A visit to Heimbs


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Heimbs is one of six strong brands that operate under the umbrella of Dallmayr HORECA Service. The coffee manufactory, which is based in Brunswick, is one of the longest-established roasting houses in the German food-service sector. Storage, roasting, quality control, production and distribution: at Heimbs, everything takes place under one roof.

Join us for a look behind the scenes at this traditional roaster, whose speciality lies in the food-service sector.

The heart of the Heimbs coffee manufactory

We are visiting Brunswick, the City of the Lion, and look forward to a day exploring the world of Heimbs coffee. It promises to be about much more than just caffeine. We feel it as soon as we arrive: here, coffee is lived and loved, and the air is filled with the fragrance of freshly roasted coffee beans.

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Secrets of the vaulted cellar

We head to the roastery – the very heart of the coffee manufactory – and stop by the administrative department along the way. Here, modern office equipment stands before antique mahogany-panelled walls dating back to when the company was founded, exuding a unique charm. However, the historic vaulted cellar is almost magical.

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The green coffee for Heimbs comes from all over the world. Most of it still packed in 60 kg bags, before making its impressive journey to Germany by sea. After arriving at the port of Hamburg, the journey continues by barge to Brunswick via the River Elbe and the Elbe Lateral Canal. Only the final three kilometres are covered by lorry. The vaulted cellar, nine metres beneath the ground, has a constant temperature of 16 to 20°C and 60% humidity. This offers the ideal conditions for storing the coffee until roasting. Around 7,500 sacks from 18 different origins are stored in the nooks and crannies of the cellar rooms. The atmosphere is as timeless as it is mysterious.

Did you know?

The coffee manufactory’s colourful history dates back to 1880, when Ferdinand Eichhorn opened a store in Brunswick. He had a stock of just 60 bags of coffee and recorded 68 marks in takings on the first day of business. That year, the annual books showed a profit of 300 marks. To this day, the lion in the Heimbs logo symbolises strength in the art of coffee-making and passion for the bean.

Technology meets tradition at Heimbs

The beauty of the Heimbs manufactory is that coffee experts remain close to the product with all their senses. Whether in the green coffee cellar, in the coffee-tasting room or at the roasting machine – they can see, feel and smell what they are producing from the bean. Experienced master roasters stand directly at the roasting machine and use a trier, or sampling tool, to monitor the beans inside. After all, when it comes to the perfect roasting time, even a few seconds can make all the difference. Each coffee is roasted differently according to its origin. Heimbs processes only around 24 kilograms per batch. Once the beans are dispensed into one of the four Aerotherm roasters, hot roasting air is blown in from below. At temperatures of 230–270°C, the beans circulate inside as if floating on a cushion of air. This ensures they are roasted gently and evenly from the outside in. Next, the coffee is sent through a sorting machine, where it is optically examined for broken beans and foreign objects. The freshly roasted beans are then left to rest for around 12 hours overnight in roasted coffee silos, before being processed further the next day. It’s loud, the machines are working flat out, and the delightful fragrance of fresh coffee lingers in the air.

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The path from the production line to the shelf

The coffee is automatically transferred to the packaging machine via a 14-head combination scale. Up to 10 tonnes of roasted coffee pass through here each day – as ground coffee or whole beans and in quantities of 55 to 1,000 grams. In addition to Heimbs products, we come across coffees from the Dallmayr Röstkunst range – and also tea. Tea has a long tradition in Brunswick too, and the first tea-packaging line went into operation 20 years ago. Today, there are an impressive six tea lines and a manual packaging station for a wide variety of bag formats. And since last year, the Dallmayr Group’s entire tea production has been packaged at Heimbs.

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With the fresh and flowery fragrance of tea in our noses, we follow the conveyor belt down to the ground floor. Here, we find ourselves at the centre of a modern high-bay warehouse, surrounded by pallet racks that reach right up to the ceiling. Coffee and tea products are stored here in abundance, as are huge rolls of packaging material, cardboard packaging and a full range of accessories. A state-of-the-art inventory management system ensures that the products are stored and organised efficiently.

Our tour comes to an end

With a bag of freshly roasted coffee in hand and a selection of tea and drinking chocolate, we make our way home. Who would have thought that a cup of coffee could tell so many stories? After a day in Brunswick watching passionate coffee and tea experts and seeing the long history that’s still alive within the roastery walls, one thing is clear: the coffee at Heimbs not only contains caffeine, but a pinch of magic in every cup, too.

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If you want to delve even deeper into the world of the Heimbs coffee manufactory, why not book an appointment for a roastery tour? It’s the perfect gift for coffee lovers!