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.
Do you remember those late summer evenings sneaking into grandpa’s garage fridge for a cold one? Well take that imagery and switch the bubbly brew for a cold brew coffee and that is the feeling you get walking into High Octane. The décor has a rugged motor head inspired feel with pops of bright colors and rustic finishes—all of which feels like the ultimate man cave. We were immediately greeted by a warm and inviting staff. They were glad to answer all of our questions and even made a few suggestions. One of our favorite aspects of a local café or eatery is the emphasis on supporting local. I would dare to say that it is even one of our criteria for a quality spot. High Octane meets that criteria as well. All of their dairy comes from Baker’s Golden Dairy. The non-homogenized milk makes for a great mix with the hand-roasted coffee. We tried a few fan favorites on this encounter. I tried the “Black Stallion,” which in the words of owner Joe, “will put some hair on your chest.” (Not that I need any help in that department.) This was an iced drink made with espresso and their very own cold brew, a fun drink inspired in response to the infamous unicorn frap we all remember that is so last month at this point. I would not suggest this for the meek or mild hearted though, it will give you the proverbial “tune up.” Spade on the other hand tried one of High Octane’s hand-crafted milkshakes. These can be ordered with or without espresso. They have tons of fun flavors to try that are perfect for those hot summer afternoons.My personal favorite part of this java journey was the time spent with owner and operator Joe Sylvester. Joe embodies what it means to be a “man’s man,” yet still has a warm-hearted aura. Joe is a professional monster truck driver, racer, and overall motor head. Not quite your average barista, this guy can hold a conversation about big block engines and small batch coffee all in the same breath. His inspiration was to create a space where your average Joe can come in for a cup of Joe, but still enjoy the subtle delicacies of single-origin coffee. There does seem to be a whole demographic left to the wolves of corporate coffee shops that deserves locally roasted coffee. He focuses on simplicity and quality and roasts all of his own coffee.
Community, connections, and care are all high on the Jimmy and Spade priority level which is why we had so much fun spending the afternoon with Joe and the team at High Octane Coffee. Besides the use of local products, something else that stood to the forefront was the fact that Joe learned to roast from our very own local roast master, Matt Campbell. This shows not only a sense of community, but a humbleness that most millennials don’t possess. With YouTube videos on everything from how to fly a plane to what to get your grandma for her birthday, we think we can learn to do anything with a click of a button.Future plans for High Octane are for expansion. Two other local locations are in the works. This may seem like a decision that has a monetary motivation, but the concept is more altruistic at heart. The team feels that other cities would benefit from the coffee concept they have created, so keep a heads up for a High Octane in your neighborhood. While car shows and bike nights may seem like a novelty only enjoyed at your local watering hole this is not the case here. Friday nights you can ride or drive down to High Octane for their “Caffeine and Gasoline” event and show off your two (or four) wheeled baby. The idea is reminiscent of post WWII Britain where café racers got their names from riders jaunting from café to café in the sleek bikes. Whatever your level of coffee connoisseur-ism is, High Octane will exceed your expectations while giving you a fun ride.