Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 88 of 99

Frank Dennis BUILDING A DECAF COFFEE POWERHOUSE By Chris Ryan MASTER FRANK DENNIS WAS 17 years old when he began a long-term love affair with wine. As a high school senior living in King City, Ontario, in Canada, he quickly devoured Emile Peynaud's wine-tasting tome Le Gout de Vin—though he was still under the country's legal drinking age. "I was astounded by the descriptions he gave in his book for the essence of wine, and I became fascinated by the idea of collecting wine," Frank says. As he grew older, Frank began to amass his collection. "We would head to Buffalo, N.Y., to purchase wines unavailable in Canada," Frank says. Later, while completing an MBA program at the University of Toronto, he formed wine-tasting groups to build his understanding of wine and further expand his collection. Fortunately for Frank, his passion for wine was not just a fl aunting of the law or an expensive hobby—rather, it helped him cultivate a discerning palate that would translate well to a career in spe- cialty coffee. A marketing professional by training, Frank was working for the global food corporation Kraft when the company noticed his particular tasting sensibilities—honed through his interest in wine—and tapped him to work with Kraft's specialty-coffee brands. First he worked with specialty roaster Na- bob Coffee Company before being assigned to run Swiss Water Decaffeination—the company that would come to be his professional calling. When Kraft sold Swiss Water to a private-equity company in 2000, Frank took over the then-newly independent Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company. In nearly two decades since, as Swiss Water's president and CEO, he has taken the company public, implemented practices to improve quality and effi ciency, and positioned Swiss Water as a quality-committed company. 89

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