Young, highly educated and bursting with plans and ambitions: Tamim Kbarh and Rahaf al Lymoni have been in the Netherlands for just a year and a half and can already call themselves the proud inventors and entrepreneurs behind Daffee (First Date). That’s a new hot drink that was officially launched in September 2020. They have already received several awards, including the Heineken Award for the best new business idea. A great achievement, especially when you consider that they fled recently and ended up in a Dutch asylum seekers’ center.
In this digital age it’s not inconceivable that you will meet your soulmate through the worldwide web. But getting engaged without ever physically meeting each other is quite special. Especially when there are three years, a war and an escape route to a safe country in between the two events. It happened to Tamim and Rahaf, who, after years of online dating, embraced each other in Ter Apel. Now they are working hard to set up their own company.
What is Daffee? Daffee is a hot drink that resembles coffee in terms of preparation. It is made from ground roasted date seeds and tastes spicier, smoother than coffee, but just as aromatic. It is a stimulating drink that, unlike coffee, contains many nutrients.
How did you get the idea? Rahaf: “After an operation I had digestive problems for a long time. I was advised to eat a lot of dates and, in the context of no waste, wanted to do something with the seeds that were left over. After some research I came across the tradition of processing date seeds into a drink, with the same beneficial effects as dates themselves. That idea never left me. “
How did the ball start rolling? Rahaf: “We were first in an asylum seekers’ center in Groningen and wanted to do something with this idea. We ended up at Forward Incubator in Amsterdam, where we were encouraged to further develop our talents and ideas. The constant travel was quite draining and so we registered with Takecarebnb in the hope of staying closer to Amsterdam. Fortunately, we could go to Ruth, right on the Amstel. We finally had the time and peace to work out our business plan. Via Forward Incubator we were able to compete for an incentive prize. Never thought we would actually win it! “
Tamim: “An investor came from the Forward Incubator network who believed in us. In the same period we also got our own house and spent a lot of time there. We were faced with a lot! It took a while for the flow of money to get going. In addition, we were in lockdown so there was not much we could do. For months we lived very frugally so that we could still invest in product development. Now we have hundreds of kilos in our living room and just finished the webshop. We still have to do a lot ourselves, in terms of packing and shipping. For the time being we can do it. But if it is a success, we must of course think of something else. “
Curious about Daffee? View the webshop here.