Open Letter: The Next Step
“Consumption rates for speciality coffee have increased from 9% to 41% of the overall market since 1999.”
We seem to be gaining a little momentum now, just like the speciality coffee industry! It seems October is always an auspicious month for Bonaverde. It was October 2013 when we first launched our first crowdfunding campaign, where many of you joined us. One year ago we found ourselves launching a Seedrs campaign which confirmed our confidence in our mission. Only one year ago we received and put our first batch of Berlins’ into the market.
Who knew so much can happen for a company in one year!
Our Coffee Changers Membership programme is up and running, and we're getting more coffee lovers joining daily. It's a major step for us towards achieving a Direct Trade platform (we are developing an online ecosystem as we speak) and gaining insights we can in turn communicate to coffee producers.
And yet we know there’s a plenty more we need to, and plan to do.
Over the last year, we have had to balance our desire to supply Berlin machines to remaining original backers still awaiting their pledge to be fulfilled, whilst keeping some machines and coffee stock reserved for our small community of Coffee Changers. As a coffee changer member, you’re entitled to free repair and an array of green and roasted coffee - so it was important our reserves were maintained to achieve this. We’re creating a scalable and sustainable business to link crop to cup. To make this happen, the Membership is providing a great foundation to make this dream come true.
Current Projects & Goals
We’re at a point now where we’ve developed a couple of strategies we could potentially implement, starting here in Europe first (In order to gain learnings in our local market).
Importantly, Bonaverde has the full support of our investors and business angels. Now we are procuring our second shipment of Berlin coffee machines from our manufacturer, soon to be delivered to Germany (everything going to plan, that should be before x-mas). That's right, BV is back in production!
The investment we have received has come through because of their faith in the Coffee Changer Membership. They truly believe it’s possible to sustainably achieve Direct Trade with significant enough number of Members, and we're on track to make this happen. With this in mind, we have established key milestones in order to achieve both of these objectives.
To The Backers:
For those willing to support our mission to change coffee, we have the following options we're rapidly developing:
Machine Buyback: There are original backers and users who did receive machines, yet do not or never did use them. We're reaching out and building a list of those interested, purchasing these machines off those few.
We will refurbish them to beyond the quality of a new machine and offer them to original backers without machines who are still waiting.
Coffee Buyback: We’re buying back 250g green coffee bags from backers. In exchange for our new green coffee portion pouches. i.e. 250g bags swapped for one multi-origin 30x box.
Check out our Blog on Operation Buyback for more info and to register interest.
Research has shown green coffee single-portion pouches resolve blocked grinders from occurring and greatly heighten user experience. They really make the whole roast, grind & brew journey a lot more fulfilling -- with tailored RFID roast profiles, easy to use pre-weighed pouches, and upcycling into your coffee filter.
Their usage is also paramount in us getting the traceability data back to our coffee farmers, and you our stakeholders, whilst also taking us a step closer to implementing Direct Trade payment system. It means we can safely back new farmers wanting to jump on board, as we could actually give them an idea of how much coffee of theirs would be consumed, and how frequently.
Our iconic & first ever batch of Berlin’s are good to go!
Thanks to the Buyback programme we now have a limited range of Berlin’s ready to be shipped out as part of our campaign. We want to give backers the opportunity they deserve. Now we are in a position to do that!
There's less than 100 of these left, so stocks are limited. But if you want a machine, like, NOW, then this is the option for you!
500 new machines -- Bonaverde is back in production! Finally, our second ever produced batch of machines is upon us. We've listened to user feedback and made some simple, but really effective improvements. We'll cover this off in another blog, but a quick overview:
- accessible backdoor to manually unblock the grinder yourself. Incredibly humorous that we didn’t come up with this in the first place, but will significantly reduce the number of machines needing repair.
- Progress light panel -- see how long is left for your roast, grind or brew is.
- CMF (colour material finishing), a change in aesthetics, and also includes improved usability; more clear instructions printed on the machine, control and maintenance panels, and more intuitive light signals.
They're back, in black & champagne!
If you're an original backer of Bonaverde keen to continue supporting us in changing the shape of the coffee supply industry by becoming a Coffee Changer Member, in the EU, and still waiting on a Berlin machine: THESE MACHINES ARE RESERVED. FOR. YOU.
New & Existing Coffee Changers -- We're improving:
We’ve been doing a lot of other work behind the scenes which we’d also like to share with you. Because we really care what you think, and want to improve where we can with our resources. To better understand you, our customers, the thrill and frustrations, the joys and woes and to make real operational and process improvements.
Adopt a Berlin
So, what is this mysterious “Adopt a Berlin” project of which we speak?
Every single member of the Bonaverde team, and extended community needed to go through the exact process as anyone else would in dealing with us as a company. This involved navigating through and ‘purchasing’ under aliases, signing up for a Coffee Changer Membership (to get the coffee and the support perks), using and connecting the machine, dealing with our customer support through all our channels, order tracking and undergoing, packaging and usability -- the exact same experience as every single other customer.
Suffice to say the experience has been revelatory, and is already resulting in drastic changes to both our product, services and ecosystem. It has been great for every-one of the Bonaverde team to get some real insight from a customer perspective, a Coffee Changer perspective.
Current earmarked improvements;
- Customer services. Already, our new company policy is that every staff member here now spends one day of their week focusing solely on customer support.
- UX improvements on both the machine’s actual usability, convenience of the experience, product ordering and the website itself (navigation, education).
- Public surveys. We have put out surveys to get to know you better!
As a result of this we're talking to you more. We want to know what we can do to make this whole thing a lot more effective, what you as a community need, and in parallel also help us to better define where we sit now as a company. If you’ve subscribed to our newsletters, you have probably already been sent one of our feedback surveys to help us improve. And of course, we certainly braced ourselves for some rather scathing critique -- but it's what we need, and it's vital learning. By the way, if you want to help us out by giving us your feedback constructively, you can also give it here.
That’s right — we realise that in the past year we may have become a little too focused on our Berlin machine, and lost track of the original catalyst for it all: the coffee!
Surprise! The roast grind brew journey is not necessarily for everyone. The smell, the noise, the time — it takes dedication, enthusiasm and a commitment to the dark arts! It's conscientious consumption -- but it is a little more convenient. It's a focus less on the Berlin machine, and more on the industry change.
With this in mind, we figured it's worth seeing what other people besides us think. Our Origins Box, containing 15 single-portion pouches (small & large) & will be split 50/50 between green and roasted beans. Our hope is the pre-roasted coffees will offer a platform to showcase an ever changing selection of the finest & socially responsible single-origin roasteries. This aims to be a platform for anyone with the same value set as Bonaverde -- those who want to change the coffee supply industry for the better.
Conclusion & The Future:
So, as our Adopt a Berlin user study nears completion of its first stage, we've set ourselves a new target as a milestone for creating a sustainable business: 500+ Coffee Changer Members in Europe by the end of the year.
We've got nearly 3000 machines worldwide now, but need to start ensuring that they're being used to create the industry change which has always been our primary objective. This will ensure continued support from our community, and our investors. Achieving 500+ members is the much needed step towards continuing to fulfil all outstanding machines to our original crowdsource backers. We want all backers to have machines. If those backers are still keen to support the change and become Members, then we'll very shortly have machines coming. In summary — it's not about the machines per se -- it's about the machine WITH coffee, its about you guys creating that industry change.
Thank you for becoming a Coffee Changer Member, for testing our new product and service improvements and for giving us your valuable feedback.
Happ you're on board.