Kochi students brew spirit of entrepreneurship with their brand of ‘green coffee’

Akshay, Chaithanya, Sunoj and Akhil are part of the 10-member team that developed Laurus Nature’s Green Coffee. Photo: Special arrangement.

Kochi: Fed up with your daily dose of coffee and want to try something different? A group of college students here has something ready for you – green coffee.
The students of Laurus Institute for Logistics, Kalamassery have launched their brand of ‘green coffee’, a less explored brew in the caffeine category. This variety of coffee is claimed to be rich in antioxidants. It boosts metabolism and helps reduce diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight, according to its promoters. Green coffee is produced by grinding coffee beans dried under the sun, instead of roasting them.

Laurus Nature’s Green Coffee was launched in 2020 as part of an institute project. In 2020, the private institute launched a student enterprises project aiming to address the skill gap in the job market. The 30-member batch was split into different groups and sent out to explore options of starting a venture on their own.
A 10-member team chose to explore the FMCG sector and set their eyes on tea and coffee considering their popularity around the globe. They came across green coffee while they were in Palakkad in search of the best suppliers. The student group was surprised with their find and they decided to give it a try.

They ground a small amount, brewed it, and tasted it. Although they sampled many other ready-made coffee powders, their focus remained on developing green coffee, which was not widely known. The supplier mentioned that sun-dried green coffee pods were not in high demand, but the students were keen to learn about the variety. It took a few weeks of research before they fixed their project.
With financial aid, suggestions, and other assistance from Dr Ajay Sankar, the institute's chairman, the team proceeded with product development.
They purchased the raw material -- green coffee beans -- from Coorg and Palakkad. “In the second phase, they experimented by grinding the beans in different sizes. Multiple laboratory tests were conducted to determine the shelf life of the product. Finally, they decided to grind Arabica coffee beans into small granules and pack them,” Ajay Sankar said.

The students faced the first major challenge when most of the initial orders of 8,000 envelopes for packaging were delivered with defects. Though they could fix the issue with frequent follow-ups, their biggest challenge was yet to come. It was hard to find initial buyers because of the unfamiliarity with the product and its taste.
Laurus Nature's Green Coffee was showcased to health clubs, gyms, medical shops, businesses and groups, but the initial responses were lukewarm. Eventually, the students found the customers for their product by explaining its benefits to people face to face. “We are now motivated by the fact that customers continue to buy our product after experiencing the benefits from at least two packs,” Team Laurus Green Coffee said.
The project started by the 2020 batch has been passed on to subsequent batches. Students continue to research on how to improve the product. Early attempts to enhance the flavour with mint, cardamom and rose were abandoned as they reduced the shelf life of the product.

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