London entrepreneur launches UK’s first online coffee store using traditional African methods

Boubacar Diallo

A LONDON-born entrepreneur has launched the UK’s first roasted coffee bean start-up using Eritrean methods.

Robel Iyassu, whose mother is from Eritrea, decided to set up Boun Beans after noticing a gap in the market for premium authentically roasted specialty African coffee.

The special roasting method, taught to him by his mother, requires the beans to be roasted in a menkeskesh –  a traditional pan – before cooling them on a woven mat.

The 31-year-old said: “We use the Eritrean method of roasting beans, it’s authentic and traditional so it’s very different from the way other companies roast their beans. The delicacy in this roasting method enriches the taste of the coffee because we want to offer our customers the opportunity to experience what real coffee should taste like.

“We only supply Grade 1 coffee beans to our customers – which essentially is the Michelin Star in the coffee industry.”

Boun Beans hand-roasts, grinds and delivers coffee to order which people can use in cafes or coffee machines.

Before launching the digital company, Iyassul worked as an NHS psychiatric therapist for ten years and has invested a five figure sum in the start-up.

He said: “I grew up watching my mum hand roast coffee and serve it in a traditional Eritrean ceremony so this is my culture and passion. Essentially coffee is in my DNA and it was only a matter of time before I decided to offer UK consumers real coffee.”

Boun Beans sources the beans through UK resellers, and although unable to offer beans from Eritrea, he sells varieties from various countries including Ethiopia, Jamaica and Columbia. As the business grows the next step is to go to Eritrea and buy beans directly from farmers.

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