A local company has taken the next step in expanding their coffee bean business by opening a shop for people to come and experience new kinds of coffee.
OQ Coffee (OQ standing for Old Queens, named for the historic Rutgers University campus) started out as a small operation roasting beans in the kitchen of Elijah's Promise.
Now, owner Ben Schellack is roasting beans and brewing cup of free trade, organic and unusual coffees in the company's brand new coffee house in Highland Park.
The shop is celebrating its grand opening today, Saturday, Dec. 15, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 900 sq. foot shop boasts a selection of coffees, espresso and loose-leaf teas and tables and chairs for sitting and sipping. Burlap sacks of beans, a piano, and the company's roaster, which at quick glance resembles a locomotive, fill out the room.
One wall is also used to showcase local artists, and the music of local music acts can be heard playing.
Schellack also has a long, high-topped table at which he plans to host coffee tasting events on weekends featuring different types of beans brewed different ways.
OQ Coffee gets its beans from a variety of farms in Latin America, Asia and Africa, through fair trade arrangements.
Schellack said that the espresso beans are roasted within about two weeks of shipping or brewing them, in order to offer the best-tasting coffee possible.
He does not take lightly the work put in by farmers in growing the beans, Schellack said.
"It's kind of a waste of their effort (to mistreat the product)," he said.
Especially since a good espresso, Schellack said, is a thing of beauty.
"It's kind of like a magnifying glass for the coffee," he said.
Schellack says the coffee varieties to be offered depend on the season, and the farm on which they are sourced for.
In the shop, they are priced between $2.75 and $6 per cup, depending on the style of the drink, he said.
In addition to the coffee shop, OQ Coffee sells its beans through the company website, and at several farmers markets and small shops and cafes throughout New Jersey.
In New Brunswick, OQ Coffee beans or brewed coffees are available at the George Street Co-op, the Souper Van, and the Rutgers Gardens Farmer's Market, according to the OQ Coffee website.
The Harvest Moon Brewery and Cafe offers "coffee beers" brewed using OQ's beans as well, according to the website.
OQ Coffee Coffee Shop and Roastery is located at 13 S. Third Ave., Suite 3, in Highland Park.
The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed on Sunday.
For more information, visit http://oqcoffee.com.