Written by Silvia Stroie
You may have noticed packages of vintage brown coffee bags with the logo Zermatt Rösterei hanging out on the shelves at Petit Royal, or perhaps enjoyed a delicious cup of their coffee at Sonmatten (among other places), and wondered where this new delight has come from. After all, good coffee is a treasure, and one may be excused for not expecting something of this caliber on top of the mountains, no matter how preeminent a locale may be. But in this case, Zermatt has outdone itself again, and has given space for a fantastic new venture. Zermatt Rösterei is the brainchild of Marián Podola, an imaginative and daring young chef with impeccable culinary credentials, whose passion for coffee has lead him to open up his own business; selecting, roasting, and packaging premium coffee right here in Zermatt.
About the founder Marián
Marián comes to the entrepreneurial world sideways, having tackled a variety of fields successfully first. As a child he was a competitive skier and swimmer in his native Czech Republic, before becoming a snowboard instructor for a number of years. His lust for adventure leads him at the age of 17 to hitchhike to Greece, where a love of cooking sprouted. Heading to London to pursue a culinary career, he took that world by storm, working with the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Jason Atherton or staging at Heston Blumenthal’s development kitchen and various glitterati as a personal chef across Europe.
Though adventures were plentiful, the call of nature and the mountains proved irresistible. 12 years into his UK sojourn, he decided to fold his tent and make his way back to the Alps, balancing the hard work and dedication to the kitchen with the freedom and release of the slopes. It was here in Zermatt when he noticed that he could bring his talents, spirit for adventure, and love of coffee together.
“I love my job and what I do. For second half of my professional cooking carrier my goal was to make dinners happy and evoke emotions over a dining table having to share fantastic flavour variations with friends and family. I believe in a right setting you can evoke same emotions over a brew bar where you get people drinking various single origins and blends served by knowledgeable and passionate people.”
What makes Zermatt Rösterei so special …
… is its dedication to personalized service and client care
– clearly a part of Marián’s past as a personal chef. He blends a passion and “Gefühl” with a thoroughly technological approach to roasting, saying “I am looking forward to receive TDS meter and density meter soon, which will allow me to make more accurate judgments on how to approach certain green when it comes to the sample roasting and so on. TDS allows me to control extraction therefore mouth feel and taste in general.”
Dedication to sustainability, fair trade & environmental protection
He is also very passionate about sustainability, fair trade, and environmental protection, well aware of the impact of the commodity on the environment and its importance to communities all over the world. “The global coffee market is vast and vitally important – culturally, socially and economically. As a major global commodity and crop, it has a huge role to play in our quest for a more sustainable society.” The Zermatt Rösterei is dedicated to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible, explaining that the “packaging is fully recyclable after you scissor the zip lock mechanism and we are starting to pack our coffee into 95% biodegradable Nespresso compatible capsules for home edition machines.”
When it comes to the beans themselves, he takes the most pride. “We buy fully traceable seasonal green bean coffee. We do pay little more then premium Italian roasters for our well selected and sometimes hand sorted green when it comes to micro lots. We believe in sustainable production chain making sure that the farmer is getting fair wage too and everyone along the way until we receive green here in Zermatt. We roast 100% Specialty Arabica and looking to bring Specialty Robusta too. We believe margins in coffee should allow for people to enjoy more coffee for their money as they would do at the moment.”
Now, how often can you support a venture with your heart, mind and taste-buds at once? I happily raise my mug of cold-brew to Marián and Zermatt Rösterei for letting me (and the rest of us in town) do just that.