Table of Contents
Nothing is more irritating than a mouthful of grounds or "grinds" in your morning coffee, especially if you're not a morning person. Now imagine a time when there were no paper filters.
Cups of coffee used to be full of grounds, too bitter, and the linens used to strain the beans had to be washed constantly. Boring right?
Not until this simple (and ingenious!) application of paper was discovered. Frau Bentz's paper filter was simple to use, inexpensive to produce, and completely disposable.
A paper coffee filter is one of the most common household items today. Its primary purpose is to keep irritating grounds out of your cup of coffee. It is usually white (though they are brown) and disposable. But who invented the coffee filter?
As a bonafide caffeine addict, I feel I must recognize Melitta Bentz - without her, I wouldn't be drinking my morning cup of coffee. The story of the invention of the paper coffee filter is far from ordinary.
Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz, a Dresden, Germany housewife around the turn of the century, went to extraordinary measures to ensure her cup of coffee was devoid of grounds. Her name is now splashed throughout an entire food sector conglomerate.
It's not often that a housewife lays the foundation for a business empire, but that's what happened to Melitta. Read through to discover interesting facts about Melitta Bentz.
Amalie Auguste Melitta Liebscher was born from a German family to Karl and Brigitte Liebscher on January 31, 1873, in Dresden, Germany. Napoleon formed the Kingdom of Saxony, and Dresden became its capital in 1806. The French Emperor used it as a center of operations during the Napoleonic Wars, winning the Battle of Dresden on August 27, 1813.
In 1815, the Kingdom of Saxony joined the German Confederation due to the Congress of Vienna. Many Poles escaped to Dresden after the Polish revolutions of 1831, 1848, and 1863, including musician Frédéric Chopin. The May Uprising in 1848, which lost lives and devastated the historic town of Dresden, was a focal point of the German Revolution.
Frederick Augustus II of Saxony was forced to depart Dresden due to the revolt, but he quickly restored control of the city with the support of Prussia. Dresden's population expanded to 100,000 people in 1852, making it one of the largest cities in the German Confederation.
After becoming the capital city of the Kingdom of Saxony, Dresden joined the newly formed German Empire in 1871. During Melitta Bentz's childhood, the town grew into a major economic center, with automobile manufacturing, food processing, banking, and medical equipment manufacturing.
I'm digressing; let's get back to Melitta Bentz's biography.
Melitta Bentz's family were entrepreneurs. Her grandfather owned a brewery, while her father was a publisher and book dealer.
Melitta fell in love with Johannes Emil Hugo Bentz and married him. Willy and Horst, born in 1899 and 1904, respectively, and Herta, born in 1911, were the couple's children.
A Brief History of the Coffee Timeline
Coffee beans were first discovered in Ethiopia, according to legend, when a Shepard noticed his goats acting strangely. You are not alone if you immediately think of this ecstatic goat. Kaldi, a goat herder, was the first to see the beans' potential.
Kaldi discovered coffee, according to folklore, his goats became so hyper after eating berries from a particular tree.
Kaldi told the monk of a local monastery, who concocted a drink from the berries and discovered it kept him awake throughout his evening prayers. The abbot alerted the monastery's other monks about his discovery, and word swiftly spread. The Arabian Peninsula is where coffee was first grown and traded.
The Peninsula of Arabia
By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni region of Arabia, and it spread to Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey by the 16th century.
Coffee was drunk at home and in the numerous public coffee shops, known as Qahveh Khaneh, that sprang up around the Near East. People visited the coffee houses for various social activities, and they were unsurpassed in popularity.
Customers not only drank coffee and socialized but also listened to music, watched entertainers, played chess, and read newspapers. After a short time, coffee houses were dubbed "Schools of the Wise" because they became a crucial center for knowledge sharing. As many people made their way to Mecca each year, knowledge of this "Araby Wine" spread quickly.
Coffee Arrives in Europe
European travelers returned from the Near East with accounts of a mysterious dark black liquid. The coffee plant had arrived in Europe by the 17th century and was swiftly getting more popular across the continent.
Some people were suspicious of the new beverage, alluding to it as Satan's "bitter invention." The local church condemned coffee when it arrived in Venice in 1615. The controversy had heated up until Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. He decided to test the drink for himself before passing judgment, and he felt it was so good that he gave it papal approval.
Despite the issue, coffee houses grew in popularity as social gathering places and communication hubs in significant towns across England, Austria, France, Germany, and Holland. In England, "Penny Universities" came up, so named because a cup of coffee and lively conversation could be had for a penny.
Coffee replaced beer and wine, which were once popular breakfast beverages. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol began the day alert and energized, and the quality of their work significantly increased.
There were around 300 coffee houses in London by the mid-seventeenth century, many of which drew like-minded clientele such as merchants, traders, brokers, and artists.
A plethora of new enterprises sprang up due to these specialty coffee shops. A good example is the Edward Lloyd's Coffee House, where Lloyd's of London began.
A Brand-New World
Coffee arrived in New Amsterdam, subsequently renamed New York by the British, in the mid-1600s. Despite the rapid proliferation of coffee shops, tea was the favorite drink until 1773, when colonists revolted over King George III's high tea tax. For the rest of their lives, the Boston Tea Party changed how Americans drank coffee.
"Coffee is the civilized world's favorite beverage." - Jefferson, Thomas.
Plantations Around the World
As demand for the beverage rose, coffee cultivation outside of Arabia became more competitive. In the 17th century, the Dutch could finally obtain seedlings. They were unsuccessful in their early attempts to plant them in India, but they were successful on the Indonesian island of Java.
The plants grew, and the Dutch soon had a thriving coffee trade. The cultivation of coffee trees was then pushed to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.
Coffee was introduced to America
The Mayor of Amsterdam presented a seedling coffee plant to King Louis XIV in 1714. The King had it planted at the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, Gabriel de Clieu received a seedling from the King's plant. He successfully transported it to Martinique despite a challenging voyage.
Once planted, the seedling flourished, and it is also credited for the growth of 18 million coffee trees across Martinique over the next 50 years. Even more astonishing, this seedling was the progenitor of all coffee trees in the Caribbean, South America, and Central America.
