Three themes have played a key role in the growth and development of the Coffein Compagnie over the years.
Growing consumer demand
The first theme was an ever-increasing consumer health consciousness. The awareness that caffeine could have a stimulating or irritating effect on the body was not new. The poet Goethe, who not only drank a lot of coffee but also suffered, as it seems, from sleepless nights, was the one who asked his friend Runge to identify the components of coffee in 1820, introducing the decaffeination idea. A variety of coffee substitutes have been offered since then, but none of them could satisfy the true coffee lovers longing for a good cup of coffee. But what to do about the unwanted side effects? Many consumers who wanted to enjoy the taste of coffee the entire day without the stimulating effect turned to decaffeinated coffee, as can be seen by the Coffein Compagnie’s long customer list.
There were also those who wished to continue drinking regular coffee throughout the day, but without the stomach irritation that sometimes accompanied significant coffee intake. For these consumers, the Coffein Compagnie began in the 1960s to offer special mild treated coffees. The special mild treatment of raw coffee beans, essentially a pre-process step in the decaffeination process, offered consumers the opportunity to enjoy caffeinated coffee without the components that could irritate a sensitive stomach.
Growing international sales
The second theme centered on the need to increase the Coffein Compagnie's production capacities as sales continued to increase in response to the growing demand and an ever broadening global marketplace and, at the same time, to develop them technologically. It was in the 1960s that the Coffein Compagnie began routinely exporting its products to various European countries, especially Austria and France. The first shipments of decaffeinated coffee to the USA followed a decade later, where the rise of the coffee shop movement, and with it, specialty coffee drinks that could also be prepared with decaffeinated coffee, was about to transform the face of coffee drinking. Within a short time, the premium coffee market in the USA registered a remarkable twenty percent market share for decaffeinated coffee.
Now, with growing consumer demand for quality decaffeinated coffee and the strong upwards trend in export sales, the Coffein Compagnie needed to expand its production capacities. The question was how. Should Coffein Compagnie decide to invest in new production plants or should it acquire and develop plants already in existence? The French marketplace at that time required a regional solution that relied on an already existing structure. The Coffein Compagnie therefore acquired Compagnie Française de Décaféination in 1971. But in the 1980s, as it once again became necessary to expand production capacities, the decision making process took a different turn. With sales to the USA growing rapidly in the 1980s, Coffein Compagnie decided that Colombia, one of the world’s largest green coffee growing countries, would be a suitable place to continue developing Coffein Compagnie's industrial production. In cooperation with Colombian partners, construction began in 1989 for a decaffeination plant that came to be known as Descafeinadora Colombiana SA. The plant went into production in 1990. Closer to home, the Coffein Compagnie acquired the Kaffee-Veredelungs-Werk (KVW) in 1993, a well-reputed decaffeination company in Hamburg.
The later 1990s saw the beginning of a new phase. During all these years, the production site in Bremen continued to expand and was the center of technological development and improvement. As the smaller production sites outside of Bremen began to require fundamental renewal to keep up with Coffein Compagnie’s high standards, it became apparent that efficiency, quality and environmental considerations were best served by moving the volumes to the site in Bremen. And, within the framework of the integration within the European Union and increasing economic globalization, regional presence became less important.
Managing the supply chain
Continual adjustment to a changing marketplace and the commitment to remaining 'current', whether in the area of new technologies or equipment, better production methods, or customer’s needs and expectations, was the third theme in the growth and development of the Coffein Compagnie. From its earliest days, the Coffein Compagnie had offered a tolling approach to decaffeination, whereby the customer supplied the raw coffee beans and the Coffein Compagnie performed a service, namely, decaffeination. This method worked well for the German marketplace, but the expansion into the US market in the 1970s required a new business strategy. An 'all-in-one' approach was created as another option so that customers could choose the approach best suited to their individual business needs. The all-in-one service included the acquisition of coffee, the supply of individual coffee blends and doorstep delivery. It also allowed coffee roasters and traders to vary their volume of decaffeinated coffee based on need.
Over the years, customers came to rely more on Coffein Compagnie's skills in acquiring quality raw coffees and managing the whole supply chain all the way to the doorstep of the roaster. Whether with regard to the quality of the products or the efficiency of the supply chain including environmental effects, the Coffein Compagnie’s commitment to improve with and for the customer has led to the demand for its additional services.
Adding warehousing and more
To enable the management of the supply chain in a more complete fashion, the Coffein Compagnie formed an alliance in 2005 with J. Müller Weser in Bremen, a modern storage facility located directly in the harbor area. Sharing the basic approach to business with a strong emphasis that customers should be able to rely on quality, punctuality, individuality and performance, the partnership broadened the Coffein Compagnies spectrum of services. Warehousing, environmentally friendly logistics emphasizing ship, barge and train as the main transportation methods, customs declarations and shipping services all became available to Coffein Compagnie’s customers.