Soomanna MM is a third-generation coffee farmer and the founder of Humblebean Coffee, a coffee solutions company that handles all aspects of coffee, from farm to cup. In this video, Soomanna explains why he decided to start Humblebean back in 2016, and how the coffee startup intends to shape and change Indian coffee’s future.
01:08 From Banking to Starting Up
02:58 A Graceful Nosedive
05:44 From Hand-to-Mouth, to Funded Startup
10:16 Why Humblebean? Filling a Gap
13:26 Blockchain Coffee: A Beneficial Misstep
15:41 Coffee Solutions, From Farm to Cup
From Banking to Starting Up: Soomanna MM began his career in the financial banking sector. He acquired a number of highly useful skills during these first 14 years of his career, but eventually grew restless and wanted to test his skills as an entrepreneur. Instead of diving right into his own startup, however, Soomanna decided to join someone else’s.
A Graceful Nosedive: Soomanna’s first startup experience didn’t go very smoothly. He joined a startup that was in the middle of a nosedive, and so for two years, Soomanna’s job was to make the collapse of this company go as smoothly as possible. This trial by fire wasn’t easy on Soomanna, especially with regards to his family’s financial situation, but it taught him a lot about entrepreneurship.
From Hand-to-Mouth, to Funded Startup: Using the skills that he had learned at this startup, Soomanna decided to start Humblebean Coffee in 2016. However, he wasn’t sure how he would manage to do this, because he and his wife were in debt as a result of the intermittent payment situation at the startup that Soomanna had just recently walked away from. Luckily, with the help of a number of people who believed in his vision and the idea behind Humblebean, he was able to raise some funds and build the foundation of his coffee startup.
Why Humblebean? Filling a Gap: The idea behind Humblebean is simple: Soomanna wanted to connect all aspects of a coffee bean’s journey, from farm to cup. As a third-generation coffee farmer, Soomanna was acutely aware of the lack of connection that coffee farmers have with their beans once they have been sold. Often times, farmers don’t know where their beans are going, or where the beans will ultimately be used. On the other side of the bean’s journey, consumers rarely know where their beans have come from, beyond the name of the country.
Blockchain Coffee: A Beneficial Misstep: In order to link the origin of a coffee bean to its end point, Soomanna explored the idea of implementing blockchain. Not only did blockchain coffee have a nice ring to it, but it would also allow farmers, consumers, and everyone in between to better understand and appreciate the journey of a coffee bean. However, blockchain coffee ultimately did not work out for Humblebean, and after six months, Soomanna and his team were forced to cut their losses and walk away from the blockchain coffee idea.
Coffee Solutions, From Farm to Cup: Today, Humblebean offers a variety of different coffee solutions. Firstly, Humblebean educates small and medium-sized farms. Secondly, they have been sourcing curing houses. Thirdly, they incubating a number of different entrepreneurs who have been marketing Humblebean coffee under their own coffee brands. Fourthly, Soomanna and his team have been building a coffee education curriculum to teach people in India’s hospitality industry about coffee. Finally, Humblebean has set up a coffee brew bar in Kafnu, a co-working space located in Bangalore. At the Humblebean Brew Bar, customers can enjoy the coffee that has been prepared by the farmers that work with and are connected to Humblebean. What is more, Humblebean doesn’t use any espresso machines in their brew bar. Instead, all of their coffee is made by hand. They use tools and techniques like the AeroPress, Chemex, siphon, french press, pour over, and cold brew to make their coffee.
If you want to know more about Humblebean Coffee or Soomanna MM, please make use of the links below:
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