Germany isn’t a coffee-producing country, but it still plays an important role in the coffee world. Germany imports green coffee beans from around the globe. The beans arrive at roasting facilities, which send out roasted beans throughout the country and other parts of the world.
Roasted coffee beans from Germany tend to be mildly roasted and can offer a variety of flavors since bean origins vary.
We’re going to dive deep into the German coffee industry and its history, as well as talk about popular German coffee brands.
About German Coffee
Germany has an interesting history with coffee and some of the best coffee inventions came from German inventors and entrepreneurs. Referred to as kaffee, the beverage became a favored drink by the mid-1800s.
Germany isn’t located in an ideal spot for coffee production. Instead, it has focused on other parts of the coffee business that are a little less talked about.
Today, Germany is known as one of the largest coffee importers, roasters, and re-exporters in Europe.
History of German Coffee
Coffee was first mentioned in European publications by a German physician and traveler named Leonhard Rauwolf from Augsburg. Rauwolf documented his travels in the Far East in 1582, where he discovered a coffee drink referred to as “chaube”.
The German elite and wealthy were the first to enjoy coffee in the country, beginning in the latter half of the 17th century.
It first arrived at the German port of Bremen in 1673, which was known as a merchant meeting place. It then made its way to the Hamburg port.
Bremen and Hamburg became the main locations for German coffee imports and still are to this day. When the German lower class began to make coffee at home, Frederick the Great of Prussia heavily regulated coffee beans and roasting.
Only state officials and other elites were allowed to roast coffee. Frederick went as far as hiring hundreds of patrolmen, known as “Coffee Sniffers”, to enforce the regulations and fine people who were illegally roasting coffee.
The Coffee Sniffers were disbanded after Frederick the Great died in the 1780s. Coffee remained a beverage of the wealthy for a few more decades until it was available to most by the mid-19th century.
Great German Coffee Inventions
There are a few German inventors that created coffee products that are still used to this day.
A Bremen man named Ludwig Roselius invented the first decaffeinated coffee in 1905. It was called Kaffee HAG.
Before the filter came along, coffee drinkers had to deal with clogged sieves or grounds in their coffee. It was difficult to ever get a clean cup of coffee without any grounds. The grounds often got stuck in people’s teeth and gave the drink an unappealing bitterness.
Melitta Bentz was a German housewife from Dresden who became an inventor and entrepreneur based on her frustrations with coffee grounds.
Bentz figured out a way to filter out the grounds by using blotting paper. She patented the coffee filter in 1908.
Where German Coffee Comes From
Most German coffee beans are imported directly from coffee-producing countries. Germany imports coffee from smallholder farms, grower’s associations and cooperatives, or large coffee plantations.
Big German coffee roasting companies have the means to work with and import green coffee beans directly from the producing countries.
Smaller roasters may buy green coffee beans from importers, sales agents, and sometimes directly from the producer.
Once the green coffee beans are roasted, the roasters send them out to at-home and out-of-home markets, such as coffee shops and supermarkets. Some roasters will also export the beans to other countries.
Hamburg and Bremen are the two main ports where coffee is sent to Germany from around the world.
Germany is the top European importer of the European Union (EU). Between 2016 and 2018, Germany imported more than 18.5 million 60-kg bags of coffee beans. Brazil, Vietnam, and Honduras are the top three coffee producers that supply Germany with beans.
Main Coffee Roasters in Germany
Germany’s coffee roasting industry is larger than any other country in Europe. Its roasted coffee production reached 551,000 tonnes in 2018.
This accounted for 31% of EU roasted coffee production. Italy came in second, responsible for 23% of roasted coffee production.
When you’re shopping for German coffee brands, you may find the same brand names pop up over and over again. This is because Germany has a handful of large-scale coffee roasters that dominate the industry. These brands include:
- J. Darboven
These roasters produce a variety of different roasts. German coffee beans are typically mildly roasted, but lighter and darker roasts are still available.
German Coffee Quality Scale
The German coffee market is divided based on the quality of the beans. The four quality levels for German coffee include:
Low-end German coffee encompasses blended coffees, typically of the Robusta variety. Coffees of this grade can be found in supermarkets. Jacobs is considered to be a low-end German coffee brand.
Mid-range coffee is considered good quality. You may find both Robusta and Arabica varieties at this level. You might also be able to find some organic and fair trade coffees.
German coffee brands at this level can be found in supermarkets, and are also served at restaurants and coffee shops.
