The world of tea under one roof
Company

History

It all began in January 1879, when Alfred Moritz Lyon and Gustav Vincent Hälssen founded their joint tea trading company and a few years later became the first tenants to move into the visionary new Speicherstadt district, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a short time, the company passed into the hands of a Hamburg merchant family named Ellerbrock, the 4th generation of which now own the company.

The venerable brick building at Pickhuben 9 remains our headquarters to this day. It has been a long time since barges tied up here and tea was blended on its floors, but the brick walls still breathe this history. From the outset, its proximity to the port guaranteed a direct link to the international trading world. The decades since the company’s founding have accordingly been dominated by investment and steady growth at home and abroad.

1879

On 1 January 1879, Alfred Moritz Lyon and Gustav Vincent Hälssen found the tea trading company Hälssen & Lyon in Hamburg. Gustav Vincent Hälssen dies in a tragic accident that year.

1887

H&L moves into the new building at Pickhuben 9. Today, the company is the longest-standing tenant in Hamburg’s historical Speicherstadt warehouse district.

1907

Johann Carl Ferdinand Ellerbrock, who joined the company in 1895, becomes a partner.

1916

Following the death of Alfred Moritz Lyon, J. C. F. Ellerbrock becomes the sole proprietor of the company.

1917

J. C. F. Ellerbrock co-founds the German Tea Association.

1923

Carl Ellerbrock, son of J. C. F. Ellerbrock, joins the company.

1927

On 1 March, Carl Ellerbrock founds the subsidiary Hälssen & Lyon Ltd., London, which develops into Britain’s second-largest tea exporter over the next twelve years.

1928

H&L expands: Bases are added in Calcutta, Cochin and Colombo.

1931

The KVW (Kaffee-Veredelungs-Werk) coffee decaffeination plant is founded in Hamburg.

1934

On 1 January, Carl Ellerbrock becomes a partner of H&L.

1935

Founding of Dr. Grethe’s Decaffeinated Tea company in Hamburg – and launch of the world’s first decaffeinated tea.

1948

Foundation of Haelssen Tea Sales Ltd., London.

1957

Acquisition of the French Tea packing company Compagnie Coloniale S.A., Paris.

1959

Acquisition of stake in world’s largest infusion company and 2nd largest tea packer, Thé de l’Eléphant S.A., Marseille. Founding of world’s 1st instant tea factory in tea-producing country (Sri Lanka) and worldwide premiere of innovative instant tea.

1967

H&L accelerates the development of flavoured teas and makes them popular.

1968

Olav C. and Horst-Jürgen Ellerbrock buy H&L from their father, Carl Ellerbrock.

1969

Acquisition of DTI (Deutsche Trockenfruchtindustrie GmbH) which produces instant beverages in Hamburg. Development of tea-lemon tea drinks, liquid or as granules.

1974

Olav C. Ellerbrock is appointed Honorary Consul General of Sri Lanka. He becomes Chairman of the German Tea Association until 1998, is Board member of ITC (International Tea Committee, London), and Chairman of ETC (European Tea Committee).

1978

Growing demand for decaffeinated tea leads to the formation of a joint venture with Haco AG, Gümligen, Switzerland.

1979

Membership in the US Tea Association. Introduction of decaffeinated tea in America.

1990

H&L introduces flavoured, freeze-dried teas to the market.

1991

Development of the CO2 high-pressure process for the decaffeination of tea.

1992

Entry into the rapidly growing market for fruit and herbal teas.

1994

H&L is granted the organic certificate in accordance with Directive (EEC) No. 2092/91, authorising the company to market organically grown tea.

1995

Acquisition of tea packer Schmidt & Partner GmbH.

1995/96

H&L builds high-rack warehouse in Hamburg-Allermöhe. A total of 40,000 pallet ports where over 15,000 tons of tea are stored: the world’s largest warehouse for tea specialties. State-of-the-art machinery for processing tea is installed there.

1996

Implementation and certification of a quality management system in accordance with DIN ISO 9001.

2000

Certification of operations in accordance with the HACCP concept (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point).
Founding of KVT-Nahrungsmittel GmbH in Thuringia for the production of fruit and herb infusions.

2001

Start of full-scale production of herb and fruit teas.

2003

Product safety is increased by strict quality controls and the establishment of a quality assurance laboratory. Implementation of the IFS (International Featured Standard Food).

2004

The company celebrates its 125th anniversary.

2005

Haelssen & Lyon North America Corp. Is established to optimise customer service in the US.

2009

Opening of a branch office in Moscow.

2010

Partnership with the extract producer Natural Instant Food S.A., Paraguay.

2013

Founding of tbottlers GmbH for the bottling and production of beverages and syrups.

2015

Opening of the latest warehouse, which increases storage capacity to 25,000 tons of merchandise.
Shareholding in a packaging company for premium teas, Gourmet Tea DMCC, Dubai.

2018

New chapters continue to be added to our successful tea story …

If you have questions regarding our products and services, please contact us at:

Hälssen & Lyon GmbH
Pickhuben 9
20457 Hamburg
Germany

phone: +49 40-36 14 3-0
fax: +49 40-36 13 3-117

info@haelssen-lyon.de