5 minutes with … Benjamin Gröschel, co-founder of Münchner Kaffeerösterei
Good coffee at events at long last – 3 friends started a new adventure with this claim: their own coffee roasting business. Last year, the Münchner Kaffeerösterei delighted 15,000 trade fair visitors with their coffee and served 45,000 drinks at 270 events. We chatted to Benjamin Gröschel, one of the founders, about coffee, innovation and how digitalisation is now even reaching an analogue industry. As the Munich company was represented at CeBIT for the first time this spring – and not just with its mobile coffee bar.
It feels like a new coffee roasting business springs up every month. Can you explain your business idea and how you earned money with it in espresso length?
We connect people. We bring people together at events and trade fairs with our innovative barista bar, and promote discussion to find new solutions together. Our team also includes technology and innovation experts, besides trained baristas. We share knowledge about the coffee culture in Silicon Valley, the history of coffee and the health benefits of coffee in workshops and seminars.
On the face of it, coffee sounds like an analogue affair. But you use terms like virtual reality or blockchain. What’s it all about?
We want to turn the coffee market upside down. This means better quality coffee at better prices and fairer conditions for coffee farmers. Virtual reality connects consumers to the coffee farmers – drinking coffee shoulder to shoulder with the coffee farmers. We are campaigning for more transparency in raw coffee purchasing with our Quality First project – smart sensor technology (week artificial intelligence) and blockchain technology make it possible to reduce bureaucracy and import costs, eliminate the middle man and sustainably improve the coffee quality and fairness towards farmers through open sales channels.
One of your co-founders is also involved in a start-up that focuses on artificial intelligence. Does that also have an effect on the coffee business?
Steven travels all over the world as an expert in artificial intelligence. Thanks to his projects in the Emirates and San Francisco, we are always up to date with new technologies. This helps with the development of innovative ideas to solve old problems. We work very closely together with his second company TinyBox. We also party a great deal together
Watch the whole interview with Benjamin Gröschel in our podcast:
You’re already been represented at very many events for professional reasons. What’s your opinion of Bavaria’s trade fair and events landscape?
The start-up scene in Bavaria in particular is growing – within Germany and worldwide. We notice this at trade fairs and events, where active networking is often the focus. Many new formats have been developed and have established themselves over the last few years in Munich and throughout Bavaria. From Bits & Pretzels to the Medientage München and herCAREER – the trade fair and events landscape here is incredibly varied.
You’ve been on the market for a year now. What would you like to have known before you started up; which tips could you give to young founders?
Starting up means changing. All the time, continuously. And at the same time it is essential to keep an eye on what’s happening around you: on the market of course but mainly your own network too. If you continuously ask yourself “What added value can I generate in my network?”, you grow with your network and this opens up doors to you time and time again. This certainty gives you a sense of calm you often might really need, particularly in the first start-up year.
Coffee also has something to do with lifestyle. Where are the most beautiful places to drink coffee in Bavaria?
The wonderful thing about coffee is that it is suitable for virtually any situation. You’re sure to find your sweet spot in Bavaria, from a little café in the old town to a mountain hut.
Well if you ask me: is there anything more wonderful than a cup of good coffee as a reward for climbing a mountain in the Alps?
We want to give something back to Munich. Nowhere is the density of committed people as high as it is in Bavaria.
Find out even more about Münchner Kaffeerösterei: