Seven beans across the Seven seas – Seven Beans Coffee Company, Bangalore

How can many Indian coffee startups boast of an international partner from day one? In April 2015, Seven Beans Coffee Company, headquartered in Bangalore and with coffee farms in Chikmagalur, marked its entry into the Indian coffee market by launching its unique portfolio of coffee products that have been developed in partnership with Dr. Dante Cagliari and Maria Gabriella Cagliari of Caffè L’Antico, a leading coffee roasting business based in Modena, Italy.

Further, leveraging the partnership, this startup has also transcended geographical barriers by selling its products in various countries across the European Union. Seven beans, with a long history of coffee farming, has moved up the value chain by adopting a distinct strategy to mark its presence globally.

The business is currently managed by Abhijit and Advith Shetty, who hail from a distinguished family of coffee planters. The brothers, during their stints abroad to pursue their formal education, recognized the growing demand for exquisite coffee in the United States and various countries in the European Union. With the desire to grab a slice of the pie (and also grow the pie!!), the duo explored various secondary sources of information and met leading representatives of the Indian and global coffee industry. Their belief in the growing market for coffee was confirmed in 2012 when leading multinational coffee chains set up base in India. However, along with creating and consolidating Indian markets for excellent coffee, the brothers were determined to create a global coffee brand based on the unique characteristics of well-grown Indian coffee. The inherent need for expertise in global coffees led the Shettys to scout for a globally respected roastmaster, resulting in the partnership with L’Antico and Dr. Cagliari. The association has moved beyond just developing blends to a relationship that spans across equipment selection, bean evaluation, product portfolio development, marketing, and business development.

Seven beans’ production facility at Chikmagalur houses a technologically advanced, automated roasting machine which ensures consistently high-quality roasting outcomes. The integrated pneumatic setup enables pre-blending, and the business is commercially offering seven distinct blends. Based on the combinations created by Dr. Dante, the products are currently being sold in India through various channels, including premium food retail chains and online sites. Towards further expanding its presence in international markets and the Indian B2B segment, Seven Beans is in talks with leading cafes, distributors, and retailers. The business’s advantage lies in its ability to blend unique products that are on par with some of the leading global brands. Seven Beans intends to make its mark in the single-serve market, too, by launching capsules that are also produced in the Chikmagalur facility.

The brothers’ current focus is on acquiring new clients, creating more blends, and initiating steps to remain a leading premium coffee brand. Any visitor to a retail outlet that sells premium coffee is bound to take a second look at Seven Beans coffee due to the markedly extraordinary pack design that reflects a blend of the modern and traditional. The Seven Beans logo that includes an Italian mansion, snowcapped peaks, spokes, coffee beans, and delicate artwork nestles perfectly within the pack design that reflects grandeur and poise.

In a short period of time, Seven Beans Coffee Company has demonstrated the entrepreneurial drive and competence which has enabled it to extend its horizon beyond Indian shores. However, the brothers are aware of the challenges in achieving good volumes of pure coffee in India as well as the perceptions of pure Indian coffee blends in international markets. The business has identified premium Indian consumer segments which value quality and, for international consumers, has developed blends containing Indian and international coffees (with the production being undertaken in Modena). The channelizing of energies into product and market development is expected to lead to the sustained growth of the business. While Babu Budan’s seven beans have triggered the development of a robust and growing coffee industry in India, it is hoped that Seven Beans Coffee Company would unravel feasible strategies for Indian coffee startups to make rapid inroads into global coffee markets, and validate the approach of serving niche segments that recognize the goodness of Indian coffee.