Yanko Kolevski

Founder of biodegradable coffee pod company Cofico on being part of the solution not the problem, culinary deconstructivism, and Russian dolls

yanko kolevski cofico

What was your first job? Having started at the young age of five as an entrepreneur, selling paper scraps in the front door of my grandmother’s house, I ended up in my high school years organising massive parties that led me to event and promotion production for companies such as L’Oréal and Casa Cuervo.

What’s been your worst job interview? Wahaca in London, where I was expecting a serious interview about managing restaurants, but ended up having to play games like kids in the nursery. It was embarrassing!

What was the first music single you bought? Can’t Change Me by Chris Cornell.

How do you describe your job to your mates? I am trying to save the world one cup at a time…

What is the most rewarding part of your job? To drink coffee all day long while listening to music.

What is the least rewarding part? The smell of the Royal Mail bags we use to ship our products.

What is your motto in life? Do what is right, not what works. That keeps my conscience in peace, knowing I am part of the solution and not part of the problem.

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? To write a book. I have been working on one for years about culinary deconstructivism.

Do you have any phobias? Needles going through my skin.

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? Packaging. It has become obscene, the amount of packaging and “pretty” boxes. People are paying more for the packaging than for what they are actually after. Take one of my competitors. As if it wasn’t bad enough that it distributes plastic pods, these come individually packed in non-recyclable plastic bags, which come themselves inside a box. It’s like a coffee Russian doll with an unspeakable environmental impact.

What animal most reflects your personality? I’d love to be like a jaguar, elegant with a killer instinct, but I am more like a cockatoo, loud, weird and hectic.

What’s your favourite film and why? Dobermann for showing that “good” and “bad” guys might be mislabelled; Spy Game for showing the value of friendship; Amores Perros and Requiem for a Dream for crude realism.