Wembley entrepreneur launches the country’s first website selling roasted coffee made the Eritrean way

Robel Iyassu

Robel Iyassu - Credit: Archant

An entrepreneur from Wembley has launched the country’s first website that selling roasted coffee made the traditional Eritrean way.

Robel Iyassu, 31, decided to set up bounbeans.com after noticing a gap in the market for coffee lovers.

Using a method taught to him by his Eritrean mother, he roasts the beans in “a menkeskesh” which is a traditional roasting pan, before cooling them in the customary manner on a woven mat.

He told the Times: “We use the ‘habesha’ way only, it’s very different from the way other companies roast their beans.

“No one else does this.

“In Eritrea preparing coffee this way is a ritual; it’s almost spiritual. People would pass their hands over the mat and praise God.


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“The coffee tastes unique this way as it’s all to do with how much oxygen it receives, and controlling that.

“We try to avoid all machines and do everything by hand, and we only roast to order.”

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Mr Iyassu, an NHS psychiatric therapist, left his job at a mental health unit to set up his business which is self-funded.

He said: “My obsession for coffee got the best of me. That’s why I gave up my previous career. This is where my heart is; this is my soul and passion.”

He currently sources the beans through UK resellers, and although unable to offer beans from Eritrea, he sells varieties from various countries including Ethiopia and Kenya.

“Right now only friends and family know about this but if it all goes well and the business grows, the next step is to go to Eritrea and buy the beans direct from the farmers,” he said.

“Hopefully this is just the start.”

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