Having worked for a Chicago-based cafe and roastery, later sold to a European conglomerate, the romance of working for a small business faded for Paul Rosenkranz, who watched hours of YouTube videos and read books to become a roaster.
"I was never invited around to be part of the roasting processes or involved in getting green beans to the cup, other than brewing already-roasted coffee and team training literature from corporate," said Rosenkranz, who got a chance to move to Australia and take over Quest Coffee Roasters.
Rosenkranz's dreams of pursuing a medical career never came to fruition since he succeeded in hospitality, finding happiness in others' happiness by sharing coffee, food, and life moments with regulars, strangers, friends and family.
He wishes to visit Yemen or Ethiopia to understand how the growers from those regions have inspired coffee production worldwide.
Coffee has always been this mysterious product whose success is a hybrid between science and superstition.
"Coffee has always been this mysterious product whose success is a hybrid between science and superstition. Does your coffee taste good because it has been immaculately roasted and extracted or because you had a life-changing chat with your barista while having your first sip?"
Indeed, a coffee enthusiast, Rosenkranz cannot choose his favourite blend or origin. However, he enjoys drinking the In Casa espresso blend from Quest Coffee Roasters, using a French press.
"Roasting a blend of natural-processed beans slightly darker than recommended and using it for espresso makes me happy."
In his opinion, a great roast needs to serve its intended purpose, make people happy and have them talking about it afterwards, just like Quest's holiday blend.
Recently, the roastery has been re-certified as organic as they find it amazing to have the ability to trace the coffee back to the farm and believe it to be best for longevity.
Quest Coffee Roasters also has merchandise in terms of compostable and recyclable takeaway cups. They plan to have fully recyclable coffee bean bags and find a need for packaging innovation in terms of a kerbside recyclable bag across Australia.
The cafe and roastery also use renewable energy and compost their food and coffee waste products, including bioplastic packaging.
"Our wholesale customers often choose Quest because of our commitment to sustainability, which creates a common ground for discussing what we can do to implement sustainable practices within our respective businesses."
Most of Quest's innovations are in the area of data collection and traceability to make quick decisions, be flexible in developing recipes and select certified organic and sustainable single-origin beans and teas. For example, their software that identifies whether a recipe change for a roast will be 100 percent organic, and if they have all the necessary documents to ensure they comply with organic certification requirements.
The company is excited about its upcoming custom-blending projects for wholesale customers and is exploring certified organic microlots from growers across the coffee belt.