Roaster Profile: OQ Coffee Co.

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OQ Coffee Co. are a company located in Highland Park, NJ. I once taught a seminar there (well, same town, LOL) and when my dad immigrated to the USA from Hungary in 1956, Perth Amboy, just to the east of Highland Park, was their first stop in the States. I feel like I have a connection to this part of New Jersey even though I’ve only spent about 24 hours total there! OQ Coffee has a roastery and cafe there and a handful of other local businesses serve their coffee, too.

OQ has a lot of information about their philosophy, vision, mission and goals on their website, so if you want to dive deep go no further than this page. Doing a little research, I was able to find that OQ Coffee Co. is really named Old Queens Coffee Co. and it’s named after the oldest extant building on campus at nearby Rutgers University. OQ founder, Ben Schellack, was a seminary student at Princeton Theological Seminary when he founded OQ in 2010. While he was a student working on an advanced degree, luck or providence would take Ben to the venerable Cafe Grumpy in NYC where he reluctantly tried a shot of espresso. I guess this was the shot that changed the world? LOL

Ben realized the drawing power of coffee, that it can create a community, and an idea like that has to be powerful for a young seminarian. Through 2010 and 2011, Ben grew the roasting operation while taking a break from his studies. In 2012 they expanded and grew into a cafe in Highland Park, just north of it’s namesake on Rutgers’ campus.

It was their quad of Yemen coffees that drew me to OQ Coffee Co. but the first coffee I had from them was the fantastic Las Delicias, a Colombian coffee sourced from the amazing La Palma y El Tucan. I was blown away by this coffee and I knew I’d have an easy time reviewing the other 5-6 coffees OQ’s roaster, Catie, generously sent me! I have the four Yemens as well as an Ethiopian and the rum barrel conditioned version of that coffee, too, to check out. In cafe OQ is doing innovative things like cold brewed cacao and if you’re in that neck of the woods, I can imagine OQ Coffee Co. is worthy of a drop-in!