Coffee roasters go to great efforts to produce popular drinks such as this summer’s trendy “Espresso Tonic” or “Cold Drip”. Holger Preibisch, Managing Director of the Deutscher Kaffeeverband e.V. (German Coffee Association), explained: “This coffee is prepared drop for drop over a 12-hour period to extract the aromas and oils of the roasted coffee in a particularly gentle way.” Last year, Germans drank 162 litres of coffee each ahead of water and beer, he stressed.
Coffee – global economic factor
Every year, around 700,000 tons of coffee are imported and 400,000 tons exported via the Port of Hamburg. Around 350,000 to 400,000 tons are delivered to Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Some 20 to 25 million people in the producing countries depend on coffee for their livelihoods. Worldwide, around 100 million people in producing and consuming countries rely on coffee. They work as green coffee agents, brokers, importers, stockists, decaffeinators, coffee extractors and coffee roasters.
Hamburg as a centre of coffee
The leading Neumann Kaffee Gruppe counts among the most renowned coffee firms in Hamburg. Launched in 1934 as a coffee agent and broker, the company now has 49 branches in 27 countries and employs 2,200 staff. Every seventh cup of coffee consumed in the importing countries can be traced back to Neumann. Albert Darboven, the fourth generation of the family, manages the J.J. Darboven GmbH & Co. KG. Founded in 1886, the company now has 13 branches in nine European countries and a global workforce of 1,100 staff including some 300 in Hamburg. Tchibo became market leader in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic following its take-over of the Bremen-based Eduscho coffee roaster. “The density of family-run companies makes Hamburg a special coffee centre as they are very passionate about the business,” said Preibisch.
Start-ups focusing on sustainability and consumption
The number of small coffee roasters across Germany has risen from 600 to 650 and includes a growing number of start-ups that focus on fair trade coffee. This comes against the backdrop of the new food movement linking sustainability and consumption. Bastian Muschke and Bastian Senger have discovered a by-product of the coffee harvest – the coffee berry – which is now the main ingredient in their “Caté” soft drink. The pulp of the berry contains more coffein than roasted coffee beans. Meanwhile, the Hamburg-based “Coffee Bags“ start-up has begun specialising in small filters full of single-origin coffee specialties.
Commenting on the attraction of the coffee market, Preibisch said: “Everyone drinks coffee. It’s a natural, tasty product.” However, he points to the tough price war on the market. “Around 60 per cent of classic filter coffee is sold in special campaigns at discounted prices. Germans love their coffee, but they also love a bargain. Yet, the German coffee market is on a growth track. And there is great potential in the coffee portion sector with whole beans, capsules or pads,” he added.
1,000 different aromas
Thimo Drews and Andreas Wessel-Ellermann have held sway over Hamburg’s coffee market for more than a decade. In 2006, the duo opened the “Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei” in one of the city’s oldest warehouses to produce perfectly roasted gourmet coffee and to give customers an understanding of specialised coffee. “Coffee effuses over 1,000 different aromas. The spectrum ranges from nutty, chocolaty, fruity to earthy or smoky,” said Wessel-Ellermann. A professional taster or cupper sips spoonfuls of coffee and tastes around 100 to 120 samples every day. The quality of the coffee hinges to one-third on the country of origin and the roasting method and preparation, which can last up to 12 hours on occasion.