Egbert Douwes and his wife Akke Thysses founded Douwe Egberts in 1753. They began selling coffee, tea and tobacco in their small shop, 'De Witte Os' (literally 'The White Ox'), in Joure, the Netherlands. Originally Egbert Douwes only sold to the local villagers.
However when his son Douwe Egberts joined the business around 1780, he built up a reputation regionally by also supplying shop owners elsewhere, thereby spreading the Douwe Egberts brand around the country. Gradually, Douwe and his descendants built a company that grew to become the Dutch market leader for its core products, coffee and tea.
Since 1978 Douwe Egberts has been allied to the Sara Lee Corporation, which opened new horizons worldwide. Today Douwe Egberts is one of the top 3 largest coffee roasters in the world.