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A Chat With Mahelal Pukhrambam, Owner of Cafe “Steamin Mug” in Imphal – Famous for Its Cosy Space and Perfect Coffee

Cafes and restaurants are gradually sprouting up in almost every corner of Imphal city in Manipur. Besides the menu, it’s also the little creative touches that the owners put into the space to make the ambiance attractive to customers. As is rightly said, “a cozy cafe is pretty much an ultimate happy place”, cafe Steamin Mug in Imphal radiates a super comfy and friendly vibe. It’s the perfect place to dissapear for a couple of hours for a well deserved coffee break, away from the busy or the mundane everyday life.

Today, we chat with the owner of Cafe “Steamin Mug” Mahelal Pukhrambam, who is an enthusiastic chef, curious traveler and a football fanatic from Manipur. Read on to know more about him, his life and his cafe.

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Mahelal Pukhrambam is an enthusiastic chef, curious traveler and a football fanatic from Manipur and is the owner of Cafe Steamin Mug in Imphal.

  • Hello Mahelal! Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello R&L! My name is Mahelal Pukhrambam from Manipur and I am the owner of “Steamin Mug” cafe. I am currently residing in Imphal but I have spent most of my adolescent age in Delhi. I am an enthusiastic chef, curious traveler, and a football fanatic.

“I have always loved to cook and experiment with new recipes. Exploring new places has added to my love for cooking local cuisine and their cookery has always drawn my attention. When I am not traveling or cooking, you will find me playing football or watching a match.”

Mahelal spends his evening playing football with friends.

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Mahelal spends his evening playing football with friends.

  • Tell us about your cafe “Steamin Mug” and when was it launched?

After graduating from the International Institute of Culinary Art, New Delhi (IICA), I dreamt of opening my own restaurant in my hometown of Imphal. Back in 2016, there weren’t many coffee shops where you could relax and hang out with your friends. There was also a lack of variety and quality of food in most of the restaurants in the city.

“So I did some market research on coffee and cafes. Initially, I made connections with coffee companies in Coorg, but I eventually chose Ete Coffee Company of Nagaland. And thus, I made the decision to open a themed café in Imphal and launched it on 21st January 2018 as a first of its kind.”

A sneak peek at the interiors of Cafe Steamin Mug.

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A sneak peek at the interiors of Cafe Steamin Mug.

Mahelal Pukhrambam, seated on the right, with his teammate, Henminlun.

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Mahelal Pukhrambam, seated on the right, with his teammate, Henminlun.

  • What is the concept and story behind the name of your cafe – Steamin Mug?

“Steamin Mug” as the name suggests, is about brewing coffee and I wanted people to know what we deal with, from the name itself.

A humble cup of amazing steaming hot coffee from Steamin Mug can brighten anyone’s day.

A humble cup of amazing steaming hot coffee from Steamin Mug can brighten anyone’s day.

  • Tell us what, according to you, is so special about your cafe?

More than anything else, Steamin Mug is about the coffee. Our café started out with medium roasted 100% organic Arabica coffee, known for its rich aroma. We have stayed true to our roots and ethos by serving nothing but excellent coffee. Furthermore, the food we serve is all freshly prepared with no compromise on the quality

Happiness is a cup of coffee with a good book in hand.

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Happiness is a cup of coffee with a good book in hand.

  • How have your roots and upbringing influenced elements of your cafe?

Growing up in two different places – Delhi and Imphal – and the love for traveling has embedded a mixed culture in me. This is evident from the menu and the ambiance at Steamin Mug. The food we serve is a fusion of indigenous and foreign elements.

“Our café isn’t any typical restaurant where you go just to eat. I have tried to reflect the chilled-out vibe that I have experienced in cafes in hill stations. The low tables are laid out so you can nestle in a warm corner on a lazy afternoon, bring a book and order some tea or coffee to go with it and feel completely relaxed with some soothing jazz music in the background.”

Steamin Mug’s famous waffles with french fries and herbal tea.

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Steamin Mug’s famous waffles with french fries and herbal tea.

Customers at Steamin Mug engaged in deep conversations with their friends over coffee and snacks.

Customers at Steamin Mug engaged in deep conversations with their friends over coffee and snacks.

  • What cuisine do you guys serve and what is the most special thing on your menu?

We serve different food items, from snacks like sandwiches and burgers to appetizers like salads, chicken wings along with hot and cold beverages and desserts. The menu is constantly evolving – reflecting seasonal ingredients and introducing new items to the town.

“The Original Beef Burger” is a super popular item on our menu. Our Mocha Frappe, Red Velvet Pastry and Churro Cream Bowl are special and unique as well!

“The Original Beef Burger” at Steamin Mug is to die for.

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“The Original Beef Burger” at Steamin Mug is to die for.

Steamin Mug’s Mocha Frappe adds just a little sunshine to your day.

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Steamin Mug’s Mocha Frappe adds just a little sunshine to your day.

So next time you’re in Imphal, do stop by Cafe Steamin Mug in  Uripok Sinam Leikai, RIMS road, Imphal. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Steamin Mug’s Churro Cream Bowls are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and absolutely delicious.

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