Coffee as a segment has grown in last 2-3 years and we have seen too many players local and international entering the ever growing market in not just café segment but also the product segment. Simple Brew Coffee is one of those brand that came into existence to give people an access to the instant coffee. “The idea behind starting TSB was to make sure everyone can have access to the taste and experience of tasty, brewed coffee, but with the convenience of instant coffee,” shared Apoorv Agarwal, Founder by adding that the lockdown led to a lot of people struggling to figure out which coffee they wanted to buy, what roast, what grind, what equipment to use, etc. The idea behind TSB to uncomplicate it. Further, there wasn’t any one stop solution for people who were looking for a coffee-based product that could help make everything from basics hot and cold coffee to coffee-based cocktails and desserts, and a whole lot more. He invested about 3.5-4L towards equipment, basic furniture, branding (design + print), trademarks, website, etc to get the brand going. Excerpts from the interview:
From being a lawyer to an entrepreneur. What was the inspiration?
Coffee was something I was always into. I remember a friend took me to a coffee shop in Mumbai back in 2016, and I was introduced to the concept of ‘specialty coffee’. In the years following, I had bought myself some basic brewing equipment, and tried my hand on brewing my coffee. Fast forward to the pandemic. While the world outside was falling apart, it gave me more free time to play around with and learn more about coffee. It was something I never looked at as a career option. I was simply brewing coffee at home for myself. While I had always been brewing hot coffee, I decided to give making cold brew at home a shot. I had picked up a 1 litre cold brew jug from one of my visits abroad a couple of years back, and that’s where I decided to start.
How do you see the business for such kind of concepts as we see that coffee as a segment has grown in last 2-3 years?
Necessity has been and will always be the mother of invention. People are always looking to make their life and experiences more and more convenient. Over the past 2-3 years more and more brands are recognizing the competition and introducing an array of products and increasing their offerings. Speciality coffee, for one, has gained a loyal fanbase in the country. Another example is brands introducing Nespresso compatible capsules and canned coffee pre-mixes. There’s been a noticeable shift and growth from the conventional definition of coffee and cafes. Constant evolution is more evident.
From did you source the coffee beans for the perfect brew?
We make our own in-house blend of 4 different beans sourced from 3 different roasters. The roasters source their beans from plantations based in the Araku Valley, Chikmagalur and Darjeeling. As we are not a roastery, we don’t buy green beans directly from plantations.
What’s the shelf life of the brews and how have you priced it?
After we’re done brewing the concentrate, we transfer it to a keg, which is purged with food grade nitrogen to push all the oxygen out and seal the freshness of the brew. This helps us in increasing the shelf life of the concentrate to about 30 days from the date of brewing, and 15 days from the day the bottles are opened by the customer. We don’t use any preservatives in our coffees.
Our concentrates are available in 500 ml and 1L bottles, with the Single Brew available for Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 and the Double Brew available for Rs. 750 and Rs. 1,500 for the 500 ml and 1L bottles respectively.
Who are you trying to target with this kind of product range?
The ideal TG for us are the coffee drinkers who are either spending a lot of money buying coffee from upmarket cafes and restaurants, or people who just want a simple, tasty and easy to make coffee at home.
Do you also see any competitor in the segment?
There will always be competition in some form and manner. There are a few players in the market, most of them as new to this as we are. Most businesses have coffee concentrates as one of their SKUs, while they continue to sell other products such as beans and instant coffee as well. In India, almost all coffee concentrates that preceded the current players were in the space of making south Indian filter coffee decoctions, which have their own advantages and limitations. While we weren’t the first entrants in this space, we did develop a few methods that worked to our advantage. We pride ourselves on two primary USPs – the versatility of our products, and the lack of bitterness and acidity that’s associated with almost all concentrates and decoctions out there.
What’s your expansion plans?
We’re definitely in the market to begin our funding journey before the end of the year. The business is entirely bootstrapped and self-funded at this stage, and funding is something that’s on the table. We should be available on most food ordering and e-commerce platforms within the coming quarter. As mentioned, we’re also in talks with a few offices and cafes to begin entering the B2B space. Once we successfully close in on these priority items, we’ll be looking at product portfolio expansion, vis-à-vis cold brew bags and hot brew bags, packaging our blend, and coming out with pre-mixes and possible starting a cloud kitchen in the future.