Hamburg native Max Herz, a merchant by training, and his business partner Carl Tchiling Hiryan lay the foundations for today's Tchibo Group. Their business idea of sending roasted coffee to customers by mail revolutionises the coffee market.
Tchibo was very innovative even back then: customers could choose between having their coffee packed in tins or sewn into pouches made of handkerchiefs or tea towels.
In particular, the Mocca Festtagsmischung (Festive Blend mocha) is a bestseller at 13.50 DM per lb.
The name Tchibo is derived from the words Tchiling and the German for ‘bean’ (‘Bohne’).
At first, the word ‘Tchibo’ stands for a droll little coffee manikin. Among other things, he spreads news about the roasted coffee on fliers and later in the customer magazine.
Tchibo magazine is published monthly with the latest fashion tips, entertaining stories, recipes for tight budgets, clever sewing patterns, novels and beauty tips, as well as horoscopes. The magazine, unique in its field for many years, is enthusiastically snapped up.
As well as having fresh coffee delivered by mail, the people of Hamburg can now buy it in the building next to the roasting plant on Hoheluftchaussee – directly from the factory.
"The coffee packets were practically flying off the shelves," recalls a former Tchibo employee.
The arrival of Tchibo Gold-Mocca! Gold-Mocca rapidly becomes Germany's most popular coffee blend. The special feature of Gold-Mocca is that it is a blend of nine different coffees. Until then, mocha blends were usually made from a maximum of five.
And it’s not just the coffee that keeps customers happy: a see-through container it is sold in is also very popular.
The first Tchibo shop opens its doors at 10 Caffamacherreihe, Hamburg. It lets customers sample a cup of coffee before buying a whole packet. A cup of Gold Mocha with sugar and cream costs 20 pfennig.
There are now 77 Tchibo shops in Germany, with another one opening almost every week. Max Herz travels throughout Germany with his wife, Ingeburg, looking for top locations. He renovates and refurbishes the shops and trains up new staff. By 1965, there are already well over 400 shops.
Tchibo’s Gold-Mocca brand is number one on the German coffee market.
Wensley Ivan Frederick William Pithey makes his first television appearance for Tchibo. This marks the beginning of one of the longest-running relationships between a company and its advertising figurehead in the history of advertising.
The coffee expert Mr. Pithey travels to coffee-growing countries, inspecting coffee plants, sailing with the coffee on ships and advising customers in the shops. Mr. Pithey is used until the early 1980s.
From 1962 ‘Tchibo’ no longer refers to the manikin, but to the coffee and the firm. The company is now officially called Tchibo Frisch-Röst-Kaffee Max Herz GmbH.
Tchibo opens ‘Frischedepots’ (Freshness Depots) in bakeries and confectioneries. By 1971 there are already close to 2,900 depots.
A new era for coffee connoisseurs begins with the introduction of the first mild coffee variety.
The first large-scale Tchibo roasting plant goes into operation in Hamburg.
Max Herz dies. His sons Michael and Günther continue to run the family business.
Tchibo Coffee Service is founded.
Tchibo coffee expands its traditional range and starts to sell Non Food items without coffee in its shops. Early bestsellers are table sets and breakfast boards.
Tchibo’s new Mobile bakeries supply rural areas with coffee and fresh pastries.
The second large roasting plant goes into operation in Berlin.
Tchibo introduces its espresso machine ‘picco’ to the market. More than 200,000 machines are sold in the first year.
The ‘Feine Milde’ variety is Tchibo’s top-selling roasted coffee.
The freshly-roasted coffee bean is launched as a catchy, memorable symbol of Tchibo’s high quality.
Tchibo shops are selling ever more specialty coffees - and snacks too.
The ‘Frischedepot’ system is extended to supermarket retail – Tchibo Coffee and Non Food are now available in many supermarkets.
Fine coffees have their own personalities, just like good wine. From October 1987, Tchibo’s Privat Kaffee (Private Coffee) range offers the best coffees from selected producer countries. Each variety has its own distinctive flavour.
Tchibo products are now available in the newly reunified East German states – in Tchibo shops, supermarkets and bakeries.
The expansion into Central and Eastern Europe begins:
Tchibo opens offices in Hungary (Tchibo Budapest) and Slovakia (Tchibo Slovensko).
The first site in the Czech Republic is founded, in Prague.
Tchibo Coffee Service enters the market in Britain.
Launch of Tchibo Poland and market entry into Hungary.
Founding of a Slovakian branch office in Bratislava - this site is later relocated to Prague.
Tchibo Coffee Service GmbH becomes a separate company, supplying B2B clients and the hotel and catering trade.
‘A new experience every week’ - Tchibo surprises its customers every week with new Non Food goods on various themes.
Tchibo opens a shop in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A company-owned coffee roasting plant is constructed in Marki, Poland.
Opening of a second site in Russia (Moscow).
Tchibo direct GmbH is founded.
Non Food goods and Tchibo coffee can now be ordered by catalogue.
Tchibo Holding AG acquires the Eduscho group of companies.
Tchibo enters the travel business.
In 2007, more than 225,000 customers book their travel through Tchibo.
Tchibo also uses the Internet as a new distribution channel for the first time - all products can now be ordered online.
Eduscho coffee sales begin in Slovakia.
