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OQ Coffee Co. is a specialty coffee roasting company and shop located in Highland Park, New Jersey--a stone's throw from Rutgers University and New Brunswick, across the Raritan River. We focus on unique and delicious, single origin coffees, sourcing nearly all of them directly, roasting each lot to its greatest potential, then striving to serve it consistently and exceptionally. We look for sustainability at origin and promote the same, here at home, in New Jersey.
Our passion for coffee grew out of two realizations:
- High quality coffee is delicious; and
- coffee has great potential to create community.
As such, our mission and vision:
OQ Coffee's mission is to get people to fall in love with coffee by offering high-quality, fairly sourced coffee, increasing awareness of sustainable coffee practices, cultivating community, and promoting social action.
The vision of the Shop & Roastery is to roast the highest quality, ethically-produced coffee available, and to use our business as a vehicle to motivate our neighbors through education to action concerning injustices in Highland Park, New Brunswick and the world. We will:
- Source unique and high-quality coffees through fair and direct-trade relationships with coffee farmers around the world;
- Roast the coffee in small, artisanal batches;
- Connect intentionally with the local community; and
- Operate a Shop that acts as a hub for the community to share ideas, resources, and a passion for the places in which we live.
All this happens just by starting a conversation.
More About Us
In addition to receiving local and regional accolades, OQ Coffee is a two-time, award-winning roaster, achieving Finalist distinction in the category of Coffee from the Good Food Awards (2017 and 2018). The GFA recognizes and celebrates food that is exceptionally delicious which also supports sustainability and social good.
To learn more about the backstory of OQ, check out this short video from our friend at Headlamp Productions for a glimpse of how we started!
Quality & Sustainability
There is a dizzying amount of advertising misinformation out there about quality and sustainability. Every bag touts their premium, gourmet, specialty, Fair Trade, Direct Trade, classic roast, dark roast beans…AH! At least, that’s how we felt. What do you need to know to get good, ethically produced coffee?
We only source, roast, and sell the highest quality, tastiest beans we can find.
- We look for specialty coffee. Technically, that means it would score an 80+ on an internationally recognized scale for grading coffee quality; in fact, we look for the absolute best we can find.
- We also strive to find unique, micro-lots. Micro-lots include unique, super high-quality beans that a farmer separated out from the bulk of his/her coffee based on altitude, varietal (type of coffee tree), selective sorting of the beans, etc.
- Finally, we only buy new crop coffee. Coffee, like any crop, is seasonal. In several parts of the world, coffee trees produce fruit once a year; elsewhere, twice a year. In any case, the fruit is picked and removed from the coffee seed (what we call a bean). Once the coffee beans are dried and sold, they are shipped and arrive in the US 2-6 months after harvest.
As a company, we believe that people and relationships matter. We, therefore, are working on developing relationships with the producers who grew our coffee. Sometimes this means one family on a tiny parcel of land; sometimes one family on a big estate; and sometimes a bunch of families who have grouped together (a cooperative or group). In each case, we are working on building long term relationships that benefit the producers, our business, and our respective communities.
We also strive to ensure that every coffee we sell respects the people and environment that produced it. To do this, traceability and transparency are the most important; that way you can hold us accountable for what we paid for our beans. We are always looking for ways to improve how we purchase, roast, and sell coffee, but here is where we’re at right now:
- Every coffee we sell meets or exceeds Fair Trade minimum prices, and Relationship or Direct Trade coffees means we have visited the farm and know how/what exactly the farmers got paid (if not directly from us);
- We support shade-grown, organic, and bird-friendly coffees; all of our producer friends use minimal to no -cides particularly if they’re not organic or natural.
- We provide as much information on the farmers and farms as possible;
- We buy from importers we trust, and we are looking to develop direct relationships ourselves; and,
- We are constantly listening and looking for ways to get better.
To learn more about the specific farms we work with, visit the Shop.
The OQ Gallery
We believe a universal way to cultivate community is through and around the arts. Our Shop and Roastery dedicates space to showcase the work of local artists. Beyond the fine arts, we also support local musicians, including the budding artists of the local High School. Check out our blog for current and recent shows, and follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram for the latest.
April - Rutgers Today - Alumna's OQ Coffee Co. Named Best in New Jersey
April - Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy - Urban planning alumnus Jessica Schellack builds community
March - Food & Wine Magazine - The Best Coffee in Every State (OQ Coffee for NJ)
February - Barista Magazine - Scenes from the 2018 Good Food Awards
January - Sprudge - Winners of the 2018 Good Food Awards for Coffee
January - The Good Food Awards - 2018 Winners
January - Daily Coffee News, by Roast Magazine - OQ Coffee
November - Sprudge - OQ Coffee puts NJ on the map for the Good Food Awards
August - Highland Park Planet - OQ: Committed to Coffee, Community and Consistent Quality
October - Hannah More Project - OQ Coffee: Great Coffee That’s Making the World Better
April - nj.com - Raise Your Java IQ
March - nj monthly - Best Coffee Houses, Central
March - corner of the cafe blog - BioCafe
March - edible NJ, Spring 2014 - Local Heroes, OQ Coffee
November - pure coffee blog - independent coffee review
April - nj spice - working with Elijah's Promise
February - coffee review - leading coffee buying guide
December - new brunswick patch - grand opening
December - new brunswick night out - grand opening
January - craft coffee - featured coffees
May - PCUSA - beginnings