The emperor sent Francisco de Mello Palheta to French Guiana to get coffee seedlings. The French did not want to share, but the French Governor's wife, enamored with his good looks, presented him with an enormous bouquet before he departed, including enough coffee seeds to launch what is now a billion-dollar enterprise.
Missionaries, travelers, traders, and colonists carried coffee seeds to other areas, and coffee plants were planted worldwide. Plantations were planted in lush tropical rainforests and craggy mountain ranges.
Soon, then coffee had become a worldwide sensation by the nineteenth century. It was being transported and consumed all across the world.
While the bean itself had little ground left to conquer, advancements in coffee roasting, packaging, and brewing have radically altered the beverage over the previous 200 years. Here are some more coffee history facts.
The History of Coffee Brewing and Roasting Devices
The percolator was the first coffee brewing apparatus to emerge from the industrial revolution. In 1819, the Parisian tinsmith Joseph-Henry-Marie Laurens built the first modern percolator, which included the rise of boiling water via a tube to produce a continuous cycle and could be cooked on a home stove.
Its principles were frequently replicated and changed after that. There have also been attempts to create closed systems, or "pressure cookers."
In 1865, James Nason of Franklin, Massachusetts, received the first US patent for a coffee percolator, which still used a downflow process without rising steam and water.
1824-Modern Coffee Roaster
The first "modern" coffee roaster was discovered in 1864. New Yorker Jabez Burns built the first roaster that didn't require fire to operate. He received a patent for the machine, making him the forefather of all modern coffee roasting machines.
In 1824, Richard Evans received a patent for the first large-scale coffee roaster in the United Kingdom. It had an "examiner" that lets customers collect samples throughout the roast, according to The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee. It also allowed users to up-end the entire cylinder to empty it.
According to the same book, James Carter patented a "pull out" roaster in Boston in 1846. It was a furnace that had an iron drum in it. The entire cylinder had to be removed from the stove. Doors on the drum walls had to be opened to drop the coffee onto the floor or into trays to cool. It was a wasteful and maybe risky practice.
Luigi Bezzera was the man who invented the espresso in 1901 in Italy. It was the first commercial espresso machine to quickly employ high-pressure water and steam to brew coffee.
Luigi created the machine out of necessity, intending to cut down on the time it took to make coffee so that his employees could get back to work faster. Luigi's attempts at espresso were overtaken by current coffee expertise in 1905.
Desiderio Pavoni bought the patent for Luigi's first espresso machine and set out to improve it. The bitterness of the coffee generated by the initial device was intense.
The bitterness, according to Desiderio, was caused by steam and high heat. He decided that the temperature should not surpass 195 degrees Fahrenheit and would be exposed to a pressure of 9 BAR.
An Italian called Achille Gaggia enhanced the espresso machine after 40 years by using a piston to extract the coffee at a higher pressure. Because of this new development, which resulted in a layer of crema on each shot of espresso, the cappuccino was born.
1908-Frau Bentz's Paper Filter
In 1908, drip coffee made a significant advancement. Melitta Bentz, a German housewife, entered the scene and invented the coffee filter paper.
How did it all start?
You might wonder, why did Melitta Bentz invent the coffee filter? During the early 1900s, coffee was a common household item. The famous morning drink was created by pouring hot water over a cloth bag or using an espresso-like machine.
Melitta was like everyone else. She woke up each morning looking forward to her cup of coffee till she remembered how much time she’d have to spend scraping the grounds that stuck to the sides of the copper pot.
She was always frustrated by the over-brewed coffee prevailing in that era, and the dirty linen used as a pseudo filter and decided to change.
“My mother, who had an excellent taste in coffee, was often irritated by the coffee grounds in her cup,” - Horst Bentz gave this quote in a later interview with the German publication, Der Aufstieg, in their 1949 publication.
Hello, Smooth Coffee!
After various unsuccessful experiments to produce clean coffee, she attempted to use a sheet of blotting paper from her son’s notebook, punctured it with some holes, placed it in a brass pot filled with coffee grounds, and poured hot water over it.
Et voilà, it worked!
She called this “perfect coffee enjoyment.” This invention hit her friends, who enjoyed coffee with no bitter taste or particles. She thus started her drip-coffee company.
Her coffee filter with “curved and indented bottom and slanting extraction pores" in combination with "filtered paper" had been awarded legal protection as a registered utility good by the Kaiserliche Patentamt (Imperial Patent Office). In July 1908, the patent was officially published in the "Patentblatt."
The company 'M. Bentz' began with 73 old German pfennigs in the capital, and she started with four employees; Her husband Hugo and sons Willy and Horst, and herself. Their headquarters was the family’s five-room Dresden apartment.
While the boys rolled a handcart in the streets, Bentz’s husband set up a display in a shop window to demonstrate the new system. He later delegated this to “demonstration ladies,” a concept gained from his work as a department store manager. Hortz recalled that this move by his father was ingenious, resulting in a business boom.
Melitta invented the first round pour-over in 1910. Like the original pour-over, this filter generation comprises three parts: a removable water distributor, the filter body, and a sieve insert onto which the filter paper is laid.
It didn't take long for success to arrive. At the 1910 International Hygiene Exhibition in Dresden, the novel melitta bentz invention "Filtration Apparatus" Melitta garnered gold and silver awards.
The company overgrew, and in the 1920s, it relocated to bigger premises to begin producing its coffee filters. At the Leipzig fair, her company was able to sell 1200 coffee filters. A Leipzig Trade Show is a prominent trade fair with nearly a millennium of history to bring you up to speed.
Following WWII, East Germany annexed Leipzig. The Leipzig Trade Fair became one of comecon's most prominent trade shows, serving as a traditional meeting place for business people and politicians from both sides of the Iron Curtain. The fair has been held on the Leipzig fairgrounds since 1996, around 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) north of the city center.
Back to our legend, because of the increased demand for melitta bentz coffee filters in 1928, her company's employees worked a double shift. Melitta improvised her design in1936, transforming it into the popular cone shape we all know today.
Although the two World Wars affected her company’s production, especially with her husband and first son signing up for the first war, the business could bounce back after each one.
Survived a War
In 1914, Austria-Hungary and Serbia declared war on each other, which drew Europe and the rest of the globe into World War I. The German government enlisted Hugo Bentz to help with the war effort in Romania.
