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In Interview with Rahul Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Coffeeza

Coffeeza is a premium brand of single-serve coffee capsules, machines and accessories for coffee lovers, looking to prepare great-tasting café-style beverages, in the comfort of their home or office. Founded by Rahul Aggarwal in 2018, after identifying a gap in the market where convenient options to enjoy gourmet coffee were not easily available.

After completing his higher studies in the United States, at Purdue University and Babson College, Rahul came back to India and joined his family business where he got to travel around the world experiencing the finest coffee. Being an ardent coffee lover himself, he decided to launch Coffeeza after seeing limitations in the convenient options in India to enjoy premium barista-style coffee, despite its growing demand.

Recently, we had the honour of conducting an interview with the Founder Rahul Aggarwal. Here is the complete interview.

1. What Inspired you to start your venture in this particular domain? What is unique about your products/services? 

When studying in the US, I would enjoy my regular visits to Starbucks and other cafes, as they were at a walking distance, and I got accustomed to the gourmet coffee lifestyle there. But, when I came back to India, I realized that there were no convenient options available to enjoy my daily ritual of drinking barista-style coffee. On the other hand, during my work trips around the world, I saw various innovations taking place in the coffee culture, as technology kept evolving. I was fascinated by the coffee capsule technology the most. All these factors drove me to bring this concept of single-serve coffee capsules to India.

Coffeeza machines and capsules allow you to enjoy premium barista-style coffee with convenience. Drop in a capsule, press a button on the Coffeeza machine, and your gourmet coffee is ready within seconds. The machines are designed to extract coffee at superior 19 bar pressure which is similar to cafes. This results in richly extracted coffee with indulgent layers of crema on top. The brand retails two models of coffee machines, The Finero machine is ideal for black coffee lovers, while the Lattisso machine has an attached milk frother, which is allows one to brew milk-based beverages like Cappuccino and Latte. Each coffee capsule prepares one cup of perfectly brewed coffee. These capsules have a shelf-life of 24 months, and are available in different varieties, to suit the taste palates and coffee preferences of coffeeholics. The machines and capsules are also Nespresso compatible.

2.Tell us more about Premium Italian Coffee Capsules Pods and what are its benefits? 

Each Coffeeza capsule contains 100% freshly roasted ground coffee, which is sourced from the plantations of Central and South America, Africa and South East Asia, and then roasted and blended to perfection by experienced master blenders in Italy. The capsules’ unique enclosure keeps the coffee fresh for up to 24 months, so that coffee drinkers can enjoy a variety of blends and flavors, depending on the mood and time of the day. Each capsule contains the exact quantity of coffee grounds, perfect for one-serving. At the touch of a button, gourmet coffee is ready in seconds. Coffeeza has 3 blends of coffee capsules, Classico, Intenso & Decaf. You can prepare a wide range of coffee beverages like cappuccino, latte, espresso, macchiato and so much more at home. Check out our recipes and blogs to know about these interesting recipes.

3. Tell us more about the industry and the competition in this particular segment. It would be great if you can share some market trends in the industry.

India was always a tea dominant country, except for places in the south, but the café-culture made coffee a real trend here. The coffee industry is an emerging one today, with more and more players recognizing the massive potential of the vast untapped market in India. With rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles, the number of educated consumers in the middle-class who are getting exposed to the coffee cultures of the west is on the rise. Their increasing disposable income and busy lifestyles have led them to increase their spending on specially curated coffee, and this is growing manifold

4. What kinds of challenges have you faced in founding your company and in the subsequent time period? How did you overcome these difficulties? Are there any takeaways from them that can help in furthering the growth of your company?

Initially, the biggest challenge was to educate the customers about the brand’s value proposition, as it was a relatively new concept in the market.  Once we got the right message and built our content around it, we could get to our customers easily. That’s the biggest takeaway for any brand; you need to communicate the right message to the customer, by creating the right content and reaching them through the right channel.

5. Tell us about your journey so far, your current team, and also its customer base.

The journey has been great so far, we are a budding team of 11-12 people, and we are growing steadily. Our brand caters to coffee loving millennials up to the age of 35, whose lifestyles have got accustomed to enjoying café-style beverages, after the evolving coffee shop culture in India. 

6. What are the strengths of your company?

Our machines and coffee capsules are of premium quality, and are backed by an excellent customer service team. With our online presence, we are able to meet the demands of coffee lovers across India, and through carefully planned logistics, we are able to provide faster delivery timelines.

7. What are the addressable market and underlying opportunities you are going after?

As mentioned earlier, the coffee industry is emerging and growing rapidly. Due to the increasing consumer demand, the coffee industry is growing at 10% CAGR. The WFH (work from home) trend is making people shift to an easy and safe way of enjoying barista-style coffee at home.  Most importantly, today more people want the convenient option of having their favorite gourmet coffee at home or office and that’s the customer base that we are targeting. We are also interested in tapping into the hospitality sector, and learning about their coffee needs.

8. How have you distributed your initial funds so far? Do you have any plans to raise funds in the near future?

Currently we are bootstrapped, but might raise funds in the future.

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