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Five Elephant Mitte

Five Elephant has been roasting coffee in-house while sourcing coffee through direct trade from coffee producers since its founding in 2010. They were the first client of Nordic Approach, a Norwegian green coffee beans trading company. Currently, the company roasts one hundred tons of coffee beans per year and sells them not only to high-end customers locally and globally, but also to the wider population through other brands. Today, Five Elephant has grown to a total of four coffee shops in Berlin, but the thought at the core has not changed since its founding. We interviewed the founders, the Schackmans, who aspire to have lifelong relationships with producers. My normal was not “normal.” Five Elephant is a coffee brand that builds relationships with coffee producers, purchases green coffee beans directly from producers, and roasting coffee at its headquarters, located in Kreuzberg, around one hundred meters from their first shop. Five Elephant, which brought this style of operation to Germany, has been a pioneer in the specialty coffee industry. However, as is the fate of a pioneer, the company wasn’t understood well at first by the public.  “When we opened our coffee shop, there was probably only one coffee shop in Germany that used direct trade, located in Hamburg. Everyone in Berlin thought we were crazy. To me, it was more of a mystery why other people didn’t do such a ‘normal’ thing, and I saw it as an opportunity.” Kris had been living in the U.S. before he moved to Berlin so specialty coffee was very familiar to him. When the pioneers of the coffee world started to appear in the US, Kris was drinking coffee...

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