In Poland, ‘Gala’ is introduced as a second brand.
The first Tchibo shop in Greater London is opened.
Tchibo increases its business involvement in Eastern Europe by entering the market in Romania.
Mail-order and e-commerce are introduced in Austria.
For the first time, Tchibo offers a complete set of golf clubs as well as the ‘play golf’ card, giving those interested in the sport an inexpensive way to start playing.
Tchibo launches its direct-to-customer business in the German-speaking Swiss market.
Tchibo begins offering financial services: eight different insurances are offered in collaboration with the insurance experts AXA - in shops and online.
British customers are now able to buy Tchibo products online.
Tchibo opens its first Tchibo golf course at Fleesensee Golf & Country Club. The company now offers golf lessons in cooperation with the club.
At Christmas, Tchibo becomes Germany’s largest supplier of jewellery products for the first time.
Tchibo opens a shop in Kiev, Ukraine.
The first Tchibo shops open in Switzerland: in Lucerne, Winterthur and Basel.
Tchibo is Germany’s biggest coffee shop operator.
Tchibo offers exclusive tickets at a uniquely low price to see star tenor Luciano Pavarotti, giving the wider public a chance at ‘A Night to Remember’.
Tchibo opens Europe’s biggest high-bay warehouse in Bremen.
Tchibo offers cars for sale for the first time; in cooperation with FIAT Automobil AG, the Fiat Stilo ‘TCM Edition’ goes on the market at €14,990.
From September 2003, customers can also order flowers via www.tchibo.de. They are delivered in cooperation with Blume 2000.
Tchibo mobil is founded, revolutionising the mobile phone market. The joint venture between Tchibo and O2 Germany is the first provider to offer an affordable mobile flat rate.
Cafissimo launches. It is the firstsingle-serving system in Germanycapable of preparing three different coffee specialties in just one machine.
Tchibo launches a new marketing platform: innovative services. Whether it is correspondence courses, concert tickets or crafts, Tchibo offers regular surprises for customers, delivering compelling value-for-money at exceedingly fair and transparent terms and conditions. Since 2008, these services have been offered under the ‘Tchibo Plus’ brand.
In Turkey, the first Tchibo shop opens in Istanbul Cehavir, Europe's biggest shopping mall.
Launch of the Turkish online shop.
Tchibo celebrates its 60th anniversary!
Tchibo launches into the world of social media with various channels of its own – a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a Xing company page, a Google Plus page, a YouTube channel, and a corporate blog that
will go on to win many awards in the following years.
Award-winning efforts: “Do good and talk about it” urged the German Business Ethics Network (DNWE) at the presentation of its Business Ethics Award. Tchibo is honoured for its achievements on the path towards becoming 100% sustainability in all areas of our business.
Tchibo wins the German government’s inaugural CSR Award, a prize that serves as both confirmation and obligation. We are honoured for our exemplary business activities, which are comprehensively geared towards sustainability and social responsibility.
Download and buy – German customers love having convenient smartphone access to our world of shopping using the Tchibo app or the mobile-optimised web shop. Within days, Tchibo tops the list of the country’s most popular apps. At times, the number of downloads surged so steeply that on one day the app was actually second in the Apple Store download charts.
Launch of cross-channel services: “Tchibo makes it easy!” Order, pick up, exchange – by linking its sales channels and the online and offline shopping worlds, Tchibo provides its customers with a seamless shopping and service experience. All Tchibo shops are equipped with iPads for ordering online, on-site.
Leap to world leadership: Tchibo is the third-largest retailer of organic cotton worldwide - another step on the way to Tchibo becoming a 100% sustainable business. The ranking was published by the non-profit organisation Textile Exchange in its Organic Cotton Market Report.
Tchibo FOR BLACK ‘N WHITE – Tchibo launches its first major coffee filter innovation in a decade. Thanks to a special slow-roasting process, the new FOR BLACK ‘N WHITE coffee has a distinctive full-bodied flavour– whether taken black or with milk.
Tchibo auctions: whether for a wellness holiday, music tickets, a digital radio or bicycle - customers can bid ‘their’ price. The best price wins!
A worldwide first: Qbo. Individual, connected, sustainable. The new capsule system delivers barista quality thanks to the patented PressBrew process, innovative milk technology, an app for smartphone controls, and Alexa voice commands since 2017.
Finally – a screw cap for coffee packages! Customers now have an ideal way of sealing the package to preserve the freshness of the beans – the cap protects the coffee better than conventional methods such as rubber bands, tape and the like.
By launching BLONDE ROAST, Tchibo is the first major coffee brand to bring the lightly-roasted drip-coffee trend into homes. The light roasting results in a surprisingly different-tasting drip coffee, delicately fruity and with a hint of sweetness.
“Borrowing is the new buying” – Tchibo launches its first sharing-economy model: ‘Tchibo Share’ Young parents now have the opportunity to rent onesies, pyjamas, jackets, etc. for their infants and toddlers. The idea behind the rental service is to promote sustainable consumption in collaboration with the start-up kilenda.
Tchibo is a winning proposition for everyone: to mark its 70th anniversary, the Hamburg-based family-owned company has gifts for its customers. In ‘Tchibongo’, the biggest prize draw in the company's history, there are prizes worth over one million euros to be won!