Drago Mocambo Coffee: When Family, Tradition and Coffee Meet in the Same Place.

Drago Mocambo Coffee: When Family, Tradition and Coffee Meet in the Same Place.

An enjoyable journey to the roots of a roastery

When family, tradition and coffee meet in the same place, something great happens. Proof of this is the coffee roastery “Drago Mocambo” – a small Italian family roastery in the middle of Germany, whose history can be described as the “Silicon Valley History of Coffee”. We had the privilege of visiting this company and taking a look behind the scenes and history. Now we are very happy to share with you the beautiful and heartwarming story of the “Drago Mocambo” coffee roastery.

Origins and Globalization of Italian Coffee

Everyone drinks and loves it, but nobody knows exactly what journey they have already taken. Because it crosses half the world, many people are involved in its production. The supply chain of goods is no longer as transparent to the end user as it was hundreds of years ago. At that time, Mr. John knew very well that his potatoes had been grown by Mr. Jack on the neighboring farm. And the flour, from which Ms. John baked the delicious bread, was grown and processed by the neighbor Ms. Smith. The advancing globalization separated Mr. John from Mr. Jack. But where does it come from, the deliciously fragrant and nicely hot coffee that ends up in our cup? Who is the coffee farmer who grew exactly these beans? Where and how were the coffee beans roasted?

At least for the coffee from the “Drago Mocambo” roastery, we can answer that today. The coffee roastery is located in the small town of Radevormwald, in the middle of Germany, and places great value on tradition and quality. Founded more than 30 years ago and still family-owned today, the Italian coffee roasting company “Drago Mocambo” is a real role model in the coffee world. Family, appreciation and respect are among the core values ​​of this roastery. This was already exemplified by Guiseppe Drago, the founder, who has unfortunately passed away in the meantime. Today his children Giorgio and Concetta carry these values ​​on. 

We absolutely wanted to find out up close what a day at the Mocambo roastery feels like and what it means to be part of the Mocambo family. Without further ado, we went on the journey to little Italy, in the middle of Germany. Already on the way to the coffee roastery, the thought arose that the location could not be a coincidence: From the busy autobahn, we plunged into an area of ​​picturesque forests and green hills, where the cows graze and meander along the winding streets seemed to lead straight into the heart of Italy. When we arrived there, we were given such a warm welcome that we actually felt as if we had just arrived at a big family reunion. No wonder we really wanted to know.

Between Italy and Germany – on the way to a good espresso

When we feel like an espresso, we get it pretty quickly and easily. On the other hand, Guiseppe Drago, founder of the family roasting company “Drago Mocambo”, had it less easy: It was by no means in Germany in the 70s and 80s so easy to find the “right” espresso. But as a true Italian, Guiseppe has had a special connection with coffee since childhood. The same passion burns in almost everyone who works for the roastery. Managing director Maurizio Caccamo raves about a childhood memory: “The bread from the previous day with hot milk and a small sip of espresso was always a highlight for us!” And above all, it was a real Italian specialty! 

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Unfortunately, the Italian couldn’t get his beloved espresso in this country, but he didn’t want to be satisfied with it. Instead of accepting the ingredients from the supermarket or leaving his love for coffee behind, Guiseppe took the situation into his own hands. He made his way back to his homeland, the “coffee kingdom” of Italy, to learn the art of roasting from scratch. He received thorough training from a professional roaster friend in Italy, studied all the peculiarities and pitfalls of the craft and returned to Germany inspired and eager to experiment.

In 1985, Guiseppe began to roast the first Mocambo coffee in his garage with the small roasting machine. With each roast, the circle of tasters grew, and more and more people in family and friends were enchanted by his espresso. Due to the great popularity and the popularity of his roasts, he finally equipped his coffee bars with his own beans a little later. In this way, the first loyal customers were won – not through large-scale advertising measures or offensive positioning, but as a logical consequence of the passion he put into his coffee. 

Values ​​that still apply today

The foundation stone for the principles of his company that are still valid today was laid back then: “The highest, uncompromising quality and coffee roasting using the traditional drum roasting process”. He couldn’t hide his passionately roasted beans for long and his reputation preceded him. Since coffee was not as booming in the 80s as it is today, coffee was more of a habit than luxury and the shelves in the supermarket were almost exclusively filled with filter coffee, wholesalers from his home country Italy were among the first buyers for “Drago Mocambo Caffè”. The first varieties that came onto the market at that time are still an integral part of the small, but all the finer range: “Brasilia” & “Gran Bar”.

Drago Mocambos walk back in time

Shortly after Guiseppe Drago had started his art of coffee roasting in his own garage and devoted himself completely to the coffee business, he realized that the company needed more space. He moved from the garage to the office space that can still be found today at Röntgenstrasse 26 in Radevormwald. The premises were still quite small overall, but housed everything necessary for further professionalization in a small space: a small roasting machine, a packaging machine, a warehouse and of course a small office space.

Over time, however, the area repeatedly reached its limits. However, the company always stayed at the location chosen at the time in the heart of Germany. The roastery is now about three times as big as it was at the beginning, and each step of the roasting process is separate

The bell of the first entrance can still be seen on the wall. Sales manager Ralf Rüdiger rang the doorbell here for the first time 24 years ago.

