Entrepreneur: Bulgaria’s Edible Mugs – Novinite.com

Miroslav Zapryanovs “Cupffee”Makes waffle coffee cups in a new factory nearby Plovdiv and exports 97% of the production

The idea of ​​eating your cup after drinking this coffee Miroslav Zapryanov came into it during his studies. When he was growing up, he tried. And in 2004 he baked his first waffle cup in his wife’s oven, ten years later he turned his idea into a business.

Today he dreams of replacing plastic and paper coffee cups worldwide with his invention. Now, in just a month, his new factory will be in Plovdiv produces 2.5 million biodegradable (and edible) Cupffee cups, of which 97% are exported to 30 countries on all continents. In 2022, the company will close its technology cycle with waste-free technology – coffee Agitators are made from the waste from the wafer cups.

All or nothing

Zapryanov started his all or nothing business. “I invested all my money to design and finance four prototype machines. I have perfected the recipe and technology. With the fourth machine I have my first official production on 36 square meters in a small pastry shop in Plovdiv, “ he said at the beginning. He added: “Our daily production was 100 cups or 10 cups per hour because I worked 10 hours. Our team consisted of three people in total. “

In 2014 he reported the company “Cupffee“together with Mladen Dzhalazov and Simeon Gavrailov (now the two do not own shares). A few years later he managed to get his business angels – Sasha Bezuhanova and the co-founder of” Telerik “Svetozar Georgiev, who was with his company” 2625 Capital “and others smaller investors. Currently he remains majority owner with 55.6% of the capital as well as managing director of the company.

Ten times more

The cup-eating company began to grow and ended last year with 268,000 sales. The largest investment to date was made in 2020-2021. With your own resources and a bank loan Cupffee bought the previously rented factory building as well as an automatic production line. The company does not disclose what the investment is, but according to Zapryanov, the loan is 40% of the total. A note in the commercial register shows that at the beginning of last year Cupffee has taken out a loan of BGN 2.5 million from Unicredit Bulbank, for which a pledge has been entered, which means an investment of around BGN 6.3 million.

The building has an area of ​​3,600 square meters – ten times larger than the company’s first workshop, and the machine is manufactured by the Austrian company Franz Haas. “I dare say that this is the only baking machine of its kind in the world cups of ground grain. We designed the machine together with the Austrian engineers and they made it complete “, says Sapryanov.

With an idea to expand

Cupffee Business plan includes a return on investment of up to 5 years. This pace will dictate further growth. “The market indicates that we can put 3 more automated lines into operation in the next 5 years and aim for a capacity of 10 million glasses per month.” predicts the upcoming development of the company Zapryanov. In addition, the purchase of the building was made precisely with the intention of adapting the next 3 automatic lines to the current machines.

Cupffee employs 30 people who have been continuously trained by the company since the beginning of its activity, because the technology is unique. And something very important – it requires high precision. The previous experiences of the workers are thus to a certain extent an obstacle in their work at the beginning. But they get used to it. “We manage to keep people with good working conditions and an above-average salary Plovdiv Region. Our goal is to switch to a three-shift operation from the beginning of 2022. “ Sapryanov predicted.

Who buys?

The customers of the Plovdiv Companies are recognizable all over the world: Lavazza, Etihad Airlines, the Manchester City soccer team, National Geographic, the media Economist and the Wall Street Journal, the Lidl retail chain. Miroslav Zapryanov owes the breakthrough on the world market to investors in Cupffeewho have extensive business experience worldwide. “We have developed profitable marketing and sales strategies. We are now recognizable and companies from all over the world have started to find us independently. “ he explains.

However, in every good story there is always a “but”. “But” now comes from the restaurants in our country – cafes, restaurants, snack bars. The selling price in Bulgaria for a cup coffee that is eaten is 35 cents. The producers have reservations about working with the Bulgarian restaurants as the pricing is not appropriate for their product. According to Zapryanov, if the pricing formula in a restaurant is the retail price multiplied by 2 or 3, almost as much as that, a cup can reach BGN 1 coffee inside. It can take time for restaurants to mature that price is not always leading. Since the product is innovative and attractive, Cupffee sees so far more the ambition of the restaurants to only make a quick profit from the cups. And the idea of ​​converting the world to green remains for the time being.

The recipe

Edible cups are made from ground grain. Most of the raw materials are Bulgarian. The main component of biodegradable cups is oat bran and the next is wheat flour. The rest is a patent pending in Europe and now also in many countries outside Europe. The taste of Cupffee is neutral and is not affected by the taste of the drink it contains.

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