Over 150 years of coffee culture: Tradition, responsibility and enjoyment
The history of a coffee business
The political climate in Europe may be stormy but for Darboven the priority was to steadily lay down the foundations for the future. Last but not least, we welcome 2018 Café Du Monde Ltd. from Dartford into our corporate group.
Besides our commitment to the highest level of quality, our social engagement and our sense of ecological responsibility represent an important aspect of our company philosophy at J.J. Darboven. With the 2018 Sustainability report we aim to provide a uniform framework for the various efforts we have made over the years in terms of addressing our ecological, economic and social responsibilities and how we have successfully established them.
We invested in our branches in Germany and abroad. By making an investment of over seven million Euro in our southern roasting facility in Sauerlach, we demonstrated that our heart is not only at home in Hamburg and that we
are keeping an eye on the future. Thanks to Europe’s most modern profile-roasting facilities at the time of writing, the Bavarian masters of roasting can ensure a sparing, sustainable production that meets the high-quality standards of the J.J. Darboven enterprise.
The new administration building at the company headquarters in Hamburg-Billbrook was inaugurated in March 2016 to coincide with the 150-year anniversary of the company.
The 150-year anniversary also marked the start of the Honduras Education Life Project, H.E.L.P for short, with the “Helping people to help themselves” motto. The funding project for coffee farmers in the region of Santa Bárbara allows Darboven to also take responsibility at the source. In cooperation with resource supplier OLAM, Darboven supports more than 600 farmers to develop economically.
J.J. Darboven celebrated the company’s 150th anniversary — with a senatorial reception at the Hamburg town hall, an anniversary exhibition, special editions and much more. A small grocery business from Hamburg has evolved into an internationally active trading company that will continue to stand for the successful combination of tradition and innovation.
New cocoa variety: By introducing the Cocaya line to the range of products, J.J. Darboven gave a new interpretation to drinking chocolate and cocoa.
The journey of expansion continued in 2013. Thanks to J.J. Darboven Ireland Limited, the 11th subsidiary becomes a member of our corporate group. Located in Dublin Bay, J.J. Darboven Ireland offers its own typical Irish roast in addition to the famous Darboven coffee, tea and cocoa brands. True to our credo: "Enjoyment is close to the people“
In 2011 a majority of J. Hornig, the Graz-based coffee roaster and tea importer, followed suit.
Darboven continues to grow at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2007, the company acquired a stake in the Swiss company Hochstrasser, which now includes the Don George brand.
J.J. Darboven and took the step into the digital age. As of 2004, coffee, espresso & co. are only one click away. Customers can now purchase their favourite drinks from the online shop at WWW.GOURVITA.COM.
Herbert Darboven, who had been at the head the company’s activities along with Albert Darboven since the 60’s, passed away. He was held in high praise and was well-loved by clients and the employees alike.
As early as 1993, Darboven entered into partnership with TransFair, a nonprofit organiation, and introduced a coffee product on the basis of Fairtrade. Fair trade coffee originates from small farming families, eliminates intermediaries and is purchased directly from the countries of origin. TransFair guarantees a minimum price for the harvests.
The opening up to the Polish market followed in 1993. Since then the subsidiary in Rumia has grown beyond the coffee industry. A riding school, a B&B and many other projects have been carried out since then.
After the huge political ramifications of the late 80’s and early 90’s, Europe grew closer together. Darboven also grew rapidly and established its first subsidiary in the Czech Republic.
By founding the IDEE Office Coffee Service, the group established a specialised subsidiary for the growing industry of supplying high-quality hot beverages to offices.
In 1990 the former Warca coffee roaster located in the French Alsace was yet another foreign company to become part of the J.J. Darboven corporate group.
The brand Alfredo Espresso appeared after roasting masters of the company were trained in the art of roasting Italian espressos in Bologna. Nowadays Alfredo Espresso is one of the most beloved brands of the retail branch and blends Italian vitality with German craftsmanship.
In 1873, just 7 years after Johann Joachim, Joseph Eilles founded a delicatessen, which became a supplier to the Bavarian court within the shortest time thanks to its excellent coffee. Today the EILLES brand still represents one of the best providers of coffee, as well as tea, that have made it in high-end gastronomy. The takeover by J.J. Darboven, which took place in 1987, was rather like a blending of two companies that had shared a passion for tea, coffee and cocoa since their founding.
What Nikolaus Darboven (1902-1985) began in 1963 was successfully continued by Albert Darboven in 1987: the head of the company can be seen personally in the TV commercials. The spot, in which he presents flowers and a packet of IDEE KAFFEE to an elderly lady for her birthday, makes him the most famous face in the coffee industry.
