Douwe Egberts

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D.E Master Blenders 1753 NV[1]
Industry Beverage
Founded 1753
Founder Egbert Douwes
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Products Coffee and Tea/ Tobacco/ Coffee brewing machines.
Parent Joh. A. Benckiser

Douwe Egberts is the main brand name for D.E Master Blenders 1753, a multinational tea and coffee company operating out of the Netherlands.[2] It was founded in Joure in the Netherlands by Egbert Douwes in 1753 as The White Ox (De Witte Os) a general grocery shop, which later developed into a company dealing in coffee, tea, and tobacco. By 1925 it had changed its name to Douwe Egberts (as in Douwe, the son of Egbert), and had introduced the red seal as its logo.[3] The company expanded through Europe, acquiring other tea, coffee and tobacco companies, such as the UK tea distributor Hornimans, until it was taken over by the Sara Lee Corporation in 1978. The tobacco interests, Van Nelle and Drum rolling tobacco, were sold to Imperial Tobacco in 1998,[4] then in 2001 the company in collaboration with Philips produced the Senseo coffee maker system. With profits from the coffee division under threat from rivals such as Nestlé and Kraft, and being unable to find a buyer, in 2012 Sara Lee split off the coffee division into D.E Master Blenders 1753, offering share-holders one share in the new company for each main share they held.[5][6] The main Sara Lee company changed name to Hillshire Brands.[7] In 2013 German investor group Joh. A. Benckiser made an offer to purchase D.E Master Blenders 1753 for $9.8 billion.[8]

Tradition in the Netherlands[edit]

Loyalty points of coffee brand Douwe Egberts

The coffee brand Douwe Egberts, especially the cheaper red label, is the traditional coffee drink found in homes for many years. On the back of the packs of coffee and tea, collectible seals were printed. Traditionally housewives cut these seals to change them for cups, coffeemakers, tea tins etc. This system began around 1925.[9]


The original Douwe Egberts shop, The White Ox in Joure, is now a museum
  • 1753 - Egbert Douwes starts a grocery shop in Joure, called De Witte Os ("the White Ox").
  • 1780 - The company is transferred to his eldest son Douwe Egberts. Its main activities are processing and trading coffee, tea, and tobacco.
  • 1948 - DE starts sales in Belgium. France, Spain, and Denmark follow.
  • 1968 - A holding company, Douwe Egberts Koninklijke ("Royal Douwe Egberts"), is founded.
  • 1969 - DE takes over Kanis & Gunnink, another Dutch coffee manufacturer.
  • 1978 - DE is in its turn taken over by Consolidated Foods Corporation.
  • 1985 - Consolidated Foods becomes Sara Lee Corporation as a result of acquisitions that year.
  • 1989 - DE takes over Van Nelle, its main Dutch competitor in coffee, tea, and tobacco.
  • 1998 - The hand-rolling tobacco business (Drum, Van Nelle, Amphora and Winner) is sold to Imperial Tobacco.
  • 2001 - The company collaborates with Philips to produce a coffee maker called Senseo.
  • 2002 - The company establishes the Douwe Egberts Foundation, an independent entity that initiates and manages coffee and tea projects in countries of origin
  • 2007 - Sued the province of Groningen over the introduction of rules stating that all coffee supplied in the province must meet Fair trade criteria set by Stichting Max Havelaar. Courts ruled in favour of the province of Groningen.

In 2012 Douwe Egberts became an independent Dutch company again, trading under the name D.E Master Blenders 1753 NV.[1] In 2013 a German investor group Joh. A. Benckiser announces it will buy Netherlands-headquartered D.E. Master Blenders 1753 NV for $9.8bn. The company appointed a new management and delisted the company from the Euronext stock market. D.E. Master Blenders 1753 later bought Norway's Kaffehuset Friele coffee manufacturer. The new company announces that coffee production in Bergen, Norway, 'will continue as before'.[10]

In May 2014 the company announced plans for a merger with the American food conglomerate Mondelez International.[11] Mondelez markets in the Netherlands coffee brands under the name Jacobs and Carte Noir. The new company will use Jacobs Douwe Egberts as a trade name and will have its seat in the Netherlands. On 5 May 2015 the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announced to agree with the merger under several conditions.[12] Mondelez is willing to sell its Carte Noire activities. DE Master Blenders will sell its Merrild activities in Europe. The merged company will also makes it possible for Austria to make coffee pads on the DE brand Senseo through a license.


Brands owned by D.E. Master Blenders 1753 include Douwe Egberts ground and instant coffee; also Douwe Egberts Coffee Systems and Coffee Care, a drinks supply.

  • Piazza d'Oro (espresso)
  • Cafitesse (coffee concentrates and systems)
  • Moccona (instant coffee)
  • Cafe Switch, a frothy coffee drink that is frothed using thumb pods
  • Cafe Pilao (coffee brand in Brazil)
  • Harris (Coffee and filter papers in Australia)
  • Maison du Café (Coffee, in France)
  • Caffiato, an iced cappuccino with caramel flavour
  • Marcilla (Spain)[13]
  • Friele (Norway)
  • Tea Forte


  1. ^ a b Dutch Coffee Brewer Coming Home May Give Jolt to Exchange, Maud van Gaal and Maaike Noordhuis (for Bloomberg), San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2012
  2. ^ "Company Overview". 
  3. ^ "Heritage". 
  4. ^ "Sara Lee to Sell Tobacco Unit for $1.1 Billion". 8 April 1998. 
  5. ^ Emily Bryson York (28 January 2011). "Sara Lee to split into two businesses". 
  6. ^ Reuters (12 June 2012). "Sara Lee coffee spinoff D.E Master Blenders starts trading". 
  7. ^ "Investor FAQs". 
  8. ^ Mark Scott (12 April 2013). "Benckiser to Buy D.E Master Blenders for $9.8 Billion". 
  9. ^ "Collecting points of brand DE". Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Company News, DEMB1753, Amsterdam.Accessed: 18 January 2014.
  11. ^ "DE and Mondelez merge". (in Dutch). 7 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Brussels agrees with merger". (in Dutch). 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  13. ^ August 2012 "Acerca de Marcilla (Spanish)" Check |url= value (help). 

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