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Eduscho - expanding and renovating with the times.

It was raining that autumn evening when my taxi pulled into the dark factory situated on the outskirts of Vienna. It was my last night in Vienna (my visit consisted of a total of 40 hours), and almost any glimpse I got of the city came from the numerous taxi cab rides which shuttled me between appointments. Luckily, Dr. Heinz Vesputek of the Kaffee Verband helped and was able to arrange an appointment with one of the largest roasters in Europe and Austria-- Eduscho. Eduscho was told of my impending visit just that morning, but I thought everyone had already left as no cars were parked outside this large facility.

Passing the guard less entry point, I entered the building and was able to find someone who directed me to the proper area. Eduscho was in the midst of a major expansion, and finally I came upon a door with lights shining from inside.

Upon introducing myself, I was greeted by the secretarial staff who had waited for me, long after the factory staff had left for the day. They made me comfortable in Mr. Braun's office where a plate of fancy Austrian cookies and a pot of coffee awaited me.

Shortly afterwards, Braun came rushing in, apologizing for my wait, even though I had been the unexpected visitor, and told me this was the perfect time to see the roasting facility.

Eduscho is one of the major roasters in Europe, with coffee shops throughout Europe. Eduscho operates an entire system of shops in Austria while Tchibo (a Germanbased roaster with similar shops, see April issue Tea & Coffee Trade Journal) has no shops in this city. Eduscho holds a leading market share in the domestic market. Jacobs follows, and Aldi holds a #3 spot. High in institutional sales are Meinl and Jacobs.

Eduscho has three divisions in Austria: They supply 12,000 tons of roasted coffee to shops, one division deals with discounters, and another division exports to former Eastern Bloc country, Poland. The company started in Hungary in 1990 as taxes in the former Eastern Bloc countries are very high - an extra 60% in some cases. Possibilities to export to Poland exist without any problems. In Czechoslovakia, Tchibo is building a strong base. It's impossible to export coffee to the Eastern European countries in order to get a good price. The black market is strong now, but it should be gone within a year. The Polish economy is at itS lowest level. The Czechs are better off, and Hungary is the most westernized of all countries. As for the former USSR--there is nothing, there is no money yet, and exports are very difficult at the moment. Countries will eventually realize they should roast their own and be more competitive. Hungarian currency is hard at the moment. The black market also includes chocolate.

Eduscho offers whole bean coffee. Coffee is in the shops for a maximum of two weeks, and fresh coffee deliveries are made twice a week. Expiration dates are printed on the coffee packages as recommended by the government. Eduscho specifies its labeling to include the day roast. There really is no old coffee because the delivery men survey the stocks each time, says Hellmut Braun, head of coffee department and coffee production. Eduscho has 132 of its own shops and 2,000 shops within another company's shop. Eduscho's roots began in Germany in 1924; Eduscho has only been in Austria since 1969. The plant is being upgraded and currently produces 26,000 tons of raw coffee. The equipment is changing and being modernized all the time. Eduscho also packs soluble coffee here.

Blends include: Gala which is the company's most popular; Wiener Gold, also well known; Vitana which is their decaf selection; and Demel which is served in coffeehouses. Eduscho has the license for coffee. It is one of the best coffees, and is usually made in small quantities for special customers. It is of the highest quality level, says Braun. Gala Reizarm is processed specifically for acid eradication and is a blend of Robustas for espresso machines. Coffee blends include: Santos Brazil, Salvadors, Special Colombians, and many Robustas, especially for re-export. Robustas account for 5% of coffee production. Robustas are needed for espresso production, says Braun. Without Robustas, espresso would be too acidic. Robusta is not a bad coffee. It is a special coffee with special characteristics.

Green coffee is purchased by Eduscho in Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and shipped to Austria in bulk container loads.

Approximately 5 million kilos of Austria's current R&G coffee production are being re-exported, but that number is high only because of the black market demand for coffee and is not expected to hold much longer.

Tea is a minor player in the Eduscho network but, nevertheless, the company packs 10 M teabags a year of Black, herb and fruit teas.

Touring the Plant

Eduscho employs approximately 1,200 people. The factory itself employs 100 people. Eighteen LMA tea packing machines are busily in operation Five Hessers pack whole bean coffee in either 500-g or 250-g packs. Eduscho also uses its facilities for private label packing. The company is currently building a new warehouse. The roasting volume is increasing, but consumption is stagnant. It is the re-export market that keeps all roasters roasting higher volumes than normal. Ten Sortex machines sort the roasted beans electronically. Roasting equipment includes Probat. There is one 4,000 capacity Probat as well as one 3,500 Probat and one small Probat. Ten silos hold 100 metric tons of R&G. The company only holds roasted coffee stock for one day. The silo and transport system is all Neuhaus Neotec, with silos holding 1 M 200 tons of green coffee storage for two weeks.

The 500-g R&G vacuum packs are manufactured on the ICA machines, and the 250-g vac packs are packed on both ICA and Hesser. The box is like a can with a tab top and plastic cap on top. Roasting hours are 24 hours per day, and packing occupies 18 hours.

I just have to mention the leadership of Hellmut Braun and how he runs his company. I met him after hours, when practically the entire staff was gone and.a skeleton crew remained behind. He was informed by his secretary that a Tea & Coffee Trade Journal editor was available to visit the Eduscho facility in the afternoon on that same day. After a business conference, he rushed into his office to greet me. In a cordial, thoughtful manner, he showed me around the plant. When he heard this was my,first visit to Vienna and I would be leaving the next afternoon, he gave me a driving tour of Vienna. I would not have seen this beautiful city if it wasn't for Hellmut Braun, and I thank him and his company for their wonderful hospitality.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Article Details
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Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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