CAFEA – The story of instant coffee

As one of the leading producers of instant coffees, we look back with pride on the Hanseatic history of our family business. Every single one of our products is packed with tradition, experience, care and conscience. We have carried these values, together with outstanding flavour and the same great quality, forward to the present day.

Visitors to the 'Im grünen Thal' cafe in St. Magnus, Bremen, can stop by and relax over a cup of coffee. But that’s not all! Those who wish to spend a little longer enjoying their coffee break at home can pick up unroasted green coffee beans from Johann Dietrich Rothfos, straight from the sack they came in. At this point in history, every coffee lover handles the roasting themselves – at home in their own frying pan.


Son Bernhard Rothfos sees potential for success and turns his father’s operation into a globally renowned green coffee business.

A generation later, Jan Beernd Rothfos becomes the first managing director of the newly founded DEUTSCHE EXTRAKT KAFFEE (DEK). DEK was created at the instigation of Bernhard Rothfos and leading German coffee roasters Walther Jacobs, Max Herz (Tchibo) and Rolf Schopf (Eduscho).


Jan Beernd Rothfos begins operations at the facilities on Rethedamm in Hamburg.

The oval can of instant coffee quickly becomes DEK’s signature product.


DEK is the first company in Germany to begin producing freeze-dried coffee.

DEK moves production to what is now Cafeastrasse.


The first fully automated high-bay warehouse in northern Europe is commissioned.

DEUTSCHE EXTRAKT KAFFEE begins operations at a new production site in Berlin.


AROMAT is established to distribute liquid coffee concentrates for use in coffee systems worldwide.

The EDEL production plant in Liège, Belgium, joins the coffee family. It specialises in the production of freeze-dried coffee.


CAFEA is founded as a holding company to coordinate the production companies.

WERTFORM, a company specialising in certified organic and fair trade products, joins the organisation.


The range is expanded to include instant cappuccino products.

Based in Rathenow, near Berlin, MILCAFEA produces instant coffee drinks such as cappuccino, iced coffee and Viennese Melange.


The subsidiary CAFEA UK, based in Dunstable, near London, joins the British market for instant coffee.

CAFEA takes over the GRANA production plant in Poland. It produces only plant-based, caffeine-free instant hot drinks.


The CREMILK production plant in Kappeln an der Schlei joins the CAFEA Group.

INTERCAFE is launched in Moscow for the Russian and Eastern European market.


CAFEAHAUS is founded in Berlin. It supplies coffee in large containers for the drinks industry, catering and the entire food industry.

Acquisition of the new administrative building on Cafeastrasse in the Hamburg district of Wilhemsburg.


NEW! Deutsche Extrakt Kaffee GmbH Hamburg is the first company in Germany to supply freeze-dried express coffee.

Quote from the trade journal Kaffee- und Teemarkt, May 1965 issue.

Do you have a query or issue to resolve?
Our team is happy to help.

Learn more
Find out more

Stay up to date with the latest from our News page.

Learn more
The Group

Discover the companies that make up CAFEA.

Learn more
CAFEA 1896