Paper was rationed, and all metals were requisitioned to produce zeppelins, flying "blimps" used for observation and fighting. Because melitta bentz metal coffee filter production was impossible, Bentz adapted and made a living selling cartons during the war.
As sales required, the Bentzes expanded their company after World War I ended in 1918, hiring much new staff and expanding to more extensive production facilities in Dresden. When Melitta-workforce Werke's grew to 80 people, they had to leave Dresden and create a new factory in Minden, Prussia, which later became part of Germany.
Soon after the transfer, Bentz stepped down as president of the company (now a corporation), selling her controlling ownership to her husband and son Horst. They would patent and sell Melitta items in significant markets across the world.
However, she remained engaged with her staff, enhancing benefits such as Christmas bonuses and paid vacations. Melitta introduced its signature red and green packaging in 1925 to protect itself from imitators.
The corporation began paying its employees a Christmas bonus in 1930. The number of vacation days was extended from six to fifteen per year in 1932, and the workweek was decreased to five days. Under Melitta Bentz's patronage, the corporation developed its ‘Melitta Aid’ system, a social fund for company employees.
During their search for suitable premises in Germany, Melitta and Hugo Bentz discovered an unused chocolate factory building in Minden, which they bought. The company was subsequently registered with the Commercial Register in Minden, which has been the company’s base ever since.
On Maundy Thursday, 1929, Melitta and 55 employees moved to Minden, together with the company’s existing machinery. Four days later, the new factory was up and running.
Melitta Bentz's family had only one goal in mind: to expand. Melitta's coffee filters and filter papers captured the residential and business markets.
The Birth of a Global Brand
The corporation invented Melitta lettering in 1932, which is another unique feature. The classic Melitta logo was also adopted.
The filter papers themselves were regularly developed and refined. In 1936, the business introduced the conical filter, which is still widely used today, and the typical Melitta filter bags were made to complement the new style.
Melitta also had a children's coffee filter in the 1930s, which was an exact reproduction of the metal round filter.
This success, however, did not last long. The second-world manner of doing things disrupted businesses. They were obliged to sell war-related items to survive, and Melitta was no exception.
Destruction: 12 Years of Makeshift Production
During World War II, Germany's entire peacetime manufacturing was halted, and factories were instructed to produce war-related commodities (ammunition belts, pots, pans, etc.). The Melitta as a whole plant in Minden was requisitioned by Allied troops at the end of the war and used as military barracks for the next twelve years. Production departments were moved as feasible within Minden, including local bars and restaurants.
Hugo Bentz passed away in January 1946, just months after the war ended. Melitta Bentz observed wartime reconstruction and the start of a rapid boom for the company she had founded. Her company grossed DM4.7 million in 1950, the year she died at Holzhausen at Porta Westfalica.
Porta Westfalica is a town in the North Rhine-Westphalian district of Minden-Lübbecke. "Porta Westfalica" is a Latin term that means "gate to Westphalia." From the north, the gorge marks the beginning of the Westphalian region. Scholars in the nineteenth century coined the term.
While growing its business, the company continued to improve its coffee filters and marketing strategies. Customers in Germany were given four weeks to try out the new fast-drip filters at home before having to pay for them.
The concept was revived in the 1950s when homemakers were allowed to try out the fast-drip filter for four weeks before having to pay or return it. Within a year, sales had tripled.
As per the contemporary trends, Melitta modified the filter design in the 1950s, which was made of stoneware with a pastel finish. They also began producing complete coffee sets.
In 1954 Horst and Willy Bentz decided to go their separate ways. Willy Bentz took over the paper factory in Düren while Horst Bentz became sole manager of the Melitta mill in Minden.
The "Economic Miracle" Arrived in Minden
Melitta in Minden created Europe's most modern paper machine in the 1950s. Melitta started producing equipment for the hotel and catering industry in 1958, establishing a new business segment. The corporation launched a new administrative center in Minden on its 50th anniversary. A constant stream of investments followed, with overall sales increasing by 26.5 percent in the company's anniversary year of 1958.
Successful Melitta campaigns from the Thirties to the Sixties: the “Original Melitta” publicity service provided free promotion material for store displays and window dressing. The customer magazine “Melitta Information” presented the latest products and sales strategies.
In the 50s and 60s, Melitta held annual shop window decoration contests, awarding prizes for the best designed or most original displays. Each year had its unique motto. In 1952, for example, the competition was called “Coffee the Melitta way – more aroma –1/3 saved”.
Melitta's first advertisement, titled "Discrepancies" ("Pity"), was shown in Berlin cinemas in 1938. Werner Fink, a cabaret artist, and Jupp Ernst, a designer, collaborated on the writing and design. The commercial for the new 102 fast-drip filters was as follows:
“Of course, in the days when we still had real coffee, a good filter made sense. But today? Yes, today, more than ever, proper filtration is vital. Coffee made of corn, malt, or other substances can also taste good if prepared correctly. Melitta filters every type of coffee. Try it and see. Filtered coffee simply tastes better!”
Melitta continued to expand its activities through a series of acquisitions and product developments: in addition to coffee, filter papers, coffeemakers, and household goods (food wrappings made of paper/plastic/aluminum, vacuum cleaner bags, cleaning cloths, and sponges), Horst Bentz's vision of a "well-laid table" included porcelain, sweets, cigars, and fruit juices. The Melitta Group incorporated the different firm acquisitions.
Melitta constructed a new paper factory in Minden in 1959 after production capacity was depleted. This facility is home to Europe's most advanced paper machine.
Overall, the company (together with many other German companies) underwent enormous expansion during this time. Demand for goods quickly outstripped supply, and 30 percent of all employees were recruited from outside the country because the local labor market was entirely depleted.
Expansion: Unlimited Growth
In addition to expanding its product line, the corporation expanded its reach, initially into Western Europe. Melitta created their first foreign subsidiary in Canada in 1960. Paper manufacturers and coffee roasting facilities were established in the United States and Brazil.
Melitta presented its filters to the general public at trade exhibits in the 1960s, offering over two million cups of coffee.
Melitta became the first company in Germany to offer ground coffee in vacuum-sealed packaging in 1962. Presently employs over 3,500 people and operates an electronically controlled roasting factory in Minden.
