Celebrating a Century of Excellence: Mahlkönig’s First 100 Years

The Mahlkönig Modell 4 DSR, circa 1930

Featured photo: The Mahlkönig Modell 4 DSR, circa 1930
All photos courtesy of Mahlkönig
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In the vibrant city of Hamburg, Germany, in 1924, amidst the bustling energy of industrial progress, a legacy began. The port city, still among the busiest harbors for green coffee in the world—you can tell from the intoxicating scent of freshly brewed coffee in the air—was the birthplace of Stawert Mühlenbau GmbH & Co. KG, the foundation of what would become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of coffee grinders: Mahlkönig.

From its inception, Mahlkönig was driven by a singular mission to elevate the coffee experience through unwavering quality and innovation. This commitment to excellence was evident from the outset, and Mahlkönig was officially registered as a trademark in Hamburg on December 13, 1924.

Hamburg’s Lively Coffee Trade

Rows of grinders on the Mahlkönig assembly line.
The assembly line, circa 1970.

The lively city of Hamburg, nestled along the Elbe River in Northern Germany, held a pivotal role in global trade and commerce. Buzzing with activity, its port was integral to Hamburg’s economic prosperity, shaping its history, culture, and identity, and it continues to be one of Europe’s largest and busiest harbors.

Chief among the commodities delivered to Hamburg was—and still is—coffee, and as such it played a central role in the city’s dynamic trade scene. Hamburg’s long-standing tradition as a major European hub for the coffee trade saw beans from around the world arriving at its port, where they were processed, roasted, and distributed to markets across the continent, solidifying Hamburg’s reputation as a coffee capital.

Mahlkönig’s Commitment to Excellence

The Mahlkönig stand at a coffee show in the 1960s.
Mahlkönig at an early Expo, circa the 1960s.

With a steadfast dedication to precision engineering and an unwavering focus on quality, Mahlkönig swiftly earned a reputation as a trusted name in the industry. Every Mahlkönig grinder underwent meticulous testing, ensuring only the finest products left the factory, thus reinforcing the brand’s commitment to excellence.

Throughout the decades, Mahlkönig remained at the forefront of coffee-grinding technology, continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation. From its earliest days, Mahlkönig’s journey was marked by iconic milestones, such as the introduction of the EK43 in 1990, which is now the most widely purchased professional coffee grinder in the world.

While Mahlkönig initially explored a diverse range of products, it shifted its focus exclusively to perfecting coffee grinders in 1960. Since then, the company has introduced groundbreaking innovations, including the aforementioned game-changing EK43.

Pushing Quality in Barista Championships & Community

Designer Ingo Fabian sketches designs for a new grinder.
Mr. Ingo Fabian sketches preliminary designs for the Guatemala grinder, March 1991.

In addition to its revolutionary products, Mahlkönig’s impact transcends the realm of coffee grinding. The company has played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community within the coffee industry, sponsoring events like the World Barista Championship and collaborating with renowned baristas.

It was a barista, after all—Australia’s Matt Perger—who championed the EK43 by using it on stage in the 2013 World Barista Championship. Since then, baristas around the world have been clamoring for their own EK43, and the formidable, sophisticated grinder now sits on the counters of most every high-quality coffee shop in the world.

A Time, and a Legacy, to Celebrate

An original Type EK23 grinder in black and white.
The Type EK23 dates back to around 1960-1970.

As Mahlkönig celebrates its 100th anniversary, it pays tribute to all who have contributed to its success—from dedicated employees to loyal customers and partners. Looking ahead, Mahlkönig remains committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and excellence for the next century.

With recent releases like the E80W Grind-by-Sync and the EK Omnia, Mahlkönig’s legacy continues to evolve, inspiring coffee lovers worldwide to pursue perfection in every cup.

In reflecting on a century of craftsmanship, Mahlkönig looks forward to the next 100 years, which are sure to be filled with a continuation of the innovation, passion, and relentless pursuit of perfection for which this global grinding pioneer is known.

To be continued for another marvelous 100 years …

Cover image of the April + May 2024 19th Anniversary Issue

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About Sarah 933 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.