TASHKENT, May 26 (The Bulletin) — Highlighting an increase in coffee consumption across Central Asia and the South Caucasus, Russian coffee shop brand Shokoladnitsa said that it was working on a deal to open its first cafes in Uzbekistan and Georgia.
For Uzbekistan in particular, the opening of Shokoladnitsa branded coffee shops would herald a new era and open up opportunities for other companies looking to invest in Central Asia’s most populous country. There are currently no high street coffee shop chains in Uzbekistan. Uzbeks are also renowned for their love of sipping light green tea out of piala, a small handleless bowl, rather than drinking mugs of black coffee.
In an interview with the Russian language Rambler website, Maxim Trubnikov, director of regional development and franchising at Shokoladnitsa, said he expected to open five shops in Uzbekistan and eight new shops in Kazakhstan.
“Currently, we are working with Georgia, Uzbekistan, negotiations are underway for the opening of the brand in Kazakhstan,” he said.
“I expect that we conclude the contracts in the coming months.”
Shokoladnitsa also owns the Coffee House and Wabi Sabi brands. It was one of the original coffee shop brands to expand across Russian, serving americanos and cappuccinos since 2000.
It already has franchises in Astana, Almaty, Yerevan and Baku. The coffee scene has become increasingly developed in Kazakhstan with the emergence of several coffee shop chains over the past few years, including Starbucks.
In Uzbekistan, a Bulletin correspondent said a coffee culture was slowly spreading through independent cafes in Tashkent but that tea was predominant.
— This story was first published in issue 330 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin (formerly known as The Conway Bulletin)