Later in the decade, additional filters of various diameters were produced, allowing users to brew a specific number of cups by filling the filter to the rim. Melitta launched filters built of heat-resistant plastics once heat-resistant plastics were invented.
Melitta began to progress its international presence by establishing a subsidiary in the United States in 1963. Filters for the American market have been manufactured in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, since 1963.
At the same time, Melitta is marketing aluminum foil as a universal household wrap in Germany with great success.
Melitta produced the "1x" filter paper and filter cone technology. A person could brew four cups of coffee with just one pour of water over a 1x4 filter. Melitta introduced one of the first electric coffee makers to the German market.
In just six minutes, the renowned MA 120 could make eight cups of coffee. Melitta also began manufacturing fresh-keeping film and paper towels.
In So Paulo, Brazil, Melitta launched its first location in South America. Horst Bentz's son, Jörg, joined the company. Melitta entered the dust filter sector in 1971 with the addition of vacuum cleaner bags to the product line.
The vacuum cleaner bag industry rapidly expanded. PVG was established to produce vacuum cleaner filters and nozzles. Melitta became the first company to sell vacuum cleaner bags through grocery stores.
In 1973, Melitta surpassed 9,000 employees for the first time. The product line had grown to include a wide variety of items. Dr. Thomas Bentz, Horst Bentz's second son, joined the company when new subsidiaries were established in South America and more enterprises were acquired.
Melitta established a paper mill in Berlin. Construction on the plant began in 1974, and manufacturing started the following year. Melitta's appliances for the hotel and catering industries began to be sold in 1978.
Horst Bentz quit as a general partner in 1981, and his sons Jörg and Dr. Thomas Bentz took over the operation of Melitta. The sons established a holding company, established corporate divisions, and restructured the business units.
The Melitta Group had grown to 65 enterprises by the mid-1980s. Melitta was present in 104 countries around the world, with 104 locations. Horst Bentz died in 1984.
The operative business was separated into legally distinct entities in 1987, and a management holding was established. Paper manufacture was one of the areas that were bolstered.
The New Brand Strategy
Melitta Aromatechnic renamed itself Melitta Systemtechnik and bought a majority stake in Cafina AG in Switzerland in 1987. In the same year, five strategic business domains were established, each with its distinct brand:
- Melitta (Coffee Enjoyment)
- Toppits (Freshness & Flavor
- Swirl (Convenient Cleaning)
- Cilia (Tea Enjoyment)
- Aclimat (BetterLiving Environment)
The shift was both risky and costly, but it has subsequently shown to be highly beneficial to the company. On the other hand, the corporation stopped doing porcelain, candies, fruit drinks, and cigars because they didn't fit into one of these main categories.
In 1989, the first TV commercial featuring Egon Wellenbrink ("the Melitta man") started airing. Melitta became Germany's fastest-growing coffee brand.
In 1992, the Melitta Group acquired the Neu Kaliss Spezialpapier paper mill. Melitta also decided to stop producing tableware in 1992 as part of its strategic alignment. And in 1993, Horst Bentz's third son, Dr. Stephan Bentz, joined the company as a general partner.
Melitta began roasting and selling coffee in Brazil and the United States, while Germany remained the company's primary market. The company's Brazilian unit was losing money until 1991. By 1995, however, Melitta had a 4% market share, making it the second-largest among the several competing coffee roasters. Melitta do Brasil is now regarded as one of the most important actors in the "home of coffee."
Melitta do Brasil offers a selection of items that is even larger than that offered in Germany, with 160 articles ranging from vacuum-packed roasted coffee to instant coffee, filter papers, and coffee filter systems.
Under the moniker "Coffee World," the corporation launched several dozen coffee shops on the East Coast of the United States and in Florida in 1995. Rather than competing with the country's premier specialty coffee chains, Melitta hoped that these locations would enhance brand awareness among American customers, leading to increased supermarket sales. Meanwhile, by the early 1990s, the German coffee market had reached saturation.
Melitta and DowBrands (later S.C. Johnson) established the joint venture Cofresco Frischhalteprodukte GmbH in 1996. Melitta provided the Toppits®, Meny®, and Handy Bag® brands, as well as DowBrands Domopak, Albal®, and Glad®.
Miele & Cie., a German electric appliance company, purchased half of Melitta's coffee maker production unit in China to expand its product line to include vacuum cleaners. In contrast, the North American coffeemaker production was sold to Regal Ware, a small appliance manufacturer.
Melitta's French subsidiary purchased the Codiac business, a parts provider for electric household appliances, to penetrate the French vacuum cleaner bag market. Another new enterprise, biodegradable foil production, was abandoned and sold.
Aside from coffee filters and coffee machines, Melitta's company expanded to include the sale of roasted coffee. The raw coffee was initially roasted in Minden until the company purchased Bremen-based coffee roaster Carl Ronning in 1966.
Melitta launched filter papers produced partially from bamboo in 1998 and many other product advancements across the board. Sixty percent of the filter paper material was made from a fast-growing raw material. Melitta pioneered the double seam for filter papers at the millennium's turn. Swirl® has expanded its product line to include antibacterial waste bags.
Melitta competed with the German market leader despite severe competition and falling pricing. In 1999, the corporation unveiled a new advertising campaign created behind closed doors for over a year.
Swirlvarious ®'s new product improvements throughout the years reached a new high in 2001 when Melitta introduced MicroPor® dust filter bags, a new high-performance filter. This product's filtering layer proved capable of catching both household dust and ultra-fine particles.
In 2003, Toppits® introduced a real all-rounder with its zipped freezer bag. Food was kept fresh in the all-purpose bag with proprietary Zipper® closure, which was also used for freezing, storing, sorting, and transporting commodities.
Melitta Brazil maintained its robust expansion in the coffee-growing country by acquiring Bom Jesus, a roasting company, in 2006. The Wolf and PVG firms amalgamated to develop a new company that makes and sells vacuum cleaner accessories and filter systems in 2007. In 2008 Melitta turned 100!
In 2010, Jero Bentz, Jörg Bentz's son, joined the company, and in the same year, Melitta purchased ACW-Film, a packaging film company.
