Q &A with The Coffee Souq Founder

It might not be your first time to hear people building businesses out of passion. It might appear seamless, however the efforts and patience that goes in to building it is a story worth telling. Today, we sat with Jasper Delff Nielsen, the Founder of The Coffee Souq, and talked about his journey.

Let’s meet Jesper…

I consider myself as the father of The Coffee Souq. Before I made the crucial jump from the corporate ship, I was a business development specialist in the energy sector. I moved to the UAE for work, on temporary basis, but it’s been more than a decade since I first set foot in here. Now, I have grown my family here and considers this country our home.

My passion is of course coffee and football, not sure which one I like most.

What is the story behind The Coffee Souq

I’ve always been passionate about coffee and I have seen how online capsules shops have had success in Europe, so I thought that UAE needed this concept.    I wanted to bring the convenience of online shopping along with great quality coffee in every cup and took a step further by private labeling.

While I was brewing this idea, I have also seen the need to bridge the gap between the consumers and the small coffee producers. Did you know that only 3-5% of the value goes back to the coffee farmers? That percentage we want to change! That’s why we are introducing fair trade organic specialty coffee beans, roasted directly at the farms in Costa Rica by the producers and airfreighted to Dubai to keep quality of the freshly roasted beans. By doing so, we will by-pass the traditional roasteries, traders and distributors and send that value-added profit to the local little remote farmer, who normally doesn’t get a cut of the profit.

So, this story is what propels us every day to reach our goal in becoming the premier go-to place for everything coffee here in the UAE (and in the world in the near future).

What makes you so passionate about coffee?

I don’t think that I am more passionate about coffee than anybody else, I just think that the term Let’s share a cup of coffee goes hand in hand with the danish saying word ”hygge” noun

noun: hygge – a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

So therefore, why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your daily life and I like to enjoy myself, but ”hygge” is always more fun together with others, and whats better than sharing a cup of coffee with friends?

When most people think of coffee companies, they probably think of coffee shops. But tell us about the world of online coffee sales? 

When we first started The Coffee Souq, we looked up to Halo Coffee in the UK and Kaffekapslen.dk & kaffedrengen.dk in Denmark. These companies are all selling coffee online and all of them are doing it successfully, so we thought why not do it in the UAE. So far, the market here has given us a warm welcome since we launched in November.

Since we are still fairly new in the market, we are learning a lot of things. One of the challenges that we are facing is the fact that when you hear the word coffee capsules, its immediately being associated with Nespresso or Nescafe Dolce Gusto. That’s what we want to change, we want to shift the market form patronizing the big players to making them loyal to home-grown and local UAE brands such as The Coffee Souq, who offers the same or better quality coffee.

Was there anything like this in the UAE/ highlight USPs 

There are other companies doing the same as us but none of them have made it as far as we think we can take The Coffee Souq. Most of them are missing that extra element of bringing a value-added service to the customer. We ensure that we walk that extra mile to make sure our customers are happy whilst our mission is fulfilled by getting quality coffee at fair prices.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your own business?

Setting up a business in the UAE, is a challenging task, but the most fastidious part is setting up the business bank account which took us more than 3 months. I think every business owner here in the UAE would agree with me, when I say that banks here are the most difficult to deal with.

Who is a successful entrepreneur that has the most influence on you?

I must say that my good friend, Anders Jorgensen, who is the owner of Dubaipetfoodcom and a successful entrepreneur has had a lot of influence on me. He built his company from ground up, from being a small pet store to scaling up to be the biggest pet supplies store here in the Middle East. He is the one who encouraged me to start my own company, The Coffee Souq.

What is the single best piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out? 

Have patience and stick to the plan, and never be too proud not to listen to somebody with experience and have been in same situation.

What is your favorite business tool? 

Would rather modify the question a bit and tell you what is my favorite asset in The Coffee Souq, the greatest assets are our employees, our current team gives us the competitive advantage. I like seeing our team expand as well as I have huge pleasure in seeing each team member grow in confidence because I want each of them to feel that they play an integral part in The Coffee Souq’s success.

What else does The Coffee Souq have in the pipeline for 2020?

Beside a growing local happy customer base here in the UAE, we want to go beyond borders. Therefore we are looking at opening up The Coffee Souq branches in Baku, Manila and most likely in the UK as well. For GCC region we want to establish ourselves in the UAE as a strong powerful reliable business partner and coffee supplier and thereafter seek for new adventures.

How to order? Our web-shop is found at www.thecoffeesouq.com

Offers: Women@Work members get a special 15% discount on all purchases using the coupon code WOMEN15 prior to checking out.