the Bay of Bengal. It boasts 24 hour opening times, however we found out when arriving at 5am after a long bus journey that this is in fact not true. Coffee is not severed until 6am and food starts at 7am.
Address: White Town, Pondicherry, 605001
Phone: 0413 291 7949
3. Café Ole
Perhaps the most efficient air conditioning in India. Café Ole whilst being freezing inside has the best cold coffee shakes in town. The friendly staff love to show off their coffee art skills making them almost too attractive to drink. The key word there is ‘almost’.
Address: 319, Mission St, Pondicherry, 605001
Phone: 0413 222 0107
4. Artika Cafe Gallery
Pondy is home to a lot of great street art and many a great piece can be found in this art gallery cum designer clothes shop cum café. The set breakfasts are pretty spectacular including everything from coffee, croissants, eggs AND a smoothie. The wifi here is also the fastest we found.
Address: 1, La Bourdonnais St, White Town, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu 605001
Phone: 098949 10080
5. Indian Coffee House
This classic indian chain was everything I hoped it would be. I knew about it as it is where Yann Martel’s novel ‘The Life of Pi’ begins, a fact that excited me hugely. Full to the brim of moustached, white shirt wearing Indian men it offers South Indian favorites such as dosas, uttappam and idly at break neck speed. It's high ceilings and colonial architecture allude to eras gone by and the coffee is excellent and extremely cheap. A welcome change from boutique style establishments aimed at tourists. However take note, don't ask for chai you don't want to receive a scowl from the waiter, it's strictly coffee here.
Address: 125, J.N. Street, Near Muthu Silk House, Pondicherry, 605001
Phone: 0413 233 7572
I know I said only five but I have to mention Baker Street. If you miss good cheese look no further. This place imports pretty much every type of cheese you can think of as well as baking its own bread and being one of the only places where good French wine is available. The staff (like many people in Pondy) are delightful and fluent in both French and English to add some authenticity and joie de vivre.
Get ready for the caffeine shakes and enjoy!