The Tale of Plattsburgh's Organic Brew
By Katie Teaney
Chapter One: Coffee and Tea
Once upon a time, in the small city of Plattsburgh, there lived a kind and extraordinary couple with a passion for coffee. When the opportunity presented itself to establish a café to serve the local citizens with their barista abilities, they accepted the honor and challenge. The community would be given a café unlike any before — each beverage served with great thought, science, and craftsmanship, all while using locally sourced organic ingredients.
Chapter Two: Brewing Business
It all began in the month of May in the year 2017, after their first endeavor, Conroy Organics, came to an end. Chris Rosenquest and Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest eagerly began their next adventure, establishing what is now known as Chapter One Coffee and Tea within the Plattsburgh Public Library. Because the partners share a common interest and compassion for the North Country community and its need for a proper cup of caffeine, their coffee shop was all set to succeed.
Nestled on the corner of Oak Street and Brinkerhoff since 1940 lies Plattsburgh’s Public Library. Over the years, the library has become less of a quiet space filled with copious amounts of literature and more of a home for the community. The changes being made were driven by the idea to create a venue where families, groups, businesses and individuals can come together. With the community room upstairs and the children’s room downstairs, it seemed most fitting for the Rosenquest team to set up shop on the ground floor nearest to the main entrance. Their location in the computer lab serves as a welcoming transitional space for foot traffic and an easy access point for the customers who are there for a cup of coffee on the go. The lab is no longer just for computers, having transformed into a place that encourages meetings and conversation.
The love for coffee that helped Chapter One blossom into the treasure that it is today stemmed from Chris Rosenquest’s experience owning Seattle Burlap while living in Spokane, Washington. His company sorted and re-purposed burlap bags from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to create biodegradable and efficient landscaping material. The bags would be used in place of the black plastic that is typically laid down before mulch to prevent weeds from growing. When the business collected the burlap, they would evaluate them for quality assurance and sometimes stumble upon green coffee beans. And so, the hobby and infatuation with roasting and brewing coffee began.
Chapter Three: A Well Crafted Beverage
“That’s how we approach coffee. It’s more of a craft than just dumping hot water over coffee beans,” explained Rosenquest, as he manually pressed espresso with intense precision and focus. The philosophy behind Chapter One Coffee and Tea is that of strategy and thoughtfulness. The couple encourages people to understand the elaborate process and authenticity that is required to ensure that each customer’s experience is more than satisfactory. Whether creating pour over, slow drip, french press, or espresso – there is a constant emphasis on the water to coffee ratio that is being used - in order to extract ample flavor profile. Their scientific theory on how to promote flavor has multiple layers: the time of the extract, the time it takes to brew the coffee, the heat of the water used, and the type of coffee bean chosen. The couple furthered their education on their product before beginning their business at Montreal Coffee Academy just across the border in Montreal, Quebec. “We take the time to discover what we need to help our coffee be expressed the best,” Rosenquest declared with immense satisfaction.
Every single step and supplies used in the coffee being sold at Chapter One has been perfected with confidence. The ingredients are carefully selected or made right inside the library. The café makes their own flavored syrups by using a boiling technique. You can add a shot of Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, or Coffee Syrup to any beverage on the menu. The amount of sugar included is minimum while the flavor remains optimum. In addition to their in-house syrups, a local honey from Sacred Roots Maple, based out of Altona, NY, is offered as a natural sweetener. A magical combination between the syrups and homemade seltzer adds another organic option of flavored sodas to their menu.
Chapter Four: Partnerships
Chapter One prides itself on developing partnerships with other local businesses. The café features four different types of coffee from Lakeside Coffee beans, based out of Rouses Point, NY. Depending on the style of beverage you choose to order, there is opportunity to try Guatemalan, Mocha Java (an Indonesian Blend), Brazilian or Sumatran beans. The espresso blend is a perfected house-made combination of Ethiopian and Brazilian coffee. For the non-coffee drinkers, the Rosenquests’ collaborated with Vermont Tea and Trading from across Lake Champlain. Although a few hours from home, the couple felt it would make for a great partnership, allowing the café to feature quality teas with a consistent selection between 13 different flavors.
Rulf’s Orchards is also a proud partner, providing snacks for Chapter One customers. Next to the register, a pastry case is the site for fresh baked cookies, cakes, and muffins, with a constant rotation. The Rosenquest team explained that when they decided to open their café, they wanted it to be a focused trade, devoted to strictly making beverages. Buying and selling the Orchard’s delicious pastries saves time and allows them to keep their craft at an expert level, all while supporting another local business.
Their largest partnership stands with where the baristas and beans reside. The Plattsburgh Public Library brings business to the café, and vice versa. Tracy expressed gratitude toward the events being held all around them inside the public space. There are many ways to obtain benefits from the café by supporting the literature rotation. If you become a Public Library member, you receive a free cup of coffee. You can get yourself the same reward if you buy a box of used books. There are endless ways for customers to make use of both entities and benefit from each. What better partnership than coffee and books?
Chapter Five: For the Future
Plattburgh’s community has welcomed Chris and Tracy, as well as their two baristas, Alex and Corinna, with open arms. Only a year and a half at their current library location, the business is already having to explore options of expansion. No decisions have been made yet, but the future will definitely call for more space and more coffee. By creating such a pure and original design for their beverages, the high demand has been close to follow.
The Rosenquests are not solely looking after the growth of their business at Chapter One Coffee and Tea, they are also building a family as new parents to their son, Miles, who brings a warm energy to their café space. It is admirable to see how much this couple takes on, with such eagerness, open-mindedness, and grace. Chapter One is defined by genuinely good people, providing customers with warm hospitality and refreshments.
For more information, visit the Chapter One Coffee and Tea Facebook page.