It feels as though summer just began, yet as I look around I see leaves falling and pumpkin spice lattes hitting the menu board at the local big-box coffee shop. While this means summer festivals are wrapping up and backyard barbecues are coming to an end, there is a silver lining. First, it means that it’s time to bust out the boots, sweaters, and hoodies. (Which we all know we have been secretly waiting for.) Best of all, what this means is as we approach holiday season we also approach carb season. Whether its fond memories of baking with grandma or the smell of pizzelles on the weekends, there’s something about fall that just screams baked goods.
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While muscle cars and macchiatos may not seem like a normal combination, we have found a place betwixt the two realms. Much like the Chronicles of Narnia, we have found a place that is a world between worlds. High Octane Coffee is a creation that is anything but common amongst the trendy coffee spots filled with dirty haired, bearded hipsters popping up. This is a place where people of all walks of life are welcome. We had the pleasure of entering this complex café recently and spending some time with owner Joe Sylvester.
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Well friends, it’s been a while since I’ve gotten the pleasure to talk to all of you. Time seems to be tight lately between softball practices, going to school, work—you know, just day-to-day things piling up. I must say though, I have truly missed having the opportunity to write and express myself to you all on here. That aside, Spade and I recently visited a place that we must tell you all about. Ben Ratner from Lib’s Market invited us down for brunch a couple of weekends ago and it was by far one of the greatest eating encounters we have had thus far.
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Recently we had the pleasure of spending some time with some dear friends of ours at Branch Street Coffee Roasters. They gave us the opportunity to attend one of their coffee tastings with full access. This was a public event that was free of charge. This occasion was in celebration of their recent achievement of a 94 rating from the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). They are the first here in Youngstown to even be rated much less to receive a rating this high. This event allowed us to taste their award winning coffee with co-owner Matt Campbell and better understand all of the tasting notes of the aromatic java. This was a huge privilege for us and a great way to gain some coffee knowledge. We decided this would also be a perfect opportunity to ask Matt a few questions that have been on my mind. This will begin a new series for Spade and I that we are entitling “5 Course Interview”. The concept is that we will ask 5 questions that will take you deeper into the mind of a local owner or chef that better explains their specific trade or craft, just as you would go through 5 courses in a gourmet restaurant. Our hope is that this will be a bridge between owners and patrons. It allows the owner/chef to preach their message while also giving the patron a more personalized perspective you might not get in an ordinary dining setting. We hope you all enjoy getting to know Matt as much as we have.
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As we set off on our quest for culinary excellence across the valley, I find it only fitting to begin our voyage at the place that has restored my hope in the industry. The point of this blog isn’t necessarily to find the best food, but rather to find the places that have the best heart. Places that you really want to be at. Places that make you want to come back time and time again. Branch Street Coffee Roasters has become that place for me and Spade. It has become a weekly retreat that we continuously look forward to.
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