One of J.J.Darboven’s most important principles is assuming responsibility and operating sustainably as a company. This not only applies to Hamburg and Germany, but also the rest of the world.
The finest premium green coffee varieties from the world’s best growing regions, gently roasted by a master hand and expertly processed for a full-bodied, well-rounded flavour. All of these are elements that set a good coffee apart and are exceptionally important to us at J.J.Darboven.
But when it comes to our products, we take a whole lot more into account than just quality, variety, country of origin and processing. We believe that socially responsible and environmentally sustainable operations are a requirement for long-term economic success, which is why we’ve been following a set of guidelines we developed ourselves for many years. These have helped us to achieve what’s important to all of us: coffee that’s good in every sense of the word.
One of J.J.Darboven’s most important principles is assuming responsibility and operating sustainably as a company. This not only applies to Hamburg and Germany, but also the rest of the world. The people in the countries from which we source our coffee are extremely important to us. To support them, we launched a fair trade coffee onto the German market in 1993 and were the first large-scale coffee roaster to do so. Our company received the Fairtrade award for this pioneering achievement. Our employees also work locally in the countries of origin, ensuring that working and living conditions are improved for coffee farmers and children receive an education. Our range now also includes Fairtrade-certified tea, hot cocoa and sugar products.
Darboven has committed itself to both people and the environment. With our certified organic coffees, organic teas and organic hot cocoas, we promote eco-friendly cultivation in the countries of origin. Our company’s sustainability policy is applied to all production steps: we minimise waste and use energy and raw materials as efficiently as possible. The plant in Hamburg even has its own well, with the water used to cool the grinders and thus facilitate eco-friendly water circulation.
The H.E.L.P. initiative benefits coffee producers in Central America: in its anniversary year, J.J.Darboven launched a long-term project designed to support coffee farmers in Honduras. Coffee is traditionally cultivated in the Santa Barbara region. 250 small-scale farmers benefit from the financing opportunities and professional assistance in production planning and coffee cultivation provided by H.E.L.P. J.J.Darboven employees regularly assess the progress on site. The aim is to promote lasting profitability and thus a better quality of life for the coffee farmers and their families.
Arabica beans are preferably grown in highlands at around 600 to 1,200 metres above sea level, which gives them a particularly high level of quality. Robusta beans, on the other hand, tend to be planted on lowlands at altitudes of just 300 to 800 metres above sea level.
These regions optimally fulfil the required conditions for growing coffee plants. A high-yield coffee harvest requires a stable climate with average temperatures of 18–25°C, as extreme temperature fluctuations and recurring temperatures of above 30°C or under 13°C are damaging to growth. Lots of wind and sunshine, as well as hard soil with little permeability, also damage growth.
Coffee plants produce their highest yield when they are between six and eight years old, with production volume falling sharply after approximately 20 years. The average harvest volume of a coffee plant is around one to two pounds (0.45 to 0.90 kg) of raw coffee per year.
Various harvesting methods have been developed over the years.
The picking method provides the highest quality, as only the truly ripe coffee cherries are picked individually by hand. Of course, when you consider that 2.5 kg of coffee cherries have to be harvested to produce 500 g of coffee beans, it is clear that this harvesting method is time-intensive. This type of harvesting is mainly reserved for the valuable arabica beans.
Another method is stripping – also a hand-picking method – in which a lower quality level has to be accepted due to the fact that all the fruit, regardless of ripeness, is stripped from the bush in one go. Robusta coffee and Brazilian and Ethiopian arabica coffees are harvested in this way. In order to manage the huge Brazilian coffee plantations, picking machines, which comb the branches of the coffee trees, allowing the coffee cherries to drop into a collector, are used. Before the picked fruit is processed, dirt, leaves, etc. have to be removed.
Coffee cherries, which contain the coffee beans, grow on coffee plants.
The harvested raw beans are first dried or fermented – and then roasted. The most common processing method is the wet process, as it is said that this method brings out the high-quality aroma and flavour particularly well. In this process, the beans are separated from the pulp and immersed in water for 12 to 36 hours. Thereafter, the residual moisture is reduced to 12% in drying areas.
The first steps in the process take place in the countries of origin. However, the roasting – as it is an important step in the production of high-quality coffee – is performed by coffee roasters such as J.J.Darboven.
The roasting process has a decisive influence on the quality of a coffee. This is why it is a top priority for us at J.J.Darboven.
Coffee is an evergreen plant that grows as a bush or small tree. There are around 90 species of coffee plant around the world, but only a few are relevant to the coffee we drink each day. Biologists assign it to the genus ‘Coffea’, of the Rubiaceae family, which originates in the Kaffa province of Ethiopia.
The bushes of coffee plants grow up to four metres in height and have oval leaves with white racemose blossoms. In each of the plant’s drupes, known as coffee cherries, are two seeds, which we know as coffee beans. Depending on the species of coffee plant, the fruits ripen seven to 11 months after pollination and change colour from green to yellow and then red in that period.
Among the approximately 90 different species of coffee plant, the most commonly used are C. arabica (arabica coffee) and C. canephora (robusta coffee) from Africa. Occasionally, the species C. liberica and C. excelsa are also used for coffee production.
The blossoms of coffee bushes are white and form multiflorous flower heads. Following pollination, these are the source of the so-called coffee cherries. These are drupes, and the two seeds inside are what we know as coffee beans.
Coffee originated in tropical Africa and Madagascar, but is now found in all tropical and subtropical regions.
Not all coffee is the same. As well as the species, arabica or robusta, the growing area – known as the provenance – has a major influence on the aroma and appearance of a coffee.
Almost all coffee roasters blend their coffees, not only for financial and taste reasons, but also to even out natural fluctuations in quality and to create the required flavour profile. Beans of widely different provenances can be included in a single blend in order to achieve the desired character.
The two most important coffee types, arabica and robusta, differ in terms of flavour, appearance and price. Accordingly, they also have different areas of application. Thus, robusta should not be left out of certain coffees – such as espresso – as the beans have a low acid content.
With a 61% share of coffee production, arabica is the best-known coffee plant. Arabica only grows at altitude, up to the vegetation border. For this reason, the plant is often described as ‘highland coffee’.
An often elegant, fine and complex aroma can develop in the highlands of South and Central America, as well as in East Africa.
Tropical regions are ideal for the growth of arabica plants, as they offer perfect conditions in terms of precipitation and temperature. This allows the arabica coffee beans to ripen relatively evenly and to be harvested once or twice a year on average.
Coffea canephora differs greatly from the arabica plant in terms of flavour and has a more variegated bean appearance than arabica. It is known for its bitter, stark note and is therefore not to everyone’s taste. It also has a higher caffeine content in the bean. Robusta makes up around 25% of the world’s total coffee production.
This coffee plant also grows in tropical regions. Its ideal growing conditions are found at an altitude of 200 to 600 metres.