It was Monday, 17 August 1931. For Leo Henzirohs and Elisabeth Studer, it was their wedding day. On the very same day,the 29-year-old bridegroom entered his new one-man business in the register of companies, making his wedding day the same as the founding date of JURA. 

What began 90 years ago as a one-man company has grown to become an international business operating in around 50 countries worldwide. JURA developed into a global player and is now an innovation leader in automatic speciality coffee machines. 

But of course, every success has a story behind it. History makes us what we are and shapes our values. It helps us understand what we stand for today. The perfect opportunity for CoffeeBreak to take a look back at the company's story, by talking to a man who has held the reins for the last three decades: ‘Mr JURA’, Emanuel Probst.

CoffeeBreak: First of all, congratulations on no fewer than two important milestones: the 90th anniversary of JURA and your 30th anniversary with the company, which you celebrated on 1 July. Today JURA stands for automatic speciality coffee machines, the perfect coffee made from fresh beans at the touch of a button, ‘freshly ground, not capsuled’ . As sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue, it also seems to be a crucial success factor. Why does sustainability play such an important role at JURA?

Emanuel Probst: Sustainability has always been important to the company, and it’s easy see why if we look back to the war years and the postwar era, from the 1930s to the 1950s. Back then materials were scarce and had to be used economically. In 1955 JURA launched the first steam iron on the continental European market. The company focused on making it extremely durable. It was designed to be serviceable, so that parts where limescale and dirt built up could be removed, descaled, serviced and reassembled. The result was almost as good as a new product. This economical approach to using precious resources has always guided us, and the same remains true today. These days, many people recognise just how little sense it makes to waste things. I share that perspective. That’s why, right from the development stage, we design our coffee machines to last as long as possible. Recently, a study in the Netherlands compared the service life of all automatic coffee machines on the market. With an average service life of nine years, JURA machines were three years above the market average. This proves the success of our approach and encourages us to continue doing what we are doing.

CoffeeBreak: As well as being committed to sustainability, JURA has always stood for innovation, whether in its products, its sales structure or customer service. Why is it so important to continue bringing new products and services on to the market?

Emanuel Probst: Everything always starts with the product. It’s at the core of everything we do. What prompts us to buy something? The answer is simple: it needs to be an excellent product that inspires us. One example of this would be the launch of the first steam iron in 1955. It laid the foundations for the company’s success in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Then in 1994 there was the IMPRESSA 500, which was a major milestone for the brand. Whenever we launched new, innovative products, it resulted in a burst of growth for the company. The compact E50, for example; the Z5, the first coffee machine with the One-Touch Cappuccino function; and the F90, the first machine with an Internet connection, were all growth drivers. And today the Z10 is raising the bar yet again with both hot and cold brew coffee products. 

CoffeeBreak: When you look at these milestones on a time line, you notice how the gaps between product launches are getting shorter and shorter. The pace of innovation has steadily picked up in recent years. What does JURA do to stay ahead and continue innovating ever faster, and where does the inspiration for new products come from?

Emanuel Probst: Increasing the pace isn’t the primary focus. But when you really research something in depth, when you’re focused, when you go ever deeper, it automatically results in a growing number of ideas and product improvements. You discover more and more about how to create even better coffee and how to make a product even easier to use. And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. But of course, we’re always thinking about the aesthetic aspect too and how we can continue developing our design philosophy. In the next step it’s vital to make these cycles shorter; to make sure that we can turn all the innovations we want to bring to the market into reality in an even shorter time. That’s why we are building the JURA Campus, which will more than triple our laboratory capacity. But more than that, we also aim to innovate in our processes, which means automation, providing telemetry data and introducing innovations in workstation design. With the JURA Campus, all these ideas will become reality.

CoffeeBreak: You tend to describe gazing into the future as a fruitless activity. Nevertheless, we want to ask the question: In what direction should JURA develop in the years ahead?

Emanuel Probst: I don’t believe in long-term planning. But when you look to the future, it really always comes back to the same thing: it’s always about achieving even better quality in an even shorter time. That’s what all our efforts and innovations ultimately revolve around. The aim is to increase quality while reducing what we call the cost of doing business. That’s the economic goal that we always have in mind.

CoffeeBreak: Thanks for speaking to us, and we wish you all the best and hope to see plenty more of the infectious enthusiasm you bring to the company!