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One of our coffee stories

Coffee stories: Read about our beginning - a success story with stumbling blocks.

A life before espresso

In 1984, Alexander Duhre had a business idea. He offers a telephone office service to small craft businesses. So the master bricklayer can be on the building site and still be reachable for his customers. The service quickly expands. The customers become bigger, the tasks more complex and Alexander Duhre becomes a specialist for telecommunications. The small company becomes a large service company within 25 years. In the year 2000 with at that time country widely 2,500 coworkers it leads it to the stock exchange. The new orientation of the company: e-commerce. 2003 he leaves the AG as chairman of the board for health reasons.

A time of reorientation

With what do you deny your further life? What conveys joy and challenge in equal measure? A love of Italy becomes a passion for coffee. Italy has been our favorite destination for over 30 years. Landscape, way of life and simple but high-quality food have always been an incentive to visit many places and regions of Italy. And of course, we still like to sit in small bars or traditional coffee houses to enjoy real Italian espresso or cappuccino.

Back in Germany, the selection of good espresso varieties in retail is disappointing and severely limited. And this despite the fact that more and more people, like us, own an expensive fully automatic coffee machine or even brew their little blacks with the sieve holder. So what could be more obvious than to found a company that closes this gap? Why not import Italian coffee directly and sell it online? We have experience in e-commerce. Thought - done!

All beginnings are difficult in the coffee business

Together with a long-time companion and friend, we start exploring the market. Eckart Meyer speaks Italian and loves Italy as we do. His passion for espresso is contagious. He makes the first direct contact with the roasters and opens the door for us. But it is not so easy to win the trust of the roasters. They also want to know to whom they sell their precious beans. Bad experiences with other online coffee traders, who then dump good coffee on eBay at dumping prices, are probably one reason for this. It hurts, but the coffee has to go! Slowly we are building up a customer base in Germany.

The joy is great on the first day with 10 online orders. Sparkling wine for everyone, it's going ahead. There follows a long balancing act between purchasing optimization and freshness guarantee. The direct import of coffee is only worthwhile on pallets, but our customers love it freshly roasted. During the first 3 years, it happens again and again that we have to dispose of or give away coffee beans. Although the MHD has not yet expired, they no longer meet our quality standards and those of our customers. We are even forced to part with some really good roasters that are unknown in Germany. Freshness comes first. The only solution: We have to step on the gas in marketing in order to be able to order large quantities of coffee in Italy at ever shorter intervals.

Errors and confusion - ESE Pad machines

Our enthusiasm for espresso pad machines has us going astray. The open ESE pad system with its large selection of roasters, varieties and flavors convinces us so much that we try to win the German market for it. Advantages of the system: The espresso tastes just as good, if not better than from a fully automatic coffee maker, the machines are simple in design, much cheaper, require less maintenance and, above all, the coffee pads have no price or manufacturer ties. We invest in espresso pad machines, which we make available to small companies on a trial basis. The system speaks for itself. What we did not consider: The transport is a real problem for the machines, the customers do not decalcify them regularly and even the smallest faults, which can be rectified themselves, lead to unnecessary returns. We are unnerved and know that we have approached this coffee business too naively. When it comes to coffee machines, you should be able to instruct the customer locally and personally and also offer a professional repair service. We learn a lot and pull the ripcord.

But although we say goodbye to the world of espresso machines, we remain true to the ESE coffee pad and offer a wide range of pads.

Arrived in the world of coffee

Espresso International has been offering a high-quality coffee assortment for 17 years now. In addition to coffee beans, espresso cups and a wide range of espresso accessories are now part of the standard range. Our online coffee shop stocks both the well-known roasters such as Lavazza and illy as well as the fine, small traditional roasters. Just this still family run roaster