In 2011, Volker Stühmeier joined Chief Corporate Management as the first non-family member. The Berlin paper mill was combined with Neukölln Spezialpapier GmbH & Co. KG began producing non woven wallpaper for Neu Kaliss Spezialpapier. "Pour-over coffee" became increasingly popular in the United States, ushering in a global revival for Melitta® filter paper.
By 2012, Melitta had been roasting coffee for 50 years, and its greaseproof paper was 75 years old. Melitta Europe became the commercial name for the operating units Melitta Household Products and Melitta Coffee.
Dr. Thomas Bentz was replaced as a member of Chief Corporate Management by Jero Bentz in 2013, who represents the fourth generation of the Bentz family to date.
By 2014, the Melitta Group controlled 100% of Cofresco, and Melitta SystemService was rebranded Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions to reflect the company's growing international focus.
Melitta 2020 is a strategic plan launched in 2015 to chart a route for the company's future growth. It included new business units and the relocation of manufacturing sites (plastic films, catering coffee machines).
Melitta Single Portions and Melitta Asia Pacific were both established in 2016. Melitta became Manchester United's first official coffee partner in 2017.
In 2018, the Melitta Group bought a majority stake in the office coffee company Coffee at Work. In its internationalization and growth strategy, Melitta purchased 100% of the Italian Cuki Group SpA.
10X Innovation, a Berlin-based subsidiary, was established. Worwo Sp. Z o.o., the Polish market leader in synthetic vacuum cleaner bags and retaining plates, was acquired by Wolf PVG.
Melitta celebrated its 111th anniversary in 2019! Melitta also became Borussia Dortmund's official coffee partner. Melitta responded to the 'pour over' craze with a new premium product line that reinterpreted coffee prepared 'by hand.' Melitta launched the Avoury brand at the end of 2019, promising ultimate tea pleasure with luxury tea equipment and a selection of organic teas.
Melitta’s M.Bentz company had a market value of DM 4.7 million when she died. With over 4,500 employees worldwide, the company had made 1.7 billion euros in sales in 2020.
Now known as The Melitta Group, it operates worldwide and has a broad range of brands and products. It employs thousands in Germany, Florida, and New Jersey. A belated obituary in The New York Times in 2015 quoted a company spokesperson as saying,
“Most Melitta locations still have a photograph of her on the wall. Every employee knows Melitta Bentz and her unique role as the mother of the corporation.”
- Melitta Bentz KG
- Melitta Haushaltsprodukte GmbH & Co. KG
- Melitta Kaffee GmbH
- Melitta Ges.mbH (Austria)
- Melitta GmbH (Switzerland)
- Melitta France S.A.S.; Melitta N.V. (Belgium)
- Melitta Nederland (Netherlands)
- Melitta Scandinavia A/S (Denmark)
- Melitta Scandinavia AB (Sweden); Delphy Industries S.A.S. (France)
- Codiac France S.A.S. (France, 49%)
- Vriesco Plastics B.V. (Netherlands)
- Primafilter B.V. (Netherlands)
- West-Clean AB (Sweden)
- Gameo AB (Sweden)
- Coffee Club Franchise B.V. (Netherlands, 75%)
- Melitta Emballages Ménagers Distribution S.A.S. (France)
- Melitta Russland AG (Russia); Melitta Chicago Review s.r.o. (Czech Republic)
- Melitta do Brasil Industria e Commercio Ltda. (Brazil)
- Melitta North America Inc. (United States)
- Melitta SystemService GmbH & Co. KG
- Cofresco Frischhalteprodukte GmbH & Co. KG (65%)
- Melitta Beratungs- und Verwaltungs GmbH & Co. KG
- Melitta Pacific Ltd. (China).
B2B Brands and Products Under Melitta
Melitta® is a brand that stands for skillful balancing of heritage and contemporary, to provide an exceptional coffee experience in sync with the times. Melitta Group has revolutionized the preparation of the famous hot beverage on numerous occasions throughout its over 100-year history. It's in over 40 nations throughout the world.
Melitta Group manufactures goods under the Swirl® brand that make everyday life easier, more pleasurable, and cleaner. Swirl® is a brand that stands for high-quality vacuuming, descaling, cleaning, garbage disposal, and indoor air filtration devices. Vacuum cleaner bags and attachments, trash liners, descalers, lens cleaning tissues, and air filters are all part of the extensive product line. You can find Swirl® products in over 40 countries across Europe and Asia.
Since 1965, Albal® has been the top brand of household films and papers in France and Spain for freezing, storing, cooking, baking, and keeping things fresh. The brand is also available in Portugal and Ireland.
Cling film and aluminum foil are among the goods available, as are baking paper and roasting foils, freezer bags with or without SafeLoc® closure, steaming bags, ice cube and sandwich bags, muffin cups, and barbecue trays.
Albal® brand items are manufactured with cutting-edge technology. From silicone-coated aluminum foil for baking to freezer bags with SafeLoc® closure to special greaseproof paper and aluminum foils with unique honeycomb structure to baking papers with non-stick surfaces, the items fulfill every demand.
Wrap Film Systems, a Cofresco company, offers a wide range of cling films in the United Kingdom under the Bacofoil® name. With the brand promise of "Strength you can trust," the brand is known for high-quality film and foil.
Classic, Non-Stick, everyday, Foilware, Seasonal, and Lined Parchment are among the range aimed at both private households and businesses.
Bacofoil thus meets a wide range of needs when it comes to keeping foods fresh and storing them - for both regular use and highly specialized applications.
5. Bom Jesus
Melitta Group offers coffee in Brazil under both the Bom Jesus® and Melitta® brands. Bom Jesus® is a well-known coffee brand in the south of Brazil and So Paulo, the world's largest coffee-producing country.
Above-average quality and inventive, fresh items are associated with the brand. Furthermore, Melitta® is classified as a premium coffee in the Brazilian market.
Cilia® represents the highest level of tea enjoyment. Since 1984, Melitta Group has marketed this brand as a source of high-quality tea filters and creative tea preparation options.
Cilia® tea filters are known for their simplicity of use and clean preparation. The filters' net has a unique construction that ensures that the tea has a rich and balanced aroma. Because Cilia® tea filters are biodegradable, they meet the strictest environmental standards.
Cilia provides the best quality and optimal functionality to tea consumers in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland, ensuring that every cup of tea is pure enjoyment from the first taste.
