Passion for coffee in Belarus

"Minsk, the capital of Belarus, is one of these names that doesn't conjure up too many images in your mind, right? At least compared with Paris, New York, Stockholm or Budapest. I had no idea about Minsk either, and especially from a professional perspective it’s not known for its coffee culture at all. On top of that, it’s a very small market as Belarus has only 9.5 million inhabitants and the country just dropped a few places to 52 on the Human Development Index list, right between Kuwait and Oman. So why should we invest any time in traveling to this country? Because one of our global customers asked us for some support. And when a global customer needs us, it doesn’t matter where the location is – as long as it’s on the planet Earth.

So even without the hope of travelling to a  country with an established coffee culture or big market potential, we went there and our visit made a strong impression on both sides. Above all, I had to abandon my prejudices. I found a lot of passion and knowledge when it came to coffee. Our customer was amazed that a delegation of three people had been sent and had taken the time to listen to the specific demands and tasks of such a small market as Belarus. Soon after we visited our customer in Minsk and shipped the first machines, we learned that during our visit, the procurement teams of two neighboring countries (with a population of over 160 million) were already closely watching how we approached the niche market of Belarus. We are now about to schedule our first meetings with them. The lesson we learned? A global customer has to be treated in the same way, no matter how small the market or the project is. After all, this is how we can clearly differentiate ourselves from others!”

Oliver Welschar
Head of Global Key Account Management & Customized Solutions, makes a lot of miles round the world in order for good coffee.