J.J. Darboven

Issue Issue 106 October 2015


Full of beans

The oldest coffee company in Germany, J.J. Darboven Specialty Coffees, based in Hamburg, has devotees around the globe

Founded in 1866 as a local provider of roasted coffee for German households, today J.J. Darboven has a strong national presence and includes 14 companies in nine European nations, mainly bordering Germany. The company roasts high-quality arabica and robusta coffees and offers 50 coffee selections including singleorigins, certified organics, Fair Trade, proprietary blends, and the famous coffee, IDEE KAFFEE, which is being sold under the J.J. Darboven umbrella brand.
JJ Darboven Pic2
The most popular other sub-brands under the J.J. Darboven name include: EILLES Kaffee, Mövenpick, Café Intención, and Alfredo Espresso, with the latter being the most sold Espresso in the German hotel and restaurant industry.

As recently as September 2015, IDEE KAFFEE underwent a comprehensive brand re-launch, with redesigned packaging and a new TV advertising campaign. “The aim of the re-launch is to increase the visibility of IDEE KAFFEE back into the consciousness of the end user. In addition, we want to be perceived as an attractive and modern brand for a younger target group. At the same time we can highlight the particulars and values of the brand,” explains Frank Hilgenberg of J. J. Darboven. The new pack design offers a contemporary and trendy look that is gradually being transferred to the entire range. Connected to the brand re-launch is also the introduction of a new logo in the form of a coffee bean. It stands across the orientation and attitude of the company and communicates the important issue of social responsibility, or the ‘J.J. Darboven Responsibility’ as the company refers to it.

In fact, J.J. Darboven is dedicated to conducting business in a manner that balances economic goals with environmental and social impacts on local and global communities. From work initiated by the company’s environmental committee, to the programmes undertaken at home and in coffee producing countries, Darboven strives to make a positive difference in the communities where it operates and does business. The company engages in several cultural and social community programmes, and offers an endowment to striving female entrepreneurs. This award alternates yearly between J.J. Darboven’s German and Polish locations, enabling each to support entrepreneurship and ambition in the local area.

Strong brand
Specialty coffee is becoming increasingly popular in Germany and what sets J.J. Darboven apart from its competitors in its market are the premium brands that it manufactures. The majority of J.J. Darboven revenues are derived from its food service operation for hotels and restaurants, and its wholesale operation that serves supermarkets and other locations where fine coffees are sold. An important addition to the food service and wholesale operations is an enterprise that exclusively caters to offices.

J.J. Darboven is the market leader for coffee and tea in the German out of home market and thousands of accounts served indirectly by the national supermarket chains, the popularity of J.J. Darboven and its brands, and the strength of its name recognition are being leveraged to support continued growth.JJ Darboven Pic3

The business is already working with highly regarded, blue chip clients such as Hilton, Deutsche Lufthansa, Sodexho, Metro, REWE, EDEKA, Tui Cruises, Mitchel & Buttlers, Kempinski, Fairmont, Air Berlin, and many others that underline the strong foundations of the organisation.

Alongside its food service and wholesale offering, J.J. Darboven also operates a small specialty gourmet shop chain under the name of J. Eilles. These shops concentrate on specialty teas, coffees, chocolates and wines. In 2003 a new addition, designed to complement the other operations was launched. This is an e-commerce website (www.gourvita.com) that offers more than 3500 products, including a large selection of coffees and teas, fine delicatessen products and confectionery. Its range is one of the most extensive available online, and the company prides itself on ensuring it offers only the best and freshest of offerings to its clients, which it considers to be true food ‘connoisseurs’.

While J.J. Darboven may have roots that start in the 1800s, it has thrived and prospered due to a willingness to embrace innovation and move with the times, as illustrated by the launch of Gourvita.com. It is positioned for continued growth, thanks to major investments in its enterprise-wide information system, the expansion of its central production and distribution facility, sales and support personnel, and marketing – all designed to support sustained development.

The company has also developed a multi-channel distribution strategy to provide clients with widespread exposure to the brands in a variety of settings, as well as ease of access to the product, and many tasting opportunities for ‘consumer trial by the cup’, which subsequently leads to demand for sales. The interrelationship between recognisable presence in the hotel and restaurant segment, the supermarket chains, the offices, and the internet is designed to increase consumer awareness as well as the brand equity efficiency.

The organisation is also keen to ensure that the new innovations created by the talented staff in its research and development operations are shared with the right audience of buyers and tasters. For example in September 2015, Darboven had a stand at iba – the world’s leading trade fair for bakers and confectioners in Munich. Its presence at the show was used to present the latest innovations and the extensive product and service offerings for the bakery and confectionery sectors.

In the coffee sector, there were several focal points including the Burkhof brand that was showing its new varieties and a fresh new look that more reflects its Bavarian origin. New flavours

J.J. Darboven also presented value concepts such J.HORNIG, the quality and lifestyle-oriented specialty coffee from Austria, and the classic Alfredo Espresso, which is already an integral part of the coffee supply in many bakers and confectioners.

The stand was rounded out by additional beverages – cocoa and tea – through the brands COCAYA and EILLES TEA. New flavours were launched, many of which emphasised Darboven’s dedication to organic and fair-trade products. The company has pioneered these particular areas for many years and has a growing number of products in the range. Both organic and fair-trade products are growing in importance for bakers, since they can enhance their hot drinks offerings with these credentials. “Flexibility and individually tailored offers are at the centre of what J.J. Darboven does, so that with our brand concepts and our finely tuned services we can respond accurately to our customers needs,” added Frank. In fact, the philosphies associated with the fair trade and organic movements were also close to the heart of Darboven’s legendary and visionary owner, Albert Darboven, who stated: “Only through sustained action can we preserve the resources that we need, so that in our globalised world, all people can enjoy life.”


J.J. Darboven