Long-standing company with its finger on the pulse.
J.J.Darboven celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016. In one and a half centuries, the name Darboven has not only come to represent unrivalled indulgence, but also quality and stability, entrepreneurial foresight and prudence. It goes without saying that these values will continue to play a key role for the long-standing company in the future – yet another reason to celebrate this anniversary with the recognition it deserves.
Darboven continued to grow at the beginning of the new millennium. The company acquired a stake in the Swiss company Hochstrasser in 2007, which was followed in 2011 by the majority acquisition of J. Hornig, a coffee roaster and tea importer in Graz, Austria.
Herbert Darboven, who had been managing the company with Albert Darboven since the 60s, passed away. He was highly valued and liked by both customers and employees.
J.J.Darboven entered the digital age: the company’s first website went live at the end of the 90s. Coffee, espresso and other products have been just a click away since 2003: customers can purchase their favourite beverages in the online shop at www.gourvita.com.
J.J.Darboven began collaborating with the charitable organisation TransFair in 1993, introducing a coffee product based on fair trade. Fair trade coffee comes directly from small-scale family farms in the countries of origin, forgoing any distributors. TransFair helped to secure a minimum price for the harvests.
In 1987, Albert Darboven successfully picked up where Nikolaus Darboven (1902–1985) had left off: the head of the company appeared in the TV ad himself. The ad, in which he presents an older woman with flowers and a pack of IDEE KAFFEE for her birthday, made him the best-known personality in the coffee industry.
The 70s and 80s were a period of expansion and strategic organisation: through food retail industry networking, J.J.Darboven coffee brands had been available across Germany since 1970. The new Billbrook facility opened its doors in 1972. A variety of companies, including Burkhardt & Imhof and Eilles, were acquired over the years and the sales collaboration with Mövenpick kicked off in 1980.
The company celebrated its 100th anniversary. The company reins were officially passed down from the third to the fourth generation. This was also the year in which the first foreign subsidiary was established – in Amersfoort, Netherlands.
Cäsar Darboven passed away, followed by Arthur Darboven in 1954. The two of them were able to see the company their father had founded flourish again after difficult periods resulting from crises and wars.
With the currency reform of 1948, it was again possible to begin importing coffee again and J.J.Darboven benefited from the upswing of the post-war years.
On 28 July 1943, Hamburg’s Hammerbrook district was almost entirely destroyed by air raids and the Darboven Company’s building burnt to the ground. Nonetheless, the company was up and running again soon after the war was over, thanks to the loyalty of the surviving employees and the trust of its customers.
Due to the lack of green coffee, J.J.Darboven had to begin producing an alternative again during the Second World War. The tasty replacement beverage was christened Koff (Solang IDEE KAFFEE dir fehlt, nimm’ Koff, dann hast du gut gewählt! – Until we can enjoy IDEE KAFFEE again, Koff offers a good alternative!). The beverage was based on a variation of the recipe that had already helped coffee enthusiasts through the privation of the First World War.
The company continued to grow and brothers Arthur and Cäsar Darboven expanded coffee sales into the restaurant sector.
IDEE KAFFEE was the talk of the town and the innovative coffee began selling like hotcakes in no time at all. Just two years after the market launch, J.J.Darboven had to drastically expand production facilities to keep up with constantly growing demand.
Arthur Darboven commissioned food chemist Professor Karl Lendrich from the Hamburg Institute of Hygiene to develop a process that makes coffee very easy to digest, without affecting its flavour or reducing the amount of caffeine. With the brand name Idee already introduced in 1915, the Darboven Company launched a coffee innovation for retail under the name IDEE KAFFEE.
During the First World War, the company had to rely on its tried-and-tested ingenuity to replace the missing green coffee with domestic ingredients. The coffee-like drink developed by J.J.Darboven proved to be quite a tasty mix of grain, chicory, sorghum, sugar beet cossettes and roasted figs.
Company founder Johann Joachim Darboven passed away at the age of 76 and his two sons Arthur and Cäsar took over management of the company. They found themselves at the helm of a flourishing company that had long ago established its excellent reputation far beyond the city borders of Hamburg.
With 144 coffee varieties labelled according to origin and trade name, J.J.Darboven offered the most extensive selection at the international horticulture exhibition. That was quite a feat considering the much longer procurement routes and he was thus presented with a silver medal.