Melitta Bentz:

150 years Inventor’s Heart

Melitta Bentz, the inventor of the coffee filter, would have become 150 years old. To this day, she remains a role model and inspiration for the company she founded - the Melitta Group. 150 years after her birth, her inventive spirit, courage and perseverance mean she continues to serve as a role model and mentor. 

Melitta Bentz was an extraordinary woman. She was tremendously committed and assertive. Her strength of will and tenacity, combined with considerable creativity and visionary thinking, set her apart. Not only did she have an unerring business sense, but she was also incredibly warm hearted. 

With her wealth of ideas, her courage and her perseverence, she was not only a successful inventor and entrepreneur but also a pioneer of her time. She combined her role as mother of three and housewife with that of a successful businesswoman - and therefore she still stands as a role model for balancing career and family life today. 


Ahead of her time

A passion for questioning the status quo and creating something new characterised Melitta Bentz throughout her life. This can be seen in her first and most important invention. She loved coffee, but like many others she was annoyed by the coffee grounds in the cup and the bitter taste. What most people at the time accepted as inevitable triggered Melitta Bentz’s ambition and drive. She looked into ways of filtering coffee and finally came up with the idea of pouring the coffee through a brass cup fitted with a sheet of blotting paper. This simple but ingenious idea gave rise to the first paper coffee filter, which revolutionised coffee drinking around the world. 

 “My great-grandmother not only laid the foundation for today’s Melitta Group,” said Jero Bentz, a member of the Melitta Group’s Chief Corporate Management. “Her pioneering spirit, her innovativeness and her consistent focus on customer needs continue to inform our company to this day and are the benchmark and inspiration behind our thoughts and actions.” 

Power of the brands

Melitta Bentz relied on the power of the brand early on to highlight the superior quality of her products and set the company apart from the competition. She therefore took great care to apply for patents and trademarks, to use uniform lettering and logos, and to consistently use the same colours and shapes.  

“We undoubtedly owe our love of brands to Melitta Bentz,” said Volker Stühmeier. We define ourselves by brands and continuously develop them with the utmost care and expertise. In doing so, we aim to develop and offer products that set quality standards in their market. We want to be where passion is felt, tasted, lived and appreciated, and where reliability, trust and expertise are of the utmost importance in everyday life.” 

Driven by the

Inventor’s Heart

Being creative and having good ideas is one thing. Making use of them, putting them into practice and achieving success with them is the other. Melitta Bentz developed her inventions and ideas with great passion and with the necessary amount of pragmatism. In doing so, she never lost sight of her goals and followed them through even in the face of considerable opposition. 

As a woman, she had to fight against resistance again and again at the beginning of the 20th century. A woman as inventor and entrepreneur was not in keeping with the traditional role that the law and society of the time assigned to women. Then there was the fact that the Bentz's were not rich, so did not have great financial resources to fall back on. Melitta Bentz was the daughter of a publishing bookseller, her husband was a department manager in a department store. When it was founded, the young company had a cash balance of just 72 Reichspfennig.  

This pioneering spirit and courage, combined with a high level of commitment and perseverance - this "Inventor's Heart" - is the foundation and great strength on which today's family-owned company with around 6,000 employees worldwide is built. 

Joint Impact

It was important to Melitta Bentz that her employees and their families were also well looked after. She had a strong sense of family, and the well-being of her employees and their families was close to her heart. Therefore, she insisted on above-average salaries, annual leave that exceeded the industry standard, and special benefits for employees. She established numerous additional social benefits that financially supported people in special circumstances and in challenging life situations. 

This appreciation of each and every employee is still the foundation of our corporate culture today. A sense of togetherness and the ‘joint impact’ between employees, are key success factors - especially in challenging times, said Jero Bentz.


Melitta Bentz:

150 years Inventor’s Heart