Dominik Burcin is currently doing his last year in politics at the University of Essex and despite studying, just under a year ago he became a founder of the company called BUNA Coffee in Colchester. It came about when he was working as an intern for Knowledge Pathways International and managed to convince two of his bosses to start a new business venture which would focus on bringing speciality coffee and higher quality products to the area of Essex university.
“I saw the potential here in Essex because I couldn’t find a single place where I could get a decent cup of coffee in town or at the university” Dominik says.
He is 23 years old and only started drinking coffee fairly recently around the age of 18. His first cup was from a coffee machine at the office he was working at as an intern.
“Looking back at it now it was just an awful coffee and I had it with a lot of milk and a lot of sugar to overkill the taste” Dominik says.
He then gradually became more interested in coffee from social media and started to visit good quality coffee places in London where he worked at the time.
“I couldn’t find good coffee at all anywhere else, only in London where the coffee culture is far more developed but here in Colchester I was missing good quality coffee and it was one of the reasons I started BUNA Coffee” he says.
The name Buna derives comes from the Ethiopian language Amharic and directly translates to coffee. Ethiopia was one of the first countries where coffee was discovered and the name is a way of looking back at the origin of coffee Dominik says. BUNA Coffee are working with “direct trade” which Dominik explains is far better than Fair Trade since it provides farmers and producers of speciality coffee beans with far more money than Fair Trade would.
“Buying quality coffee can make a good ethical difference in other countries around the world that’s just one of the things we are trying to educate people about here in Essex” he says.
At the moment BUNA Coffee is working in close partnership with Essex University who provides them with interns. They were not allowed to sell coffee at the universities Thursday markets however because of an agreement which exist between the university and investors on campus. The SU manager explained to Dominik that there is an agreement, which won’t allow him to sell any coffee drinks because of other coffee venues at the campus. They were allowed however to have market stalls for the purpose of selling coffee beans and to give out coffee samples.
“It’s their space to decide whatever they want to do, obviously fair competition and a fair market strategy would be far better because it pushes others to improve the quality. I don’t personally think that partnering with organisations like Costa and Starbucks is the right thing to do and what the university should be doing. I think the university could be looking more into partnering with independent organisations” Dominik says.
Most recently BUNA Coffee are collaborating with Five Elephants from Berlin and are now starting a collaboration with a new coffee roastery called Black and White founded in 2017 by two US Barista Champions based in North Carolina. He is also also president of the Coffee Society at Essex University which have regular sessions where they hang out together and he sponsors the sessions with coffee from his own company so that they can enjoy it for free.
“We try do introduce them to speciality coffee, we try to show them that coffee can be something a little bit different than just a big cup of liquid from Starbucks and that they actually have a power to make a difference as consumers by choosing speciality coffee which are supporting producers far more than any other kind of coffee that they would buy” he says.
At the moment they are collaborating with the University to bring in speciality soft drinks, which they have also started distributing to a number of businesses in Colchester.
“Later on we would like to introduce some healthier options for the sport centre as well for people who exercise to have access to healthier drinks than just coca cola and sprite” Dominik says.