More than two centuries ago, Leo Michielsen opened up a grocery store in Belgium, where he sold exotic spices, tea, pepper… but most importantly coffee.
A product of the heritage
Michelson’s grocery store mainly sold imported goods from across the globe which included rice, spices, herbs, coffee and tea. Passed down from father to son, the store traded for around a century before the decision was taken to capitalise on the success of coffee sales and set up a coffee roasting enterprise as a sideline. Known as Michelson Koffie, the company continued to thrive for the next few decades. The coffee roasting business was extremely successful, selling not only across Belgium, but also exporting coffee to other countries. In the early 1930s, the company moved to the outskirts of Turnhout and changed its name to Miko (a combination of Michaelson and Koffie).
Retrospectively, the decision to set up a coffee roasting business may well have been one that saved the company from extinction during the tough trade years of the late 1930s and WW2. With imports of fine goods (including coffee) severely restricted by the hostilities, the Belgians were forced to rely on whatever would grow in their own country to meet their nutritional needs. In the absence of coffee, Miko roasted acorns to create an ersatz coffee substitute which was widely drunk in Belgium until the end of the war, when coffee beans became more easily available again. The creation and sale of the ersatz coffee helped Milo to stay profitable throughout the tough war years. Synonymous with innovation and diversification, the company’s actions during the war years were typical of the Miko ability to adapt, survive and thrive.
A culture of continuous innovation
One of the reasons Miko has continued to do well is the innovative nature of its products and culture. From pioneering waterproof packaging for their coffee to optimise flavour through to a uniquely engineered catering coffee pot filter, Miko continues to push the boundaries. Even the company’s diversification into coffee machines, barista training, coffee-making equipment and the sale of other beverages is characterised by its usual innovative, ground-breaking style.
One-stop solution for all your coffee needs at Miko
From its humble beginnings so long ago right the way through to its current international reach, Miko has continued to embrace the same key values of premium products, good old-fashioned customer care and a product base that’s constantly updated and altered to suit current trends. Experts in both coffee flavour and preparation, today the company sells its products extensively across Europe and on into Australia. A byword for excellence, Miko remains one of just a select few companies that makes coffee machines and roasts coffee.
Fast forward 100 years and the grocery store was no longer, but don’t worry, the Michielsen family’s infatuation with coffee had led them to open the Miko Roastery. The family were now busy buying, blending and selling beautifully roasted Miko coffees from all over the globe. This was made just that little bit easier by the Port of Antwerp, conveniently located down the road and bringing in much of the world’s coffee.
Jump, hop and skip another 100 years to 2005 and the family felt it was time for another change. They were concerned. Not about the business their children and grandchildren would be inheriting, but about the world they would be inheriting. Puro was born, and with it, a commitment to stop the exploitation of the third world, ensuring fair prices to coffee growers and saving rainforest and its species within coffee producing countries. And, since change starts at home, the roof of the roastery was covered with solar panels to generate green energy and now heat generated from coffee roasting is recuperated and used to heat Miko’s offices.