Sell coffee online: How Blue Tokai took their cafe brews online with Shopify

Coffee. 

The one name that resonates in India with everyone on coffee is, Blue Tokai. No matter what age group you fall under, you have at one point or the other either been to Blue Tokai for a cup of hot coffee or recommended it to someone who wanted a strong brew with an authentic taste. 

We at Shopify are no different. 

Started out in 2013, Blue Tokai was started with a simple mission to introduce people to great-tasting coffee and set a coffee culture that told them the difference between beans that were roasted with the utmost care and those that simply didn’t make for the perfect brew. 

“We wanted to introduce our customers to the estates we directly buy our great tasting coffee from. The coffee we roast is the coffee we like to drink and we hope you will like it too. So our mission has always been very simple - make high-quality coffee more accessible to everyone through our cafes and our website.” 

Want to start an online store like Blue Tokai? Get started with a free trial on Shopify.

The story behind Blue Tokai 

Blue Tokai’s journey to becoming India’s largest coffee speciality company comes from a culture of constant learning. The founders share how they are consistently researching, testing and implementing best practices throughout the business to raise the bar every day to keep pushing coffee forward.

Right from making refractometers essential for cafe brewing to holding advanced sensory learnings for junior roasters and experimenting with processing at the farm level, Blue Tokai is constantly evolving the way Indian coffee is treated, experienced or communicated about.

The coffee brand started out by introducing their coffee into the Indian market through cafes in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Noida and Goa. The idea was to be able to develop roast profiles and focus on the brewing of each cup they served to ensure their customers got coffee in the way they intended them to. 

But the long-term goal for the company was to make great coffee available to everyone and only so many people could visit their cafes. That’s when the coffee brand decided to take their business online to be able to make their coffee a household name across the country and chose Shopify as their eCommerce platform.

As coffee enthusiasts ourselves, we couldn’t be any happier. 

If you’re craving coffee already, visit the Blue Tokai store here

Sell coffee online: Starting an online coffee store with Shopify 

When Blue Tokai decided to take their coffee online, they wanted an eCommerce platform that would be easy to get started with and yet would give them the ability to scale easily as their customers grew. 

“When you start an online business, there are so many things you wish you don’t have to worry about and Shopify helped us not worry about this aspect of it (starting an online store). Since Shopify offers a turnkey solution, it was a very easy decision for us to make. We were a two-person army; one would do the roasting and the other was focusing on the packaging so we had to make sure we were choosing a platform that wouldn’t burden our journey.”

With the ability to start an online store easily, Shopify has given the Blue Tokai partners more time at hand to find better ways to work together and with their roasters, focusing on what matters the most to their brand’s vision and mission - turning a cup of coffee into an experience with carefully roasted beans and slow-brewed coffee.

As of today, Blue Tokai’s entire in-cafe coffee range is available on their online coffee store. The brand has also shared their story of starting a coffee business in India, how they chose the farms they work with today, their roasteries and more, to be able to set the tone for the culture they’re about to make their customers experience. 

sell coffee online 1

Want to start an online store like Blue Tokai? Get started with a free trial on Shopify.

Helping customers choose and brew the perfect coffee 

Unlike the in-cafe experience, Blue Tokai knew that it was important to share how each coffee variant available in their store was different from the others. In a country where the knowledge about coffee or how it is brewed is limited, the brand took it upon themselves to educate their customers.

Their online coffee store is not just a visit and buy experience. They have gone above and beyond to ensure they can help each visitor find their perfect brew. After all, selling coffee online does take effort! 

1. Product pages that hold a conversation 

Just as the baristas would when you walk into the Blue Tokai cafes, each of the product pages on their site holds a conversation with the visitor. They don’t just list the variants on their online coffee store but also have taken the time to explain their making, and how each one is different from the other.

The product pages describe how the coffee is made, where it comes from and the taste one can expect from it. Infact, they’ve also added recipes to make the perfect hot and cold brew to ensure their customers get to experience coffee the same way as they could at their cafes. 

sell coffee online product pages

2. Simplest guides to help brew the perfect cup of coffee

Not all of us know how to brew our coffees well. For most, it is just about adding a teaspoon of coffee into hot water and adding milk. But that’s exactly what Blue Tokai wanted to change while setting the coffee culture in India.

To help their online customers learn to brew the perfect cup, the online coffee store doesn’t just offer a variety of starter kits and equipment, but also a blog with easy-to-follow guides. Clear coffee proportions and recipes for the perfect hot and cold brews.   

sell coffee online 3

3. Chatbot and live chat assistance to pick the right coffee

Think about the last time you walked into a cafe and took almost ten minutes to decide what you wanted. Now think how long it would take to make the same decision online when there’s no one to guide you in the right direction. Blue Tokai knew this was an important aspect of being able to deliver the same coffee experience as in their cafes, on their online coffee store.

The brand implemented a chatbot and a live chat on the store to coffee recommendations, based on where the visitor is in their journey with coffee. It’s a simple chat that guides you step-by-step to finding the right coffee for you. 

sell coffee online 4 chatbots

4. Hygiene page to address COVID-19 concerns 

A more recent addition to their online store is a hygiene page, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. Blue Tokai understands the concerns of their customers and knows it is important to face them head-on, instead of leaving it ambiguous. With a hygiene page, the brand shares how they’re ensuring quality coffee standards as usual, in addition to the safety measures being followed at their farms, their roasteries and the cafes that are slowly opening for dine-in.

sell coffee online hygiene page

With a host of other Shopify apps and partners, Blue Tokai is growing their online coffee store every day, winning hearts across India. 

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out their story and their store here

Want to learn more about starting an online store like Blue Tokai? Read the complete guide on how to sell packaged food online here.

And if you’re ready to take the next step to take your business online, sign up on Shopify for a free trial today!