Promotions, new products, original recipes... subscribe to our newsletter!

Harmonious Blends

Ludwig van Beethoven was a master of music whose harmonious melodies are still delicious. Discover how Van Houtte is to coffee what Van Beethoven is to the symphony.

Who is Van Beethoven?

Throughout history, there have been those who are so passionate, driven and innovative, they changed the course of culture. Each can be seen as more than just a man – they are a Van. As a master coffee roaster, Albert-Louis Van Houtte was a member of this extremely exclusive club.

Today, we explore the life of another Van who was also a master of his craft: Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, a city in modern-day Germany, in December of 1770. While the exact date of his birth is uncertain, what is known is this master started creating music very young.

Nearly 250 years after his birth, many can still immediately recognize the work of composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven. He may not have been trying to make popular music, yet his body of work still resonates today.

This timeless trademark comes down to that Van-like quality and meticulous craftsmanship; where Van Beethoven mixed layers of strings and piano keys, Albert-Louis Van Houtte composed roasting techniques for a symphony of flavours and harmonious blends.

From loss to legend

Van Beethoven’s earliest composition was traced to 1782, when he was just 12 years old. It was in C minor, which was atypical for music of the time and notoriously difficult.

Van Houtte was also never one to shy away from a challenge; when he opened his first shop in 1919, he could not find the European-quality coffee he desired, so he bought a roaster and took it upon himself to create it.

While van Beethoven continued to achieve great things, by 1819 he had to face the music: he was essentially deaf. So how did the premier pianist make some of his most masterful work like Moonlight Sonata and Fifth Symphony without being able to hear? With a harmonious blend of passion and perseverance.

A true master dedicated to his craft, Van Beethoven would clench his teeth on a stick, hold it against the keyboard of his piano and pick up the sounds through the vibrations.

Similarly, when Van Houtte saw the options he had in terms of coffee, he decided to take things into his own hands and start roasting himself. That initial innovations became Van Houtte’s Original House Blend – and it hasn’t changed in the century since.

What makes a Van a Van?

Beethoven composed his most influential pieces without the use of his ears. In total, he completed 10 symphonies, 12 concertos and countless other works of opera and ballet.

Where Ludwig van Beethoven had concertos, Albert-Louis Van Houtte had coffee. And the latter’s legacy has continued to this day, growing from the Original House Blend to include a global variety of flavours and roasting types that honour his commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Both Vans challenged the status quo and would not let anything stop their pursuit —or percolation— of perfection.

Let’s end on a high note: What Van Houtte is to coffee, Van Beethoven is to composition. Now doesn’t that ring true?


Inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven’s story to taste our classic harmonious blend of flavours? Try the Van Houtte® Original House Blend Coffee today!