August 8, 2009
Octane will be opening it’s second location in the next few days in Emory Village. Our new location is at the corner of N. Decatur and Oxford Road (see map on the locations page). Stay tuned for more details!!
November 9, 2008
And so they gave us a gnome. really!
This weekend Alyssa and I attended Cabbagetown’s annual chili cook-off as Octane! Alyssa slaved over some delicious Five Point Pozole (Vegan! Ahem!) all week so that we could serve it up for the hood. Well, it ended up being more than just the hood. Somewhere more around 15,000 people showed up. We ran out of chili in about 2 hours or so, left with some delicious iced coffee (21st of September to go along with our Mexican theme). Even after we ran out of coffee and chili and we cleared the tables you could see Octane lovers chilling at our tent. It was fantastic.
At the end of the day it was decided we had the best spirit (aka moustaches) and so we won a cabbagetown grown gnome and life was good. My arms hurt like hell from carrying all of the chili the two blocks to the park, but there was something pleasant about being able to simply carry it down versus hauling it all in on some massive pick up truck into the park. Not to mention our little Japanese butane stoves versus the giant catering equipment that some restaurants had… there’s something endearing about the underdog.
November 3, 2008
I feel like we’re in the midst of a substantial green revolution. I can’t help but reference this from a psychological standpoint, as I know that its easy to fall into “group think” when surrounded by others that share your similar opinions. Working on this side of coffee I feel like I am constantly surrounded by people who are especially conscious of where their food comes from, how it got there… and for those that aren’t wholly aware of where their coffee at Octane came from, we the baristas are always willing to engage in that conversation. So it was only a matter of time that we applied the same conversation to the other items we serve in the shop.
The first and most obvious step we have started to take in this direction is in the form of milk. It was difficult to justify pulling out the Publix brand milk to pour in someone’s cappuccino when our ability to track the source of this milk was more than difficult. Furthermore, when presented with better tasting options to work with in barista competition, it was strange to come back to store-brand milk to serve over the counter every day.
We began the transition by sourcing a delish local organic (but not certified organic, sorry) milk by the name of Sparkman’s Cream Valley. Unfortunately, Georgia is not well known for its great dairy farms, but we got lucky when our local grocery co-op Sevananda began selling Sparkman’s by the half gallon. Offering this milk as an option for a small upcharge opened our eyes as we realized a majority of our customers were eager to make the change with us. The best part is that it tastes AMAZING. Its buttery qualities don’t mask the espresso, and it steams up so nice.
Once we realized it was our best option, there was really no way we could deny serving it in all of our beverages. And with that, we found a distributor for Sparkman’s, and voila! We are now serving all of our milk beverages with Sparkman’s whole and skim milks. We are the first cafe the dairy is working with, and they’re eager to come pay us a visit from Moultrie (about four hours south of here) and talk to us about organic dairy farming.
Also, did you know that Sparkman’s has chocolate milk? And butter? Yes, both are delicious. (I can’t believe I am about to admit this, but) I have recently rediscovered the amazingness that cereal is with chocolate milk. Don’t tell my mom.
September 8, 2008
June 4, 2008
Check out the vans blog Off the Wall. Danielle’s vans were found on her flickr and featured on their newest blog post. For good reason! Along with a few other tales of barista’s and their vans. Check it out!
May 4, 2008
The Octane crew are up here in Minneapolis, Minn for the SCAA and 2008 US Barista Competition. Both Ben and Danielle are competing along with 48 other competitors for 16 spots along with the 9 other regional finalists, for the 25 semi final spots.
Ben competed fourth early on Friday. He did great, he tore it up! He was very relaxed and comfortable, enjoying himself and having fun. He did really good and we’re super excited for him. Go Finland! It’s was a good day with lots of really good competitors. I’ve got to say it looks tough up there. This is my first USBC, but I have to say it looks really tight this year. All the competitors are very, very good and well prepared!
Danielle was up next for the Octane crew on day 2. Off the bat her microphone started cutting out, but you wouldn’t know it. She was a champ! She presented herself with such confidence to the judges. It was great, she never skipped a beat. She delivered herself with such excellence and professionalism. Great job D!
Come the afternoon after all 50 competitors had gone, the semi finalist were announced. And Danielle made it in!! She competes 22nd tomorrow. Watch it here live.
May 2, 2008
It is with a bit of sadness that I write this tasting post. This was my last tasting with Octane, and my last bar shift was this past Monday. Don’t worry, it’s all on good terms, Chris and I are just going on a little adventure!
Since it was my last, our cupping this past Monday was centered around one of my favorite things, CHEESE! Really, I love just about every cheese I’ve ever encountered. Let’s just say, I used to be vegan and what was the thing I ate when I decided that I actually love dairy, a grilled cheese sandwich accompanied by a cheese quesadilla!
Our set-up tonight was through different varieties of cheese processes. A chevre (from a local dairy!), a mild cheddar (from dublin), brie, a washed rind (munster), a classic hard (abricone with a red wine wash), and a blue (sheeps milk mirablue). It was stellar, there was also some pinot noir, dogfish head 60 minute ipa, and assorted crackers to pair.
While we tasted we noted each cheese’s:
- Texture (smooth, grainy, crunchy, etc.)
- Density/weight (how compact the cheese feels in your mouth)
- Intensity (how flavorful the cheese is)
- Acidity (tartness, lemoniness)
- Fruit (fresh dairy tones, sweetness)
- Flavors (earthy, nutty, roasty, toasted, musty, mushroomy, meaty, et al)
- Finish (how long the flavors remain in the mouth)
As soon as the cheese was set out people gathered to partake. The overall favorite for the night was the chevre, for it’s mild creaminess and the fact that you could eat a pound of it before taking ill.
Next time I do a cheese tasting I would love to explore different regions and the cheeses they produce, or a milk type, or… soo many cheeses..
I am currently in Minneopolis at the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America)’s annual conference and the United States Barista Championship (ps this is the live feed link, click it to watch what’s happening and chat). Ben Helfen and Danielle Glasky are both here to represent Octane at the competition and I am here representing Octane through the weekend as a USBC judge. John Cole is here to blog about Octane’s goings ons, so keep reading here. But also, if you want to, I will continue to write about fun times with coffee at tampthis.com! Please add my new blog! Thank you everyone.
April 22, 2008
Today is Earth Day and yesterday was Erin’s, my lovely co-worker, birthday. Everybody knows that have tastings on Mondays, what could we possibly have tasted… birthday cake!!!
Here’s a little history for you..
The tradition of placing candles on birthday cake is is said to have come from the Greeks, who used place lit candles on cakes to make them glow like the moon, then they would take the cake to the temple of Artemis, the Goddess of Moon. Some scholars say that candles were placed on the cake because people believe that the smoke of the candle carried their wishes and prayers to the gods who lived in the skies. Others believe that the custom originated in Germany where people used to place a large candle in the middle of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life’.
Nowadays, people place candles on birthday cakes and make a wish before blowing out the candle. If you blow out all candles in one breath that means your wish will come true! Some people also smear out the name of the person before slicing of the cake to bring good luck.
Around the middle of 17th century, Europeans had made considerable advancement in the art of making cakes. They began to make what can be called precursor to modern cakes that were round and had icing.
The phrase “Happy Birthday” did not appear on birthday cakes until the song Happy Birthday to You was popularized in the early 1900s.
We tasted lemon cake with lemon glaze, yellow cake with butter cream frosting, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. Also Erin make an amazing lemon yogurt cake with lemon-orange frosting! They were all great!
I’m sure if you check Curt’s flickr he will have the pictures posted soon.. :) (and ask him about his coffee butter, it’s fantastic!)