Q&A With Five and Hoek Coffee Roasters

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Roasts Used

Bouquet Spring Blend

We are always excited about what spring has to offer, whether its snow transitioning to rain, fresh flowers blooming, or the pure joy of the midwest cold coming to an end. Sweet cocoa notes & rich flavors of winter coffee, turn to sought after floral & bright characteristics like rose, jasmine, and fresh citrus. This blend is a celebration of these seasonal changes we have all been waiting for. This blend is made up of coffee from Colombia.

Colombia Inga Aponte Honey

The Inga community is comprised of descendants of the ancient, pre-hispanic Incas. For years the tribe was forcibly involved in poppy and heroin production under the influence of guerrilla groups, drug traffickers, and paramilitaries. The once-peaceful mountains teemed with illegal plantations and violence, in which the Ingas were trapped until as recently as ten years ago. In the last decade the mountains have become a safe zone for the Inga tribe, and illegal crops were eradicated to give way to a new culture: coffee! The Caturra variety has been planted in the Inga territory at an average of 2150 meters above sea level. This elevation, combined with the Galeras Volcano constantly shedding nutrient-rich ash, makes for an exceptionally complex and sweet coffee.

  • Producer: Resguardo Inga Aponte Co-op
  • Origin: Nariño, Colombia
  • Varietal: Yellow Caturra
  • Altitude: 2150M
  • Harvest: October 2017

Meet the roaster

Q: How did you get involved in the coffee business?

A: I was asked in 2013 to get involved by a family friend and mentor, Erich who founded the business back in 2010.

Q: Can you explain your mission a bit?

A: Our mission is simple. To roast beautiful coffee & share that with our local community. Our mantra is Coffee, Connection, Community.

Q: Is there a story behind the name?

A: Funny story, We used to be named River City Roasters. We found out there was another River City with dist. rights in the U.S. so we decided to change the name to Five & Hoek Coffee Co. Tyler, who is our head roaster & head of QC, last name is Fivecoat. Aaron who is another owner last name is Hoekstra, so Erich said lets combine those. Now we are Five & Hoek! (pronounced “Hook”)

Q: What would you say distinguishes your coffee?  

A: We have some amazing partnerships. We partner with Long Miles in Burundi, Catracha in Honduras, and a coffee farmer in Colombia directly named Gilberto Giraldo. We roast all of our coffees to highlight the origin they are from. We dont roast to bring out carbon notes or charred notes, but instead we roast to bring out the flavor notes that are inherent of the origin they come from.

Q: How do you decide which beans to source next?

A: We cup, cup, and then cup some more. We have great relationships with our partners I mentioned as well as our importers. They send me some of their favorite coffees, we roast them all with a similar profile, then we cup them a few times and pick coffees together. Our head roaster, Tyler, our head of training Beth and any staff who would like to taste & score each coffee. From there we pick a couple from different places around the world and bring those in seasonally!

Q: Can you share some stories about the farmers you work with, and the families that are impacted by your mission? – Or the specific missions you give back to?

A: Tyler visited Catracha Coffee Company to meet Mayra Powell & Jose Blas back in January. Blas produces our Honduran coffee we bring in every year. We highlight this coffee as a “relationship coffee” and typically feature it in our Winter seasonal blend as well. Mayra started Catracha as a means to highlight coffee from Santa Elena, Honduras. She also hosts youth conferences throughout the year for young entrepreneurs from Santa Elena.

  • Long miles does something very similar in Burundi. Their heart is for Burundi farmers to have a better life than they did before producing coffee. Long Miles believes in Coffee, People, Potential. They consistently produce some of the top coffee in the world and most recently had their coffee used that won the U.S. Barista Championship.
  • Our direct connection is with Gilberto Giraldo. Juan is his son and lives here in Illinois. He came to me with his dad’s coffee to try out and we HAD to buy it. It is an incredible coffee from Colombia. Both Juan’s father and mother run the coffee farm there and produce amazing coffee that we feature throughout the year exclusively.

Q: What do you like best about your line of work?

A: I love what I do. Owning a small business can be draining and overwhelming at times, but I absolutely love that I have the opportunity to work with farmers from around the world, do my best to roast their coffee well, and then I have the opportunity to share that coffee with others. It’s put in perspective when you go meet farmers personally and I am so grateful I get to do this every single day.

Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business?

A: Our business was founded by a trip we took to India in 2008. We went there and visited tea villages throughout Assam, India. We were sharing stories from the bible with the villages and running youth programs for 3 weeks. Each village we visited insisted on us visiting the pastor’s house for tea and biscuits. This is where Coffee Connection Community was born. We weren’t as big of fans for tea as we were for coffee, but the hospitality shown to us from each village was incredible. We wanted to bring this slowed down, communal way of life back to the states with us.

Q: What’s next for Five and Hoek?

A: We would love to open a couple more retail locations outside of our location in Wheaton, IL. We also love any opportunity to share our coffee with others, so we’re really happy to be part of the Coffeeism family!


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