What once started in Assam, India, has now grown into an ever-changing story. A story that highlights the importance of passion, people, and community within the coffee roasting industry.
Each and every roaster has their own unique story, and Five & Hoek Coffee Co. is no different. In fact, their story has been shaped by their experiences, interests, priorities, and most importantly, their newfound responsibilities.
They are proud to offer quality coffee that is shaped by their past experiences and evolving vision. To them, coffee is about taking the time to sit back, slow down, and simply enjoy. From their Caravan House Blend to their Ethiopia Sidamo, there is a perfectly roasted cup for everyone.
How Five & Hoek Coffee Co. Came to Be
Back in 2008, the founders of Five & Hoek were traveling throughout India. While in Assam, they spent time in various tea garden villages. These villages offered a unique experience — one that left a lasting impression.
While hopping from garden to garden, they were immediately drawn to the laid-back culture of these tea-centric social hubs. Motivated to bring this experience to those back home, in the form of freshly roasted coffee, Five & Hoek Coffee Co. was born. Well, not before their first debut venture, known as River City Roasters.
This coffee shop was situated in Yorkville, IL, along the Fox River. However, long-lasting construction and desire for more motivated them to make the move. After moving to Wheaton, IL in 2013, the concept didn’t change, but their name did. Their new name reflects the names of co-owners Tyler Fivecoat and Aaron Hoekstra.
At first, they struggled in their new coffee shop. The preexisting shop served traditional Italian-style coffee, so third wave specialty coffee wasn’t exactly on the customers’ radar. However, once they began roasting and living out their mantra, it didn’t take long for customers to transition.
Today, their values can be summed in the following words: Coffee, Connection, and Community. Each cup served has been made possible because of these three values, and continues to shape the brand that they have become today.
Bringing Quality Coffee to the Streets of Wheaton and Beyond
Ever since Five and Hoek Coffee Co. opened its doors, the local Wheaton community welcomed them with open arms. Although there is a Starbucks located across the street from their cafe, that has not impacted their steady stream of customers. These customers are those who appreciate coffee as much as those from Five & Hoek do.
Unlike some roasters, who focus on specific regions, Five & Hoek source coffee from around the globe. However, they have focused on building relationships in key regions based on certain ethical and social practices. When sourcing their beans, their only requirement is that it’s of the highest quality.
Of course, they also ensure that systems are in place so that farmers are paid well. They do this by traveling to the source, speaking with those who made their dream a living reality. You may read more about their trip to Honduras here.
For example, the company has been working with Catracha Coffee for a total of three years now. Since Catracha’s goal is to recognize the efforts of small coffee producers, they were the perfect fit.
For the Five & Hoek crew, traceability was also very important. They feel good serving coffee up, knowing that the farmers were paid well for their efforts. Today, they continue to strengthen their relationships with farmers in Honduras, Columbia, and Burundi.
Quality and Innovation
In terms of the coffee itself, their roasting process is completed on-site, ensuring the highest level of quality control. Using a Diedrich IR-12, they roast in small batches of just 10 to 15 pounds.
Although they offer a wide range of products, they are an innovative brand. One of their most popular drinks says it all. After offering a salted beer caramel latte, it became apparent that Five & Hoek are anything but ordinary. They strive for excellence and the local community has surely taken notice.
Changing their menu to reflect the seasons and newly roasted coffee beans, they serve everything from an Orange Lavender Latte to their S’mores Affogato. Each cup is intended to take you on a journey, one that is best enjoyed with good company.
Writing Their Story Through Coffee
Driven by their passion for sharing, Five & Hoek Coffee Co. strives to represent the entire coffee production process in each cup served. Beginning with the wonderful farmers who handpick the coffee cherries and ending with the barista, their evolving story focuses on three things — the identification of their coffee, the roasting of their coffee, and the serving of their coffee.
The first step is certainly one of the most important. In order to produce quality coffee, roasters must begin with the highest quality beans. Selecting coffee that is rated in the top 1% of globally-produced coffee, they then source numerous samples to select the beans that their drinkers will appreciate the most.
Partnering with those who truly care about coffee, this level of passion has a trickle-down effect. When coffee is produced with passion, both responsibly and ethically, this is reflected in the unique, quality taste of the final product. This is also why their second area of focus is so important — the roasting process.
Before Five & Hoek Coffee Co. brings their coffee to the public, they roast numerous samples. Taking this one step further, they then cup these samples multiple times on varying days. This helps them ensure the highest quality and consistency possible. Once an optimal flavor is reached, roasting beans based on the farmers’ initial intent, a monitoring system is implemented to guarantee that flavor every single time.
This is also why they recommend that their coffee is consumed at home within two weeks of the roast date. This will ensure that each cup brewed at home is experienced as intended, yielding optimal sweetness and balance.
Finally, the way in which they serve their coffee makes all the difference. After all, without their community, this company would not be where it is today. The development of their coffee shop was important to those at Five and Hoek Coffee Co., simply because they want those drinking their coffee to enjoy it as much as they do.
At the end of the day, their ultimate goal is simple: Provide amazing specialty coffee that celebrates a sense of community while representing the farmers who make it all possible.
What’s Next for Five & Hoek Coffee Co.?
As they have already proven, the sky is the limit when it comes to living out your dreams. What stemmed from an idea in India has since grown into a full-blown, coffee-centric community.
Moving forward, the Five & Hoek crew strive to share, share, and share some more. Their plan to share their coffee involves opening more cafes throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.
Can’t make it to Chicago anytime soon?
Good thing you can brew a cup of Five & Hoek in the comfort of your home.
So, sit back, slow down and enjoy, as you become part of the Five & Hoek community!