When people think of coffee in Bremen, they mainly think of well-known brands and roasteries such as Jacobs, Azul or HAG. For decades, Bremen’s ports have been the most important arrival points for coffee imported to Germany, with almost half of all coffee entering via Bremen or Bremerhaven. Smaller roasteries such as Lloyd Caffee and Cross Coffee have helped to cement Bremen’s image as the coffee capital of Germany.
When Oliver Kriegsch prepares coffee, it’s almost like a little ceremony. He places the paper filter inside the porcelain filter cone and pours a splash of hot water over it. “This opens the pores, washes away the taste of the paper and heats up the ceramic,” he explains. After pouring away the excess water, he spoons 12 grams of freshly ground coffee powder per cup into the dampened filter. “The ratio of coffee to water is important,” he remarks. Finally, water heated to a temperature of 92°C is poured over the powder. A delicious aroma drifts up from the liquid. The coffee is ready.
Oliver Kriegsch founded the Cross Coffee roastery in Bremen in 2013. His product is roasted in the city’s docklands area and is predominantly sold over the internet. In founding his business, Kriegsch has joined a long line of roasters and vendors who have made Bremen a historical hotspot for coffee. This tradition was begun by the Dutchman Jan Jahns von Huisten, who introduced the city to the colonial drink in 1673 when Bremen city council granted him permission to open the first public coffee house in Germany.
Kaffee HAG was founded by Ludwig Roselius in Bremen over a century ago. It wasn’t just Europe’s first coffee factory – it was also the first company worldwide to produce and sell decaffeinated coffee. Bremen’s port became a key location for the transshipment of beans from overseas, so it was only natural that other coffee businesses came to establish themselves in Bremen as well. “In the golden era of coffee, from the beginning of the 1920s, there were around 250 coffee roasters in Bremen,” says Christian Ritschel, managing director and master coffee roaster at Lloyd Caffee, one of Bremen’s oldest privately owned roasteries. This era of success couldn’t last forever, though. “Problems arose when the supermarkets sprang up and the price of coffee fell,” he explains. Roasteries ended up merging or folding completely.
Several industry giants still maintain a presence in Bremen today: companies like Melitta, Azul and Westhoff operate out of the city, as does Mondelez with a range of brands that includes Jacobs, Kaffee HAG (now Café HAG), Tassimo and Onko. There’s also Aldi Nord, which roasts its coffee just outside Bremen in the municipality of Weyhe. Other major brands can trace their origins back to Bremen, including Eduscho, now a Tchibo brand but originally founded in Bremen in 1924 by Eduard Schopf. The former Eduscho building, now part of the Kaffeequartier development in Bremen’s Überseestadt district, still incorporates some reminders of its history.
In addition to these industrial-scale roasteries, several small coffee producers have established themselves alongside Cross Coffee:
Rösterei Hemken is based in a quaint shop in Bremen’s Viertel district. The shop sells tea as well as coffee. We can highly recommend the espresso roast!
Münchhausen has a long history in Bremen – the roastery was founded in 1935 and remains a top tip for coffee lovers to this day. The company uses single and mixed coffee varieties to produce gently roasted beans that can be bought in numerous locations around Bremen.
Lloyd Caffee has been around even longer. Founded in 1930, the company has seen many ups and downs, including a brief spell based in Hamburg. Today, Ritschel is at the helm of Lloyd Caffee as its master coffee roaster. It is thanks to him that the business has been located at the Holz- und Getreidehafen harbour area of Bremen’s Überseestadt since 2009, in a building complex that once belonged to Kaffee HAG. “The green coffee beans used to be received where our café is located today,” says Ritschel. The café with its shop and open coffee-roasting area is somewhat tucked away, but coffee lovers still manage to find their way there. They even turn up in tour bus groups, to watch as Ritschel roasts his coffee and listen to the interesting facts he shares in his seminars. The master roaster covers a range of topics at these talks, from the journey that the beans make from plant to cup, to the various roasting and preparation techniques involved.
The Bremer Kaffeegesellschaft shop is located in the historical Böttcherstrasse. The company roasts its own beans and sells them under the Büchlers Beste Bohne brand. Coffee lovers will also appreciate the rare coffee varieties stocked here, such as Brazil Yellow Bourbon and the famous Kopi Luwak civet coffee from Indonesia.
Union Rösterei. Beneath the rafters of the Union Brewery building in Bremen, four men have set themselves the task of making coffee that reflects the craft beer made in the brewery below. And that’s exactly what they do – they roast their beans by hand and currently sell four different varieties.
Komodo Coffee. The coffee that Andreas Elfert roasts and sells in Bremen is sourced from Indonesia. He places a high value on fair and sustainable production methods, and travels to Indonesia himself from time to time.
Slokoffie. The guys at Slokoffie are even more committed to the environment. The coffee beans come from Honduras and make the long and virtually carbon-neutral journey to Bremen by sailing ship. The coffee is also fairtrade and organic, of course. The slow voyage to Bremen – two months – is the inspiration for the coffee’s name.