In 1980 J.J. Darboven entered into a successful partnership, still valid today, with the traditional Swiss brand Mövenpick. The range of high-quality coffees, which has grown considerably over time, is still enjoying growing popularity today, as various awards confirm time and again.
J.J. Darboven continued to grow with the purchase of Bavarian roaster Burkhardt & Imhof. The factory, in Sauerlach near Munich, which is still in operation today, can be traced back to this acquisition, as can the well-known Bavarian brand Burkhof.
The constantly growing company opened its new factory in Hamburg-Billbrook, where it is still located today and from where it delivers its products.
The 70’s and 80’s were characterised by expansion and strategic organisation: As a result, the Darboven coffee brands have been available throughout Germany since 1970 due to networking with food retailers.
The first foreign subsidiary was founded in Amersfoort in the Netherlands just in time for the company’s 100-year anniversary.
The new Federal Republic of Germany was still in its early days, colour television belonged to the distant future and TV commercials were in their infancy when Nikolaus Darboven decided to apply a common stylistic trick, still in use today, for himself and the IDEE KAFFEE brand. He appeared in his on TV spots and vouched for the quality of his own coffee.
To this day, he remains one of the most familiar faces in Hamburg’s long-standing coffee tradition. Albert Darboven actively joined the company in 1960 after completing his apprenticeship and undergoing many years of preparation. He remains at the helm of the company to this day.
Cäsar Darboven died in 1952, Arthur Darboven in 1954. Both were still able to witness how the company founded by their father would blossom once more after undergoing the hardship of wars and economic slumps.
The currency reform of 1948 finally allowed the importation of coffee to begin again. Thanks to the economic boom following the war business was also looking up at Darboven.
On 28 July 1943 the Hammerbrook district was almost completely destroyed by air raids. The buildings belonging to the Darboven company also burned to the ground. The company attributes its ability to start again so soon after the end of the war to the loyalty of the surviving employees as well as to the trust placed in them by the customers.
Due to the lack of green coffee, J.J. Darboven needed to fall back on the production of an alternative during the Second World War. This came in the form of a tasty substitute beverage known by the name of “Koff”. (“As long as
you miss IDEE KAFFEE, a Koff will always be the good choice!”). The beverage is a variation on a recipe that had already helped overcome the days of austerity during the First World War.
The company continued to grow. The Darboven brothers, Arthur and Cäsar, extended the coffee business to gastronomy.
IDEE KAFFEE was literally the talk of the town and the new type of coffee soon became a sales hit. In order to meet the constantly growing demand, J.J. Darboven had to drastically expand the production facilities two years after its introduction onto the market.
The nutritional chemist Professor Karl Lendrich of the Hamburg Institute for Hygiene first developed a refining procedure at the request of Arthur Darboven, which made the coffee particularly easy on the stomach without taking anything away from its taste or caffiene. The “idea” had been conceived in 1915. Twelve years later the innovative coffee was released on the market by Darboven under the name “IDEE KAFFEE”.
Es war in Südamerika.
Don Pedro in der Pflanzung sah,
daß der Kaffee dieses Jahr
Wunderschön in Blüte war.
Die Sonne schien gar prächtig heiß,
Und in der Blume, schneeig weiß,
Ein Wesen ward geboren
Zur Freude auserkoren.
It is with these rhymes that one of the oldest company mascots in Europe first saw the light of day. For almost one hundred years, Darbohne, the cartoon character in the shape of a coffee bean, has embarked on adventures on land, at sea and in space. In some ways he has also become a contemporary witness of the various economic eras in Germany. Even today we remain very fond our little mascot.
The “Idee” brand was registered as early as 1915. Legend has it that Arthur Darboven invited his family to an open exchange of ideas at the coffee table. Unfortunately, we no longer know who exactly came up with the creative idea for Germany’s oldest coffee brand. However, the meeting at this coffee table convincingly proved that coffee leads to ideas.
During the First World War, the company needed to make use of its proven ingenuity to replace the missing green coffee with local ingredients. The coffee-like beverage developed by J.J. Darboven turned out to be a rather tasty mixture of grain, chicories, sorgho, sugar beet pulp and roasted figs.
Company founder, Johann Joachim Darboven, died at the age of 67. His sons Arthur and Cäsar took over the company leadership. They arrived at the head of a blossoming company, whose excellent reputation already extended beyond the city limits of Hamburg.
By laying out 144 types of coffee, sorted by origin and trade name, J.J. Darboven offered the widest range of products at the International Garden Festival. This was considered an exceptional achievement, particularly considering the much longer procurement channels, and he awarded the silver medal.