You live in Canada and sell Ethiopian coffee, right? Tell us how this business idea came about.
I have background in Finance, and I have been trying to get out of the corporate world for a while. I stumbled upon specialty coffee in 2019, I was amazed by the history, and the fact that it was one of the most traded commodity after oil. I fell into the rabbit hole and never looked back. Roasters add the most value in the supply chain, and I decided to give it a try.
How do you get this coffee delivered? Do you fly to Ethiopia yourself from time to time and get it, or do you have a partner there who sends you the coffee?
Ideally I would have sourced my own coffee, but like most highly traded commodities, the coffee supply is controlled by a few powerful companies. There is also a high barrier to entry when you want to source green beans, a 40ft container of quality coffee beans, from Ethiopia, cost about USD25 000. I source my coffee from a family business that specializes in importing coffee from Ethiopia.
What is special about Ethiopian coffee? What is the difference, for example, to conventional coffee that we know from the supermarkets?
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and I have a personal connection with the country as I spent part of my childhood there. All Arabica coffee come from Ethiopia, it then went to the Middle East through Yemen. It was only later that it was introduced to the western world through the Ottomans. Muslims were the first consumers of coffee.
Conventional coffee differs in quality, and are sometimes mixed with Robusta, which is a lower quality variety compare to Arabica coffee. Robusta is easier to grow, and resist better to disease, hence the ideal choice of big companies with massive production. Like other industries, scaling compromises quality.
What made you accept Bitcoin as currency for your deliveries? Were you accepting Bitcoin from the beginning or did you get the idea later?
Accepting Bitcoin was at the heart of my decision to start the business. There are tons of coffee roasters that sells online, you somehow need to differentiate yourself. Another key factor was the integration of BTC pay server into Voltage, which enabled me to accept Bitcoin payment for my business seamlessly from anywhere in the world.
Something technical: When I ordered from you, I noticed, you use BTCPay Server to issue invoices. Is there a special reason you use BTCPay? Do you have experience with other Bitcoin payment solutions?
It’s free, open-source, and recommended by a lot of folks on Bitcoin Twitter. It’s the only Bitcoin payment solution that I tried so far.
What would be your advice for people who also want to start a sales business and accept Bitcoin as payment?
Go for it!!! Barrier to entry is low, and it’s pretty easy to setup.I believe they should also accept fiat money at the beginning to be profitable, and if they are big enough go Bitcoin only. Most Bitcoiners are hodlers and I have a really hard time spending their Bitcoin. The trend is slowly changing, at the beginning I had 25% of my transactions in BTC, now BTC accounts to more than 50% of my transactions. It goes straight in your wallet vs a Visa payment that can take up to 3 business days to clear.
Thank you for the interview and I wish you much success in the future!
You can order this coffee at Islamic Marketplace. If you also have questions for Billay Coffee, just comment below