7. Handy Bag
Handy Bag® provides sophisticated consumer garbage disposal solutions in France, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. Several million people trust the brand daily, consistently assisting them in disposing of household waste and safely keeping items in the home and yard.
Handy Bag® aspires to give clients cutting-edge solutions and develops products that are constantly one step ahead of the competition. Thus, employing a triple-reinforced film layer, it created the first durable and 100 percent waterproof bin liner as early as 1985. Bin liners with various closure and tie systems, scented bin liners, heavy-duty sacks, biodegradable bin liners, vacuum cleaner bags, and a range of other products followed.
Toppits® offers an astonishing assortment of necessary household tools for keeping things fresh, freezing, baking and preparing. Toppits® has revolutionized the household with its numerous unique products, including aluminum foil, cling film, freezer bags, aluminum foil for baking, muffin cups, barbeque trays, sandwich paper, ice cube bags, roasting tubes, and much more.
The Toppits® success story begins with a sandwich paper. Since then, Melitta introduced the ancestor of today's products in 1937 and has continued to grow its range of household films and sheets.
Melitta invented the first cling film in 1965. Melitta combined all food preservation products under the Toppits® brand in 1988. Today, the Toppits® brand is synonymous with quality, dependability, innovation, and long-term viability.
Wrapmaster® is a brand of high-quality cling film dispensers for both business and personal use. The simple-to-fill dispensers offer a quick, hygienic, and safe way to wrap items in transparent film and aluminum foil, as well as provide baking paper and roasting foils. They are incredibly durable, easy to clean, and may be used without issue, all without fear of the film, writing, or foil being tangled during use. Wrapmaster is available from Melitta UK in various sizes and for various applications.
ffeel® is a natural rehydration drink that blends the energizing effects of cold brew coffee with the refreshing flavor of superfruits. ffeel® is an energizing lifestyle drink for any time of day, with 18 mg of caffeine per 100 ml.
The word ffeel® is derived from the phrase "coffee lemonade." There are three kinds of ffeel® available right now. Each type is distinguished by its unique ingredients. ffeel® offers a higher fruit juice content than traditional soft drinks, ranging from 43 to 55 percent, depending on the flavor. ffeel® contains no added sugar and is completely vegan due to the natural sweetness of the fruits.
ffeel® is an innovative product that piques consumer interest thanks to its high-quality content and unique packaging design.
wkup® is a coffee shot as strong as a double espresso and contains only natural caffeine. With wkup®, you're ready for anything, whether it's early in the morning or late at night. Just don't expect to sleep.
The name is the one thing that isn't entirely natural. Wkup® is an abbreviation for "wake up," as you may have guessed. And if there's one thing this small dish excels at (apart from looking and tasting delicious), it's doing what the name implies: waking you up!
But it's not just the natural caffeine that makes this beverage stand out; its convenient packaging is also noteworthy. With only 90 mL, wkup® is the ideal travel companion for car trips.
First-class teas from organically certified sources that acquire their full flavor thanks to an adequately synchronized infusion time: in a glass of tea, Avoury® is a revolution.
The brand stands for the distinctive preparation of 40 exceptional tea kinds in single portions and airtight packaging in recyclable capsules at a German factory. The Avoury One tea machine is a patented innovation that automatically adapts to the unique needs of each type of tea.
The machine may be managed through the operation panel or your smartphone, thanks to the Avoury® App. The app will notify you when the tea is ready; cold tea is no longer an option. At any time, you can order new types using your smartphone.
B2B Brands and Products under The Melitta Group
Melitta® is a strong brand that appeals to a wide range of consumers. Melitta® is also identified with excellent product quality and exceptional coffee pleasure in the hospitality industry.
Bean-to-cup equipment under the Cafina® brand and filter coffee machines are available for commercial customers. Melitta® also sells a variety of coffee and chocolate kinds, as well as Melitta® filter papers and dinnerware. Several teas, such as those sold under the Cilia® brand, complete the product range for the hospitality sector.
The Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions business unit is the point of contact for business customers. Aside from the above items, the company also provides full-service technical customer service, advice on purchasing and using professional coffee machines, customized financing schemes, and targeted marketing support for hotels, caterers, bakeries, and other cuisines. Melitta® is a globally recognized brand in the hotel industry.
ACW-Film is a German company that designs, modifies, prints, laminates, and manufactures flexible packaging films for the consumer goods market. The unit provides films, film composites, papers, and film/paper composites for its clients' specialty packaging facilities. Its principal focus is on supplying high-quality, unique packaging films for the confectionery, cleaning supply, and fresh meat industries, which are tailored for customers' specific demands.
ACW-Film is a specialist in providing specialized or niche packaging film products. High flexibility and quick reaction times are two of its primary competitive advantages. Furthermore, ACW-cutting-edge Film's technology and above-average customer service provide significant added value. The exceptional quality of ACW goods, which are also available in small batch sizes, ensures that customers receive outstanding, efficient, and timely service.
Cafina has been synonymous with innovation and perfection in developing and manufacturing coffee machines for gastronomy, the hotel industry, and large-scale customers for over 65 years. Since 1974, the company has produced bean-to-cup machines in the Melitta Group.
Cafina® coffee machines, made in Switzerland, are among the best-selling goods in their class due to their innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and advanced electronic systems. Their user-friendliness, consistently excellent quality of the coffee they make, and long service life are all praised by business clients. Cafina® bean-to-cup machines have won numerous honors for their design, are self-cleaning, and, of course, make every cup of coffee a pleasure to drink.
Caterwrap is the preferred brand of many catering companies. The Caterwrap assortment of transparent film, baking paper, and aluminum foil meets all of the demands of industrial kitchens. Their quality is excellent, and they are simple to operate.
The Caterwrap products are available in various product forms by the Cofresco subsidiary Wrap Film Systems, either as a roll or individual sheets, antimicrobial or already perforated, wide or narrow, with the specific goal of responding to the peculiar demands of commercial operations.
Melitta has been delivering a high-quality range of teas for the gastronomy sector under the Cilia® brand since 1979: hotels, restaurants, cafés, and large-scale consumers can choose from a vast selection of choice teas. Cilia® is synonymous with exceptional tea enjoyment.
