- The company
Origins of La Semeuse
Descended from a family of grocers in Alsace, France, Marc Bloch founded La Semeuse in 1900 specializing in the importation and distribution of groundnut oil. In 1916, he dies for France on the Balkan front. His young widow, Hortense, took over the management of the company. She not only provided the necessary drive for its growth, but also diversified its activities by developing coffee roasting.
In 1938, the two Bloch sons, Henri and Jean, enter into the family business. When war broke out, oil imports are subject to quotas, the male staff and managers were mobilized. La Semeuse goes through these "Night and Fog" years with all the difficulties and concerns that can be imagined. After the war, attitudes and needs have changed: trade must move towards other methods. Faced with the crisis, the Bloch brothers decide to separate. Jean, assisted by his wife, Huguette, remains alone at the head of the business. He drops the oil business and devotes all his energy and dynamism to importing, roasting and distributing coffee.
Since 1976, after studying for a degree in Political Sciences and then working in many coffee producing countries, the founder’s grandson, Marc, joined the family business. He took over leadership from his father in 1982.
In May 2015, La Semeuse is changing hands!
Marc Bloch, who is the grandson of the founder of La Semeuse, is retiring from the company’s management and handing it over to Family Bihler of Neuchâtel, owner of Choco Diffusion group and several brands such as Goldkenn. This is great news that ensures the continuity and values of the La Semeuse Coffees in the long term. Mr. Nicolas Bihler is assuming position of CEO in La Semeuse.
A FAVORITE PLACE
Since the inception of the company in 1900, La Semeuse has always remained true to its place of origin, La Chaux-de-Fonds. The location of this city is essential to create the unique taste of La Semeuse coffee. Roasting at an altitude of 1000 meters allows the bean to grow at a temperature which does not affect the essential aroma or flavors. The atmospheric pressure is lower than the sea, boiling occurs at a lower temperature. This physical property acted favorably on the quality of La Semeuse coffees which are distinguished by their subtle power and lack of bitterness and acidity.
Storing green coffee
Each year, our company imports nearly 15,000 bags of green coffee, less than 10% of which are robustas. 90% is milder coffee – wash and unwashed Arabica – from well-known plantations. Once it gets to Chaux-de-Fonds, the green coffee bags are stored in a very specific order, based on their provenance and quality. Coffee is considered a necessary commodity in Switzerland. In fact, roasters are required by law to keep a reserve to be used in the event of emergency. This means that La Semeuse has a permanent reserve of one hundred tons of green coffee.
THE ART OF ROASTING
It only needs to be roasted once for coffee to acquire its color, exquisite aroma and delicious taste. La Semeuse roast in drum roasters using an ancient method that has allowed production secrets to be passed from generation to generation, guaranteeing the authenticity of La Semeuse coffees. Nevertheless, although the roasting process is based on an artisan method, it is controlled with the help of the most recent and most reliable tools. This means that we never sacrifice the quality and taste of La Semeuse coffees.