Premises and elegant offices invite you to visit. But the nicest thing that struck us in this context on the tour: With every progress, every expansion and modernization, one thing has never been forgotten: the origins of the roasting plant. 

It is amazing how much the past and the modern are connected to one another at Drago Mocambo to this day. You can feel the pride in the history of all employees of the coffee roasting company, of which they have obviously become a part and of which they keep all memories. Therefore, the old is retained during the renovation and is combined with modern parts. The memories are deliberately kept in the building and honor history and tradition.

If you walk through the halls of the roastery, you immediately notice the many little things that all employees of the company appreciate very much and that are testimony to the special history and philosophy of the Drago Mocambo coffee roastery. For example, we notice the bell in front of a door in the middle of the building. It is still reminiscent of the old entrance, which was not torn down, but integrated into the complex new building. 

In the same room, the old packaging machine takes pride of place and is reminiscent of the time before automation, when coffee still had to be packed by hand. The employees, who at the time packed a proud 500,000 (!) bags of coffee per year, are particularly proud of this souvenir.

This work requires a lot of skill and is very time-consuming, as we have experienced firsthand. We take our hats off to the packaging heroes of “Drago Mocambo”.

More “family” roasting is not possible

By the way, did we mention that 23 out of 30 employees at the coffee roastery are family members? But also employees who are not in the family tree, are treated as family members. In order to empathize with the special atmosphere of the Mocambo family, nothing can be compared with the personal impression we get when we visit them. You talk to each other, you have a smile on your face for everyone and, amidst all the stresses of day-to-day business, take short moments to chat, a nice anecdote. “How is your new car? How was it in the restaurant we were talking about the other day? How are your children?” It is these many little things that immediately make you feel how you meet here: warm, friendly, personal. Every employee here is a person with a history. These are not phrases, but concrete experiences that show how important the individual is to Mocambo and how much they are valued. “Coffee is respect”, said company founder Guiseppe Drago once. He left this value to his roastery even after his death … Mocambo is respect.

Passion for what you do

A tour of the production hall is sufficient to feel this. Every employee is so absorbed in their work that we can stroll through the aisles completely unnoticed: whether it’s sorting coffee beans, thorough quality control – which, by the way, is still carried out under the strict eyes of Ms. Drago herself – or the mixing of new arrivals Goods or in the packaging of the finished product. In these moments, it becomes clear what exactly is behind the terms “passionately produced” and “coffee is respect”. Rest assured: your coffee is in good hands!

We take our hats off to the packaging heroes of “Drago Mocambo”.

History meets modernity: a leap into the present

After such a nostalgic stroll, it is high time to return to the present with a hot cup of coffee. We enter the new building, where you can order any coffee drink to be tasted and enjoy it in a cozy, quiet corner. Familiarize yourself with the range of Drago Mocambo coffee blends on offer and finally take your favorite coffee home with you to enjoy Italian coffee specialties there too .For people from the region, the café is a good starting point and at the same time an expression of openness and welcoming. If you are impressed by the atmosphere of this family-run coffee roastery and want to take a piece of it with you, you should take a look at the accessories: cups and glasses emblazoned with the green dragon – the logo of the Drago Mocambo coffee roastery has always been the name of the game.

We feel particularly comfortable in a room on the second floor above the café. If you go up the stairs, you get to the stylish world of the Drago Mocambo showroom. The roastery products are lined up on the shelves: “Brasilia”, “Gran Bar”, “Suprema”, “Decaffeinato” and “Aroma”. Everything in this beautiful room reminds us of an art exhibition because the entire facility is stylish and extremely well thought out, without appearing in any way excessive; Italian elegance. 

The light-flooded room at the end of the hall, our last stop on the journey through history, is particularly impressive. At the entrance you are greeted by the Drago Mocambo logo. As soon as we put one foot over the doorstep, we leave the national border behind us and land directly in Italy. The room, like the whole coffee roastery, is right down to the smallest detail very lovingly furnished. Large windows that overlook the whole city and soft leather armchairs at a rustic but modern wooden table create an unbeatable atmosphere of peace and comfort. An Italian vintage refrigerator sits enthroned above everything and lurks quietly in the corner. All you need is a cup of aromatic cappuccino with a small cantuccini to immerse yourself in this atmosphere, to take some time and to watch the quiet city outside the window. We liked to stay longer.

Conclusion – tradition, family, innovation

For us it was an unforgettable day that left only warm memories. For more than 30 years, the quality of the coffee has been particularly important to every employee and family member. Outstanding hospitality, attention to detail, special respect for the history of the company and its tradition come together every day with  extremely conscientious roasting of the highest quality. That is the secret behind the Mocambo coffee, which stands out from mass-produced goods as clearly as possible. And while the employees of the roastery speak so passionately, and are inspired about coffee and its processing steps, you can tell that the key to success for the Mocambo family is respect. If you should ever be in the vicinity of the charming and picturesque town of Radevormwald, do not hesitate and visit this small coffee island with an Italian spirit in the middle of Germany. Convince yourself of the special philosophy of the Drago Mocambo coffee roastery. We will be back in any case.