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Dutch company sets high standards for international hotel service.

At the famed 'The Grand Hotel' Amsterdam you will find your cup of coffee to be a unique house blend and roast, based on a 60% content of the finest Kenya AA. It is a premium coffee under contract to a prestige establishment and, while used exclusively throughout the hotel's coffee service program, it is also for sale in the hotel's shop as a packaged coffee under the Roux label (in honor of the Grand owners, the Roux brothers). This product is

As well, the coffee you drink at the bar in the Utrecht train station at several fine coffee shops in Amsterdam, in leading Dutch department stores, are also unique blends of character--although perhaps not quite so rare as that blended for The Grand Hotel--and they too come from the Smit & Gorlas coffee roasting plant in Amersfoort.

For that matter Smit & Dorlas coffees can now be imbibed in leading hotels in Belgium, the U.K., France, Curacao, Aruba, Taiwan and Iceland. Building on its success at home, the company has expanded internationally as a specialist in the direct supply of specialty coffees to the top range of the hotel/restaurant/bar sector.

How could a small Dutch roasting company create and sustain a demanding and international clientele on the basis of quality and service? The source would seem to be in the charismatic personality of Willem Hulsenbeck, who formed Smit & Dorlas and infuses it on a day-to-day basis with his own zealous enthusiasm for good, fresh coffee. 'Good, fresh coffee' is more than a slogan for Smit & Dorlas, it is the basic tenet of production and along with a commitment to individualized service on a client by client basis explains the company's commercial success

By definition, Smit & Dorlas must be a buyer of fine green coffees. For its horeca(foodservice) blends, for example, only a select range of the coffees of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and Kenya are used. These coffees are prepared by the company's master roaster, of 30 years experience and an artisan's approach Also, by principle, while the company produces by means of advanced, on-line controlled technologies in coffee processing, roasting and packaging, there is no vacuum packaging.

For Hulsenbeck, the vacuum package would defeat his purpose in offering clients their daily requirements in fleshly roasted, premium quality coffees. Sans vacuum packaging, the company avoids holding the coffee back for a 24-hour degassing phase. Instead, new Hesse packing lines seal the production immediately in gasproof polyester-alu-polythene packages that are dated and then shipped. There is virtually no finished-product warehousing.

Such a program can only work well via close cooperation with clients--another unique attribute of Smit & Dorlas is the careful monitoring it pursues of it clients' coffee requisites and usages. The company makes a virtue of being small by stressing flexibility and individualizing coffee service even across great distances.

In addition to offering customized blends and roasts to-order, the company provides a spectrum of grind formats to suite different types of bar service machines. It will also pack in sizes to-order. Nevertheless, there are indeed established Smit & Dorlas coffee 'brands' for catering, horeca and institutional markets: these include Dorlas Espresso, Dorlas Excellent, Arabica Espresso and Smit & Dorlas Hotel.

The company has become particularly well known for its espresso-style coffees, and it is in fact in the professional espresso bar sector that the company is achieving its strongest growth. This expertise in international bar service is extended to coffee making machinery and catering accessories--the company offers coffee making units by different leading manufacturers both in its national and foreign markets. In particular, at home, its subsidiary company 'Espresso Holland' is an important distributor of La Cimbali espresso machines.

Hulsenbeck formed the company by merging his own Dorlas coffee company with the Smit company of Zwanenburg in the late 1980's. Together, the annual production volume now exceeds 1,200 tons of roasted coffee. For nearly two years now the company has operated a subsidiary on the Caribbean island of Aruba, targeted largely for hotel and care service.

Some of the company's important business includes: Het Station blend, which it prepares exclusively for the national railway and that is served in the coffee shops, snack bars and restaurants of about 80 train stations in the Netherlands; the coffees for such leading Dutch department stores as Hema, V&D and De Bgenkorf, and extending now to approximately 170 stores (again, these coffees, like the Het Station and Roux blends are unique by contract and are not duplicated); and the coffee service for several Holiday Inns, Novotels and Best Western establishments in the Netherlands and abroad. In the UK for example, Smit & Dorlas supplies directly to nine hotels, in the Best Western and Holiday Inn groups.

Tea is also important to the company. Smit & Dorlas has its own line of tea bags in the 4 gram-size for pots and 1.75 gm-size for cups, in classic and flavored teas. The company also distributes Twinnings teas.

Assisting Hulsenbeck are sales coordinator Annemieke Hartman and roasting master Henk van Barreveld. Smit & Dorlas, all services, accounts for 45 employees.

Certainly the concept of 'team spirit' with an international flavor is appropriate enough at Smit & Dorlas because the company also happens to sponsor, with pride and ardor, one of the country's newer enthusiasms, a baseball team.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Smit and Dorlas coffee roasting firm
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Words:880
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