A Kickstarter campaign will soon launch in April for Barinsta, an instant coffee company founded by a group of Binghamton University alumni.
Barinsta is a company that specializes in instant coffee products inspired by Vietnamese-based coffee, as an alternative to other coffee products. The company’s inspiration was derived from an initial idea from BU alumna Nancy Tran ‘16, a graduate student studying finance. Tran and Hoseein Sangrody, ‘21, and co-founder of Barinsta, embarked on the process of creating a startup company in 2019 and are now on their last phase — the kickstart.
Barinsta’s website offers a description of what their new product will add to the market.
“Inspired by the distinctive taste notes of Vietnamese coffee, Barinsta is proud to introduce the world’s first instant coffee that tastes and smells as fresh as your cafe favorites,” the website reads.
During Tran’s years at BU, she observed her friends frequently buying coffee from outside sources or using K-Cups when in a rush most mornings. Tran said these two coffee options can be costly and unsustainable, inspiring her to seek an alternative product. She explained that a common misconception regarding instant coffee in the United States is that it lacks strength and quality compared to its other alternatives, and addressed how this perception differs in the United States rather than in Vietnam, where Tran was born.
“Vietnam is the second-largest country that exports coffee,” Tran said. “In Vietnam, if you ever visit Vietnam, you will see that every single mile you go you will see two to three coffee shops. It’s very affordable, either you can buy it from a shop or you can buy it on the street, so it’s very accessible. But then people are really willing to drink instant coffee.”
When crafting Barinsta products, Tran said she keeps specific goals in mind.
“At Barinsta, we try to provide a type of coffee that satisfies two things — first it has to taste as good as many freshly brewed coffees, and second it has to be affordable,” Tran said.
While the current price of popular instant coffee brands is three dollars per cup, one cup of Barinsta instant coffee costs one dollar, and the company aims to reduce that price to 50 to 75 cents per cup as production increases. Barinsta’s current coffee line consists of three different products — black instant coffee mix, coffee with nondairy creamer mix, coffee with non-dairy creamer and sugar and a gift set of all three.
“I am trying to position Barinsta products as something that people can use on a daily basis,” Tran said.
After the initial idea for the company was drafted in 2019, creating the company and their products took over two years. The founders had to search for a technique that produced their desired product and a manufacturing company that would produce it, as well as decide the market in which they would sell the finished goods.
Barinsta is also part of a case study for two marketing classes at BU. Students analyze Barinsta’s marketing strategy and draft a marketing plan for the company in an effort to learn about industry, competition and marketing as a whole.
Joey Tsai, an assistant professor in the School of Management who teaches an entrepreneurship course, described the process associated with creating a company.
“You need to have some entrepreneurship spirit,” Tsai said. “That means you are willing to try, willing to learn [and] willing to adapt over the process.”
Aside from production, a main component of Barinsta’s current aim is fostering its brand and customer relationship, and sharing the image they wish to create for their company.
“It’s not just about the products,” Tran said. “What’s the story behind it?”
Tran spoke about the many obstacles that follow the startup process, such as maintaining a high level of motivation, utilizing time management and teamwork skills and the importance of resilience. While addressing the hurdles to creating a startup company, Tran noted the help and support she received during her education at BU.
“Going to college, it’s not just about what you learn from the textbook but a lot of times, it’s about learning the skills, learning to be persistent, learning to be consistent, learning how to communicate [and] learning how to develop the subskills,” Tran said.
Barinsta has also utilized social media as a means of sharing their product to a broader community. Tsai said social media has changed the market for advertising such goods.
“Social media is very quick media,” Tsai said. “People’s attention span is really narrow, compared with TVs or other things. That creates different types of consumer behavior.”
Barinsta’s products will be for sale beginning in April, and can be preordered through its Kickstarter campaign. More information can be found on Barinsta’s website, here.