The outstanding quality of our tea is ensured by careful handling of valuable raw materials and robust, multi-level quality assurance procedures throughout the entire production and packaging process.
Every detail contributing to the optimal taste experience is constantly evaluated with extensive lab testing and regular taste tests with experienced tea testers, whether intricacies in the blend, the aroma, or the color.
5. Neu Kaliß
Since 1799, the town of Neu Kaliß has been producing paper. A contemporary company called Neu Kaliss Spezialpapier presently exists where there was formerly a paper mill. The company now focuses on the production of specialty papers and nonwoven materials for industrial applications and paper processors and marketers.
Nonwoven wallpaper, conductive nonwoven fabrics, and solar nonwovens are just a few of the nonwoven materials available. Neu Kaliss / Neukölln Spezialpapier manufactures and processes, among other things, coffee filters, beer glass and cup drop catchers, crêpe paper for dental uses, and commercial bakeries udder paper, and humidifier paper.
Neu Kaliss / Neukölln Spezialpapier is one of the world's top five suppliers of nonwoven wallpaper. The division caters to both the general market and the high-end market.
Neu Kaliss / Neukölln Spezialpapier produces and processes items to customize, in some cases complete, customer specifications using cutting-edge technology and adhering to high-quality standards.
6. Wolf PVG
Wolf PVG has established itself in vacuum cleaner attachments and filtration systems. For more than 40 years, this highly specialized systems provider has provided industrial customers with high-quality, innovative, and efficient product solutions. Vacuum cleaner bags, filters, nozzles, and air filters, for example, come in a wide range of characteristics.
Wolf PVG has unrivaled manufacturing and development capabilities. It can handle enormous batch quantities and a wide range of items. Wolf PVG achieves high quality, speed, and efficiency by combining construction, process engineering, tool, machine building, and manufacturing into a single unit – and as a brand, sets the benchmark on the market.
7. Wrap Master
Wrapmaster® is a brand of high-quality cling film dispensers for both business and personal use. The simple-to-fill dispensers offer a quick, hygienic, and safe way to wrap items in transparent film and aluminum foil, as well as provide baking paper and roasting foils. They are highly durable, easy to clean, and may be used without issue, all without fear of the film, paper, or foil being tangled during use. Wrapmaster is available from Melitta UK in various sizes and for various applications.
8. Coffee at Work
The trademark of the coffee at work stands for the accessible provision of fully automatic coffee equipment in the workplace – with no obligation to buy or lease. Customers can get a full-service package for all of their coffee needs at flat pricing tailored to their needs, with no minimum contract period.
The forward-thinking firm is known for its excellent customer service and coffee quality. The trade newspaper "FACTS" rated coffee at work as the finest office coffee provider in a mystery shopping test in 2017. Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Frankfurt am Main, Mannheim, Augsburg, Stuttgart, and Munich are among the fast-growing service networks.
Water, like coffee, is an essential component of the workplace. As a result, since 2018, coffee at work has offered table water for offices under the brand name 'water at work.' Filters from the medical industry offer fully sanitary drinking water. All repair and maintenance work is free of charge, and no purchase or leasing agreement is required.
Coffee preparation was still something of a ceremony up until the 1960s, with all bean grinding and brewing done by hand. This custom was broken with the introduction of new electric coffee makers, and Melitta was among the first companies to provide these machines.
Let's look at the history of Mellitta’s coffee makers.
The 21st-century motto was 'fast and convenient,' and coffee preparation was no exception. Electric coffee machines increasingly superseded traditional hand filtering methods. Melitta was one of the first companies to provide the new machinery.
Here's a sample of Melitta's coffee maker history:
1. The MA 120
The MA 120 from 1965 is a coffee maker that has gone down in history: "8 cups of coffee within 6 minutes - at the touch of a button. Fast, aromatic, and delicious," melitta introduced the MA 120 coffee maker for DM 120 in 1965 with this slogan. The high price reflects the coffeemaker's position as a luxury item at the time.
Several successors to the renowned MA 120 were introduced to the market in the following years. They were equipped with the most up-to-date technological advancements and came in various sizes and forms.
2. Aromaboy-The World's Tiniest Espresso Machine
Melitta introduced the aromaboy, the "world's smallest coffee machine," in the mid-1970s. The little 2-cup coffeemaker is still in demand as a cult design classic over a quarter-century later.
3. MA 140-Detachable Hotplate
Melitta introduced the MA 140, Germany's first and only coffeemaker with a detachable hotplate, in 1976.
4. MA 731
Melitta's proprietary pre-brew filter mechanism based on the siphon principle was incorporated in the MA 731, released in the late 1970s.
The new technology ensured that the ground coffee was thoroughly wet as with hand preparation. Another advantage was that the filter no longer dripped when the jug was removed
5. MA 8000
The MA 8000 range (80s) had a removable water tank for easier handling and a three-tiered scale for small, medium, and large cups.
6. Melitta Look Range
Melitta Look range was introduced in 1998 and featured constantly shifting design features that complemented current furniture and fashion trends. There were additional "feature models" in the lineup: coffee makers with extra features such as a particular scent switch.
7. Fully Automatic
Melitta created quite a stir in the early 1990s when it introduced its innovative Interval Brewing System, which was fully mechanical and brewed "as if by hand" (IBS).
The ingenious device collected a predetermined amount of hot water in a separate chamber before releasing it in a gush at predetermined intervals. The new technology, which was based on the principle of hand preparation, meant that the ground coffee was thoroughly soaked and whirled around, altering the coffee's extraction behavior.
8. Coffee machines that are both single-serving and completely automatic.
Melitta joined the premium single-serving coffeemaker sector with the launch of the "MyCup" in 2004 — coffee, pads, and machine in perfect harmony. The fully automatic "Caffeo" coffee maker is suitable for making international coffee specialty drinks.
When it was first introduced in 2005, the new machine boasted several unique features, including revolutionary milk frothing technology, dual-chamber coffee bean storage, and a separate chamber for ground coffee.
From coffee makers, Melitta decided to start making packed coffees. It also ventured into catering. Melitta is the largest roaster in the traditional German coffee town of Melitta today.
Melitta was already well-known in Germany and many other countries as a specialist in coffee preparation items by the start of the 1960s.
