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Pakuranga College Students Address Issues Through Their Convenient, Barista-Quality Instant Coffee

Year 13 Business students from Pakuranga College looks to address environmental and cultural issues faced in society through their convenient, barista-quality instant coffee.

CO4 is a Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Business founded by Helen Lam, Sheenu Ragunathan, Hubert Lai and Jackshen Lee.

Their aim to provide convenient and high-quality instant coffee which comes inside a biodegradable bag with flavours inspired by the various diverse cultures around the world.

“In a saturated market, not many corporations are willing to increase their costs to provide sustainable eco-friendly alternatives for coffee. This gave us the initiative to enter with an innovative idea which differentiated ourselves from the rest,” says Sheenu Ragunathan.

After receiving feedback from the public on their prototype, they have been experimenting and working strenuously to refine and perfecting the combination of ingredients required to produce an outstanding cup of coffee for their customers to enjoy.

Their first product ‘Mōrena Marshmallow’ is inspired by the Kiwi Culture. This product consists of coffee beans, marshmallow oil, vanilla essence and cacao reminiscing the flavour of the popular New Zealand confectionery item, Chocolate Fish.

“We have decided to base our first flavour on New Zealand. New Zealand is a multicultural country, and with COVID-19, there has been a rampant increase in xenophobia towards individuals from minority backgrounds. Alongside promoting the New Zealand culture, we also look to donate a portion of our proceeds to countries which inspire our flavour. For New Zealand, we have decided to donate to the Mika Haka Foundation,” says Jackshen Lee.

Their whole product, which includes the packaging and coffee bag (s) is both compostable and biodegradable, meaning it can be chucked into the garden which will help enrich the soil with nutrients, reducing the amount of wastage going to landfills.

“We are taking steps towards in addressing the damage coffee companies around the globe have had on the environment and look to set ourselves as examples in the coffee industry,” says Helen Lam.

“Not only is our product environmentally friendly and culturally inclusive, but it is also very convenient to use. The coffee grinds are contained inside a biodegradable bag, meaning after use, it can be easily disposed of which minimizes the amount of time required to clean. This is perfect for students and busy people which is who we are currently targeting it at”, says Hubert Lai.

In the future, they are looking to shed more light on marginalised cultures by integrating flavours associated with their culture into their coffee whilst educating the NZ society within a cup of barista-quality instant coffee.

CO4’s ‘Mōrena Marshmallow’ is currently available for purchase online through their website. They also aim to open pop up stores in their local morning markets. Find out more about them through their social medias listed below.


Instagram: @CO4Coffee

Facebook: @CO4Coffee


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