Monday, June 24, 2013

Douwe Egberts Coffee

Douwe Egberts was born in Heereveen in the Province of Friesland. He did not leave his mark as a great statesman, a navigator nor an artist, but he became famous for his coffee. 

The coffee tradition began in 1753 when store owner Douwe Egberts and his wife Akke Thysses open their little shop "De Witte Os" the white ox, in Joure Friesland. They sold coffee, tea and tobacco, originally only to the locals in the village

When the son, also named Douwe Egberts, entered the family business in 1780, he expanded sales and his family's reputation for great coffee beyond the village and into the region and later the whole country. The Douwe Egberts family and their descendants became the leader in the Dutch market for their teas and coffees. 

Since 1978 Douwe Egbert has been allied with the Sara Lee Corporation, and with it, stepped into the international market. Douwe Egbert now ranks among the three largest coffee roasters in the world.

Douwe Egbert coffee has also left is mark in every Dutch household with the introduction of "coffee points". Printed on each pack of coffee was a set number of points, and by collecting them, you could get free tea towels or coffee cups. The theme on the coffee cups varied through time. One of these themes was the colourful prints of Hindeloopen.  

Local Hindeloopen artist Harmen Glashouwer and his daughter Christien, designed the cup and saucers for Douwe Egberts's coffee point system. Harmen made an agreement with the coffee company that he is the sole person to sell these cups privately without Douwe Egbert points. 

We met Harmen in the fabric shop, which he had inherited from his mother. It sits next to his studio. Purchasing the cups and saucers was a much easier task than trying to pick some fabrics from an overwhelming and seemingly endless choice of colours and designs.

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