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Originally published September 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM | Page modified September 28, 2012 at 6:19 AM

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Mumbai selected as first India Starbucks

Starbucks said in January it would debut in India this fall. Its first store is scheduled to open in Mumbai in October.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Starbucks said its first cafe in India will open next month in the Horniman Circle area of South Mumbai.

Future cafes will open in Mumbai and New Delhi, but the Seattle-based coffee chain is not disclosing the number of stores it plans, or other cities where it hopes to do business in India, which has the world’s largest population after China.

Starbucks and Tata Group, its corporate partner in India, also named longtime Tata employee Avani Saglani Davda as CEO of their 50-50 joint venture. Avani joined Tata — which sells everything from cars to coffee — in 2002 and has worked in its hotel group and as chief of staff to the vice chairman of its beverages division, which operates the largest group of coffee plantations in Asia, mostly for export.

Espresso for Starbucks drinks in India will come from farms several hours outside Bangalore and will be roasted in India.

Starbucks’ menu in Mumbai will include local flavors, including coffee jelly tiramisu and tandoori paneer roll.

“It’s going to be very exciting,” Davda said of Starbucks’ arrival. “Consumers in the metro cities have been waiting for Starbucks to come with great anticipation.”

Starbucks announced in January that it had formed the joint venture with Tata and planned to open in Mumbai and New Delhi in the fourth quarter.

That news came five years after the chain first planned to debut in India.

It was postponed by the recession, fallout from Starbucks’ overexpansion and, reportedly, Starbucks’ inability to comply with Indian rules about foreign ownership.

Starbucks also said this week it plans to add stores in 2013 in Sweden and Norway outside its current airport and railway locations. Its partner for the new stores is Umoe Restaurant Group.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or Twitter @AllisonSeattle.

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