135 years

Our history…

In 1885, J.W. Hesselink started selling colonial goods, including coffee and tea, from his grocery store. Little did he know that over 135 years later, his store would develop into a large and esteemed brand for coffee and tea in the Netherlands.

Just over 37 years later, in 1922, the sons of J.W. Hesselink, who had been working for the company for some time, took over the business. That’s how J.W. Hesselink & Zn. was formed and how Stoom Koffiebranderij became a thing of the past. Following the takeover, the brothers chose to specialise in roasting coffee for other grocery stores in the area. From there, things developed rapidly.

During the Second World War, coffee supplies ran out. At the start of the war, coffee was rationed and sold very sparsely, but later on there was no longer any supply from the countries of origin. This meant there was no production. Fortunately, after the end of the Second World War, things picked up where they left off. However, there was one big change.  Small grocery stores had to make way for convenience stores. Therefore, Hesselink Koffie looked for a new target audience and started producing coffee for the regional hospitality industry.

 

Meanwhile, the third generation was integrated into the business, and Jan was on his own fairly quickly after his uncle and father both passed away in a short period of time. Now that it was just Jan at the helm, he knew for certain: a different approach was needed.

Jan didn’t shy away from a challenge and specialised in large-scale consumption through the sales channel of the hospitality industry. A good choice, since prosperity grew, which meant more hustle and bustle in the hospitality industry. Soon more kilos of coffee were being produced than ever before. Jan took care of the regional delivery of coffee himself until 1983. In September of that year, Jan passed away quite suddenly following a brief illness and his son Gerrit took over the business. He had the support of his mother, who had been working at the roastery for years. A new generation meant that there were new ideas, meaning new possibilities.

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In those days Hesselink Koffie mainly operated regionally. But Gerrit had bigger plans. He wanted to turn Hesselink Koffie into a brand that had nationwide fame and coverage. With no doubt in his mind, he went for it. This was what was needed to survive in a changing market.

Coffee roasting became a part of the whole concept that you had to offer as a roaster. Due to the increasing demand for espresso coffee, you also had to provide the equipment, with the matching roast. This growth demanded an increase in professionalism and space. Besides that, environment and food safety regulations became stricter, which made for an easy decision to relocate. In 1985, Hesselink Koffie celebrated its 100th anniversary, and moved to new premises at the Winterswijk business park.

Ever-increasing growth meant that within 10 years the property had already become too small. The recently developed industrial area along the Rondweg-Zuid, directly opposite the Ambachtsstraat, became available. In 1994, Gerrit Hesselink decided to construct new premises at the Rondweg-Zuid. He envisioned this to be a location with a future. The first version of Hesselink Koffie’s current business premises was built.

The 125th anniversary of the business was approaching, with the fourth generation at the helm. Having evolved into a nationally operating roaster and with the new ‘Fingerprinted’ coffee range being trialled, it was time for the next step: Coffee roaster J.W. Hesselink & Zn. was honoured to be named a Royal Warrant Holder.

 

Looking ahead to the future, at the beginning of 2015 Gerrit Hesselink decided to buy the neighbouring property along the Rondweg-Zuid, which had housed a hardware store until the beginning of the century. In 2016, the building was put into operation as a warehouse. Two buildings next to each other, which made things easy, but wasn’t always ideal. Pallets filled with boxes of roasted coffee had to be transported outside. Not very practical, especially considering the Dutch climate. Cautiously, Gerrit started to dream.

 

A new stage                                                                                 

Before any serious renovation plans were developed, Gerrit and his wife Carli did much research and had discussions with the architect, Het Fundament. There were three important requirements: it had to be practical and efficient, add aesthetic value, and be future-proof, i.e. sustainable.

Sustainability became the magic word throughout the renovation. The plans for the development and renovation had to be outlined with special attention to the people and the environment. Meanwhile, Gerrit Hesselink had embraced this philosophy with full conviction, and implemented it in his business operations.  Just like the core business of Hesselink Koffie, the renovation not only had to bring happiness to the people, but also to the environment.

 

Connecting two existing buildings is a challenge in itself. The Coffee Hub played a major role here. It not only connects the two buildings to each other, but also the people. In this way, Gerrit hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs to take up a meaningful form of entrepreneurship and to build sustainably.

Through the Dutch Green Building Counsel, Gerrit had the ultimate tool to fully measure and assess the sustainability of new or existing buildings: the BREEAM-NL certificate. In this way, you can’t just say: ‘We have a sustainable building’, but you can actually guarantee and demonstrate it.

BREEAM-NL contains nine different sustainability topics: management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land usage, and ecology and pollution. This is quite a challenge with an existing building.

 

The theme of the renovation has been the reuse of material and use of material that can be used more than once, to avoid using as little ‘new’ material as possible. For example, the facade of the new construction is fitted with BREEAM certified Bamboo planks. The existing back facade has been transformed into a Green Wall, which is highly efficient for collecting fine dust. Consequently, the aesthetics are improved without the need to replace the facade. In addition to that, the greenery also acts as natural sun protection and contributes to a better living environment. The Coffee Hub features a green roof. The sedum roof helps with the gradual draining of water and provides a high level of insulation. The new building is CO2 neutral by using heat pumps and solar collectors.

 

The renovation also featured nature-inclusive building, i.e. the creation of a very sustainable outdoor environment. As a real ‘Achterhoeker’, Gerrit always felt, and still feels, so close to nature that he wanted to add even more value to the outdoor environment and look after its health. That’s why he not only adhered to the garden demands of BREEAM, but he went a step further. Where BREEAM stops, NL-Greenlabel continued. It proved to be successful.

Whether Hesselink Koffie is the most sustainable coffee roaster? That’s something he doesn’t dare say with certainty. But they are the most sustainable coffee roasters in the Netherlands. Of course this won’t last forever, as hopefully other sustainable coffee roasting companies will follow. In any case, Hesselink Koffie is always looking ahead.

 

Future

Construction-wise, the current building is suitable for the time being. But there is, and always will be, room for improvement. This also applies to Hesselink Koffie. New developments, such as energy-saving coffee roasting systems, or, possibly in the near future, the production of hydrogen with surplus energy, are thoroughly researched. Gerrit is a supporter of a more sustainable world, combined with meaningful economics, because what goes around comes around. His mission is not yet complete. Now that the renovation is done and dusted, he can dedicate himself to the next sustainable adventures. According to Gerrit, sustainability never stops: ‘And it’s a good thing, too.’

 

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