Melitta chose to expand its product line in 1962, becoming the first firm in Germany to produce ground, vacuum-packed coffee. Initially, the company roasted its coffee beans in Minden — Melitta’s administrative and industrial center.
However, with the acquisition of the Carl Ronning coffee roasting facility in Bremen in 1966, the coffee business took on a new dimension, and today it is a multibillion-dollar industry. Melitta introduced a "Premium" mix to their ground, roasted coffees (Auslese, "Milde Sorte," "Feiner Mocca," "Special decaffeinated," "Extra Mild") in 1984.
Melitta was the first company to provide a premium coffee in addition to its over-the-top blends.
Melitta Cappuccino was introduced in Germany in 2001, expanding the portfolio.
Melitta introduced its "Bella Crema" collection in 2005, which features high-quality, 100 percent arabica beans designed specifically for fully automatic coffee machines.
Melitta Coffee's complete line was updated in 1997, with new packaging and blends: "Melitta Café Auslese Mild," "Melitta Café Harmonie decaffeinated," "Melitta Café Montana," and "Melitta Café Extra."
Since 2004, multiple blends of MyCup coffee pads have been on the market, each portioned in filter paper.
Coffee in Catering
During its early days in Dresden, Melitta began making filter systems for catering facilities. Melitta was exhibiting restaurant coffee filters at the first catering expo in Meissen/Saxony in 1936. Melitta began establishing a separate catering division and manufacturing commercial filter coffee equipment in 1958.
In 1963, the business began manufacturing the first tiny coffee makers developed for the catering industry. In 1973, the first professional buffet coffee machine (KFM 300) was introduced.
In 1978, a new generation of finer coffee machines (the 400 series) was introduced for the foodservice industry. Melitta Aromatechnic formed an independent company of the catering division in 1986.
Melitta SystemService bought a majority stake in Swiss espresso machine manufacturer Cafi na AG in 1988, renaming the firm Melitta SystemService (Hunzenschwil). The new C90 completely automatic espresso machine with a groundbreaking ceramic piston was introduced in Switzerland the same year.
Melitta System Service offered the world's largest line of commercial coffee machines for the catering industry after acquiring Reneka, a French espresso machine maker, in 1989.
Melitta SystemService introduced the Melitta 3000, the world's first fully automatic commercial coffee machine with a paper filtering system, in 1990.
Melitta SystemService's commercial breakthrough in 1994 was the fully automatic Cafi na C60 espresso maker.
The fully automatic "Melitta c5" and "Melitta cup" were the first machines of their kind to be awarded the "HACCP compliant" badge in Germany. HACCP is the European catering and social services industry's mandatory hygiene standard.
Melitta System Service, the commercial coffee division, offers a complete line of equipment for large-scale preparation of filter coffee and coffee specialty and a comprehensive choice of coffee blends and accessories under the Melitta brand.
Melitta also sees sustainability as representing its business principles and a way to tap into new market opportunities. The company tries to achieve the best possible balance of economic, ecological, and social objectives and provide its customers, partners, and employees with the tools and knowledge they need to make sustainability a daily decision.
Melitta Global Sustainability
Melitta is accountable for its manufacturing firm's goods, manufacturing process, and procurement activities. As a result, it established the highest quality, manufacturing, and supplier management requirements imaginable.
Many of these procedures have been certified or are based on industry-accepted best practices. As a manufacturer of branded goods, it is understandable that the company wants its customers to identify with its products in every manner possible.
Melitta has provided a comprehensive range of products that meet stringent sustainability criteria for many years. Furthermore, some of our Melitta® filter papers are made from bamboo as the primary material.
A growing number of its branded and B2B coffees are also made with environmentally friendly materials. For many years, it has backed internationally recognized sustainability organizations and projects like the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade.
These groups are dedicated to improving working conditions and environmental standards in coffee-growing countries, assisting people in self-help, and defining a set of basic requirements for sustainable coffee production. Its single-serve coffee is part of Canada's first compostable single-serve coffee range.
Melitta's coffee mill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has gone solar and is now self-sufficient, providing 20% of its electricity with solar panels. They recently created their first "Gigawatt" electricity, a significant achievement.
It amounts to an annual estimated environmental benefit of:
- Trees Planted: 50,942
- Gallons Of Water Conserved: 367,425
- Pounds Of CO2 Removed: 1,017,76
Melitta recycles all cardboard, corrugated cardboard, plastic, and paper waste. The corporation makes a yearly donation to American Forests. Its purpose is to create healthy and resilient forests that benefit the climate, people, water, and wildlife from cities to the wild.
Melitta's goal is to keep the company's long-term development in mind at all times. It accepts responsibility for protecting humanity and the environment and strives to achieve the best possible balance of economic, ecological, and social interests. This dedication is enshrined in the company's principles.
Melitta collaborates with Brazilian educational organizations (such as the Ayrton Senna Institute) to help impoverished students. Various programs are being implemented in the coffee-growing regions where the Melitta Selection of the Year originates.
Collaboration with the Child Protection League and several kindergartens and schools in the Minden area. Melitta supports the anti-waste education campaign "Don't throw me away!"
Melitta’s motivational and business growth quotes:
1. I must live until I die, mustn't I? - Author: Joseph Conrad.
2. If you have other things in your life-family, friends, a good productive day, work-these can interact with your writing, and the sum will be all the richer. - Author: David Brin
3. Does my soul suffer? When my body breaks down. When I feel mortal, does the soul rejoice when my body is weak? The end is near - Author: A.A. Patawaran.
4. Always in search of the question that might make you ask me one in return - Author: Matthew Zapruder.
The Key Takeaways
It is incredible how much this lady was able to achieve in a time when women’s rights were still a budding dream.
The support her family and friends showed her is also worth noting. Her husband, in particular, is something of an example to budding entrepreneurs. Success is impossible without support, especially that of your partner.
Solving the world’s problems cannot be done alone; it takes a village. It is also equally important to hold your ground in the face of any difficulties if your product can solve a problem and change the world.
Now it is not clear whether this coffee maker filter made Melitta rich. However, it is undoubted that her name is forever linked to one of the most popular drinks in the world.
She came up with the idea, she invested in it, and now her legacy employs thousands of people across the globe. Not bad for a Dresden housewife, eh?