Dieckmann not only roasts its own coffee, it also sells green, i.e. unroasted, beans. Using one of the mini roasters that are on sale here, customers can roast their own coffee – you can’t get any fresher than that.
Utamtsi. The arabica beans at Utamtsi are grown in the highlands of Cameroon and harvested by small-scale farmers. Utamtsi attaches great importance to fair trade and is the joint venture of a German and a Kenyan who met at university. Roasting takes place near Bremen.
Coffee is still big business today – after all, it is Germany’s most popular drink. According to data from the German Coffee Association, coffee consumption per head in 2017 averaged 162 litres, significantly higher than that of mineral water (143.4 litres) or beer (105.9 litres). In the same year, over a million tonnes of green coffee were delivered to Germany. This wasn’t all consumed domestically, though, as the German ports serve as a transshipment point for some of the green coffee import. Almost half of all coffee beans are imported via Bremen, making Bremen’s ports some of the most significant locations in Germany for imports, alongside Hamburg. Coffee is consequently in great demand, with mass-produced blends dominating the market. Yet in an age when people spend three-figure sums to have coffee machines of their own in their kitchens, there has been a sharp rise in the demand for artisan roasted coffee made from the finest beans, says Lloyd’s master coffee roaster, Ritschel. “It’s a niche for us small roasting businesses,” he admits. “But it’s one in which we feel at home.”
Oliver Kriegsch of Cross Coffee also intends to establish himself in this niche. Though the 48-year-old is actually a consultant by trade, coffee is his true passion. It all began when he was training as a machine fitter at Jacobs. He went on to study mechanical engineering, and subsequently came to manage the operating equipment of large roasteries. He was also interested in roasting outside of work, and experimented with a coffee roaster at home. “My friends and acquaintances became increasingly enthusiastic about what I was doing,” he remarks. He eventually decided to expand and turn his hobby into a business.
Kriegsch now offers eight types of coffee, which the company sources directly. “We can trace them back to the individual coffee farmer,” he says, professing to be able to tell the individual story of each coffee he sells. Cross Coffee prefers to roast its beans lightly, even for espresso. “This way, all the aromas come through,” explains Kriegsch. “Coffee has about a thousand aromas, far more than wine.” And just as with wine, the location and the soil conditions determine the flavour. As an example, Kriegsch describes the Lampocoy coffee from Guatemala: “Slightly nutty, gentle aromas of lemon, gentle notes of spice, has a fine body that gives a feeling of fullness in the mouth, and is still relatively sweet.”
If this has encouraged you to find out more about coffee, its many varieties and the art of roasting and making coffee, then a course at Kaffeeschule Bremen will teach you all you need to know. The school is run by Oliver Kriegsch, among others, and is a good starting point to enjoy the perfect coffee experience. And who knows, maybe some of the alumni will add a few more roasteries to Bremen’s booming scene.
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They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
Lighter, more bespoke and more intricate: for companies open to new ideas in manufacturing and construction, metal parts produced by 3D printers present an economic alternative to conventional die cutting, rolling and milling. Leading the way is Materialise, a company with its own metal printing plant in Bremen.
Bremen has been twinned with the city of Dalian in north-eastern China since 1985. Find out more about the similarities and connections that the two port cities share.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
Wearables and smart glasses provide hands-free digital information. A visit at the headquarter of the global market leader for Industrial Wearable Computing, Ubimax in Bremen.
In 2016, companies invested a combined total of €229 million in the federal state of Bremen. Where do these investors hail from, how many jobs have they created, and what is their line of business? Our infographics provide an overview.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
Keen to remain in Bremen? Then why not combine residency status with self-employment? Manuel Kühn from Bremeninvest’s welcome service knows all about how a start-up could allow British citizens to beat Brexit and kill two birds with one stone.
From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the ...
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
Going it alone is rarely an easy option. Co-working enables entrepreneurs to work in a shared space and experience the benefits and synergies that come with this. There are nine co-working spaces in Bremen – which one is right for you?
Permits and authorisations, a mountain of applications and a language barrier too. These are just some of the difficulties you face when starting a business abroad. Luckily, an advice centre opened in Bremen in early 2015 that can help you through the jungle: Bremeninvest’s welcome service.
Geographical distance and cultural differences make it hard to relocate or start up a company in another country. Luckily, help is at hand from the team at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Bremen. They'll do all they can to make your international business a success.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.
Language barriers, unfamiliar legal and fiscal systems, qualifications that need to be recognised. There are many additional hurdles that entrepreneurs have to overcome when setting up a new branch or a new company in a different country. Bremeninvest is committed to offering you advice and support from the outset.
You might expect a Bremen-based company specialising in innovative instruments and implants for spinal surgery to be located at the Technology Park. But you'd be wrong. NuVasive Germany GmbH has its head office at the heart of the city centre next to Wallanlagen Park. Now employing a team of 44 people, the company generates annual revenue of more than €10 million – a figure that looks set to rise.
David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.