Founding and early years
The vision of Dr. Erich Scheele
Successful companies can often trace their roots back to a visionary founder. The Coffein Compagnie Dr. Erich Scheele GmbH & Co. KG, a Bremen landmark and one of the leading decaffeination companies in the world, is no different. The company was founded in 1931 by coffee lover and chemist Dr. Erich Scheele. Scheele was aware of the multiple decaffeination processes that had been invented since Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge had isolated caffeine as one of the constituents of coffee in 1820. He was also aware of Hermann Emil Fischer's successful synthesis of caffeine in 1882, a part of the work for which Fischer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902. Fischer's identification of the chemical structure of caffeine had made it possible to devise a process to draw caffeine out of raw coffee beans. This process had already been developed and patented by Scheele's fellow Bremer Ludwig Roselius and his team in 1905. But coffee lover Scheele was looking for a way to improve the taste of decaffeinated coffee.
From today's standpoint, it is difficult to say whether this improved taste should have resulted from better extraction methods, new technologies, or perhaps a combination of the two. Scheele's German patent sets forth the idea of a one step extraction method combining the solvent with water to create an emulsion that would eliminate unwanted taste effects in the final product. His Austrian patent clearly stated that his newly developed extraction equipment would lead to an improvement in taste because more of the coffee flavor would remain in the bean. This dedication to capturing the essential taste of coffee has been one of the cornerstones upon which the Coffein Compagnie has been built. Its development over the years into the world's leading decaffeination company can only be seen as a testament to Scheele's patented idea and his successful search for a tasty cup of decaffeinated coffee.
Dr. Scheele’s business idea
But Scheele was not only a visionary because of his patented decaffeination method. He had also realized that the 'specialty market' for decaffeinated coffee was on the rise, and that the Coffein Compagnie was in a unique position to offer coffee roasters of the time access to this specialty market. Scheele understood that the decaffeination of coffee required specialized knowledge. He also understood that decaffeinated coffee was a relatively new product. Scheele's business instinct told him that coffee roasters, specialized in the roasting and marketing of coffee and not in its decaffeination, would be looking for a company such as his, and indeed they were. Scheele attracted customers from all parts of Germany as well as from neighboring countries such as Holland and Austria. His personal insistence on continuously improving the taste of decaffeinated coffee, combined with his technical expertise, placed him in the position to offer coffee roasters the possibility to obtain and to market superior decaffeinated coffee. Within the first five years of its existence, Coffein Compagnie decaffeinated coffee for well over 100 customers, large and small. The Coffein Compagnie Dr. Erich Scheele GmbH & Co. KG remains true today to the principles upon which it was founded – product excellence, decaffeination know how and customer service.