About Juan Medina
Juan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and, before co-founding Kaffe Bueno in 2016, he worked as Business Development Consultant in London. Since then, Juan has led Kaffe Bueno in pushing the boundaries of what coffee is and should be by raising more 1.6M euros in private and public funding, establishing several commercial partnerships and started developing a biorefinery for full coffee’s utilization for manufacturing and launching various coffee derived ingredients, with many more on the pipeline with their respective IP.
Interview with... Juan Medina, Co-Founder & CEO at Kaffe Bueno
1) What inspired the foundation of Kaffe Bueno?
Since an early age, I was always frustrated that in Colombia – my home country – people considered that “normal” or the “usual way of doing business” was you needed to cheat, lie or steal for a successful profitable business.
Inspired by my father – a person with strong ethics, who I admired the most and who has always been entrepreneur since I can remember, I knew I wanted to pursue my own goals and make an impact. I always thought ‘recycled’ was the best way to go, combining all the key aspects economic, social and environmental activities I wanted to address.
Then in London, I was lucky enough to meet two partners with similar ambitions. We were introduced by our Scandinavian friends to the insane levels of coffee consumption in Scandinavia. This, combined with economic crisis in the coffee industry, where farmers were paid less than cost to grow coffee, whilst 99% of was going to waste, and we were inspired to address this huge resource inefficiency by valorising what was being considered as “waste”.
Remembering how my grandmother used to tell me to put grounds in my wounds for faster wound healing, or seeing her dye her hair with a coffee brew, helped us narrow down our focus on health-human centred applications and ignited the start of KB.
2) What coffee-derived products have you established so far?
Currently we have two products in the market. The first is an active lipid coffee derived extract which is being commercialized together with Givaudan, targeted towards the personal care industry due its outstanding properties. The second is an enriched, nutrient dense Coffee derived fiber, targeted towards the food and personal care industries.
3) What is the application of highest potential from your work so far?
Even though the adoption of our existing products is increasing day by day, we plan to launch several ingredients in the coming years, intended to replace harmful ingredients for human health and the environment within personal care, and also another targeting a significant chronic disease. I can’t say much more right now, but stay tuned and you will see!
4) What does Europe need to do to support SMEs like Kaffe Bueno to grow?
SMEs like KB (and in general in the bioeconomy sector) developing new processes and products, we need to establish new infrastructure, meaning CAPEX. More specific solutions for these needs are much needed, where not just Medium or Large companies are eligible. Furthermore, there is a need for efficient registration of ingredients in general, particularly within food and supplements. Animal testing is a BIG barrier for small companies due to its prohibitive costs and inefficiencies. Finding more efficient animal-free testing using organ-on-a-chip or in-vitro system that lower barriers of entry for small companies will accelerate all the exciting innovations across the EU and prevent them from going to the US or other geographies, where there are fewer barriers to entry for this type of innovation.
Download the full INTERVIEW below.