High-end and upper-end are the finest quality German coffees you’ll find. The cupping score is above 80 and they mostly consist of fully washed Arabica varietals.
Upper-end coffee is single-origin and often comes directly from the producer, meaning it’s fully traceable. You’ll find excellent quality specialty coffee at this level. The upper-end market is still fairly small but expanding.
German Coffee Roasting Style and Flavors
German coffee flavor profiles can widely vary depending on the types of beans the roasters are importing. German roasters import beans from coffee-producing regions spread along the Bean Belt.
Depending on the origin of the beans, the flavor profiles may range from sweet and fruity to richer chocolate or earthy flavor.
One of the most important things to note about German coffees is the quality. Higher-quality brands will advertise that their beans are 100% Arabica. These beans will be in the high-end to the upper-end quality sector.
Coffee blends with Arabica and Robusta or strictly Robusta beans are generally not as high-quality. This doesn’t mean they don’t taste as good! If you like wild and earthy coffee flavors, you might favor German coffee with the Robusta variety more.
You can find any type of roast, from light to dark espresso, with German coffee brands. Most coffee in Germany is enjoyed as a mild-medium roast. This is the most popular roasting style, but dark roasts are also pretty common.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for German Coffee Brands
|Tchibo RöstFrisch Classic Blend Coffee||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Dallmayr Prodomo Ground Coffee||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Jacobs Krönung Ground Coffee||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|EduScho Gala Nr. 1 Ground Coffee||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|German J.J. Darboven IDEE Coffee||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
5 German Coffee Brands to Try
1. Tchibo RöstFrisch Classic Blend Coffee
- Different roast options
- 100% Arabica beans
- Flavour lacks intensity
Tchibo is one of the top coffee roasters in Germany. Their Classic Blend coffee is a medium roast of 100% Arabica beans. It has a fairly mild intensity with hints of red berries and dried fruits.
The brand also offers a variety of other roasts, such as their Rostmeister dark roast. The Rostmeister has a richer body and notes of bittersweet chocolate.
2. Dallmayr Prodomo Ground Coffee
- Highland Arabica beans
- Ground (may affect freshness)
Another known German coffee roaster, Dallmayr offers Prodomo Ground Coffee. It consists of 100% Arabica beans from highlands in major coffee-producing regions, such as Papua New Guinea and Brazil.
This coffee is a medium roast with a full body and slight acidity. It is ground very fine, which may pose a problem depending on how you make your coffee.
Jacobs produces a variety of coffees, such as whole bean, ground, instant, and mixes. Jacobs Krönung Ground Coffee is mildly roasted to produce a well-balanced cup.
It has a fuller body with a medium intensity. This might be a good option if you’re looking for a coffee that isn’t too strong.
The Jacobs coffee brand is a part of the low-end German market segment. It’s still a well-loved German coffee brand that’s been around for more than a century.
If you’re looking for a dark-roasted German coffee, you might enjoy EduScho Gala Nr. 1 Ground Coffee. It is considered a low-end to mid-range coffee, as it is a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.
The Robusta beans give it a woody aftertaste, but the Arabica beans showcase hints of chocolate. It is pleasantly aromatic and has an intense flavor.
5. J.J. Darboven IDEE Kaffee Classic
- Consistent, well-rounded taste
- Ideal for mild coffee lovers
- Flavour lacks intensity
- Pricey for quality
IDEE Kaffee is a product of the German coffee roasting brand J.J. Darboven. This coffee is well-balanced with medium strength, acidity, and body. It is an ideal coffee for anyone who wants a milder coffee without losing any of the caffeine.
This may not be a great coffee if you’re looking for intense flavors. The coffee is ground, which may affect its freshness. It is also a little pricey for the quality.
Overview: German Coffee Brands
Germany isn’t a coffee-producing country, but they specialize in roasting and re-exporting the beans. Since Germany imports green coffee beans, you’ll find a wide array of flavor profiles in German coffee brands.
The most consistent characteristics of German coffee include:
- Medium roast
- Mild flavors
If you want medium-roasted beans that produce a consistent, smooth cup of coffee, you’ll probably enjoy the laid-back flavors of German-roasted coffee.
We suggest trying the Tchibo German coffee brand. It offers several different roast and flavor options, which helps to fit different coffee palates.
They also roast 100% Arabica beans, which are of higher quality. The flavors aren’t very strong, but this is a common trait with most German coffees.