Blogs

Book Release for Diagnosing Ghosts

Cesar Antonio Evans spent years writing poetry as a form of personal catharsis. When he changed his name to Cesar last summer, he realized his poetry foreshadowed the change.
Volta has the pleasure of hosting the book release of Diagnosing Ghosts on Saturday, February 2 at 7 p.m.

Join Evans and the Volta family for a live reading and discussion about his published work.

If you’d like to read more about Cesar Antonio Evans and his work, you can visit his website

MFA@FLA reading series kick-off

This Thursday at 8 p.m. marks the beginning of the MFA@FLA Fiction and Poetry spring reading series at Volta.

Taryn Gilbert will be opening with some of her original poetry followed by a fiction piece written by Jim Cooney.

Pair this literature with one of our soothing teas, a decadent hot chocolate or a homemade pastry, and you certainly won’t regret your evening.

More information about the MFA@FLA Poetry and Fiction reading series can be found on their Facebook page.

Volta coffee cuppings continue this spring

It's easy to get a little lost looking at our brewed coffee menu. That is why on Saturday mornings at 11 Volta staff hosts free coffee cuppings - think wine tasting, but with coffee - to help you understand what to look for in a coffee and how to better choose one.

By the end of the cupping, you will learn how to detect the flavor notes and other complexities of the coffee bean and about the cupping process. Every week we'll sample different coffees from roasters across the United States, and on special occassions, from around the world. If there is a particular bean our staff and customers enjoyed, we will bring it in to serve at the shop. Don't be intimidated. No prior knowledge of coffee (or wine) is necessary. We look forward to see you there!

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for any cupping updates.

If you'd like to learn more about the cupping process:

Food For Thought - VOLTA COFFEE from Eric Flagg on Vimeo.

Spring 2013 Hours

Our winter break is over and it's time to make more coffee.

Mon - Fri: 8 am to 9 pm
Saturday: 9 am to 9 pm
Sunday: 9 am to 5 pm (no change)

Ecco's Colombia Buenos Aires

Finca Panama, Esmeralda, and Palo AltoFinca Buenos Aires is something of a miracle coffee. The farm is located just outside of the small town of Nilo, in an area just now recovering from years of neglect thanks to Colombia's civil unrest. It is situated in the small department of Cudinamarca, north of the more famous coffee growing region of Huila-- not exactly a region known for producing specialty grade coffee. The coffees are grown in the foothills of a series of volcanos in a national park; the terrain is rugged and undeveloped. Single-track jeep trails wind up steep mountain sides, and the farms run wild under the cover of rain forest vegetation and banks of clouds. Unlike other regions with clearly delineated farms with neatly planted rows of coffees, the farms outside of Nilo are very small and draw upon both recently planted coffee and over-story fruit trees along with legacy coffee trees growing wild up and down the sides of the mountain trails.

Farmer Carlos Vargas is undertaking a herculean task of producing amazing coffees under very difficult situations: unusually heavy rains, almost no infrastructure, and crazy single-track trails in and out of the farm.

Amber Fox, writing about the farm, notes "the well-being of the environment and the workers are intrinsic to the approach Carlos Vargas takes to sustainability and further improving quality, and the results of his holistic approach sing in the cup."

The coffee is a bit wild, like the farm itself: dark red berry notes under layers of tobacco and cinnamon, but it picks up the flavors of mulled red wine as it cools. Ecco describes it as juicy pineapple and citrus with florals and red fruit flavors as it cools.

The coffee from Finca Buenos Aires is also of very limited supply-- Ecco was only able to purchase 7 bags of green coffee from Vargas this year. Try it soon, because it will be another year before coffee from this farm will be available again.

Finca Panama, Esmeralda, and Palo Alto
Finca Panama, Esmeralda, and Palo Alto

Special Poetry Reading: Glenn Freeman

January 26, 8pm

Volta is pleased to be able to join with the University of Florida Department of English in presenting Glenn Freeman reading from his recent poetry collection "Traveling Light."

A graduate of UF, Freemen's first book of poems, Keeping the Tigers Behind Us, won the Elixir Press Poetry Prize and was published in 2007. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Cimarron Review, The Lullwater Review, and Zone 3 among many other journals. About his recent book Traveling Light, poet Kathleen Halme says "Freeman's gorgeous poems conjugate in registers of emotion 'we didn't even know we were trying to feel.' Contemplating our deep needs and meanings, he writes in a voice that is 'the lush language of relation, the All.' A remarkable book of moving, illimitable poetry-a gift."

Spring 2012 UF MFA Poetry/Fiction Reading Series

Volta is pleased to announce the latest schedule for the UF MFA poetry and fiction reading series. Stop by the shop to hear works read by up-and-coming authors and poets from UF's acclaimed writing program. Readings begin at 8 and last about an hour.

Spring 2012 Schedule

  • February 2: Fiction: Carrie Guss, Poetry: Hai-Dang Phan
  • February 15: Poetry: Andrew Donovan, Fiction: Emma Smith-Stevens
  • March 15: Fiction: Rebecca Evanhoe, Poetry: Rebecca Baumann
  • March 29: Poetry: Claire Eder, Fiction: Amy Scharmann
  • April 12: Fiction: Sabrina Jaszi, Poetry: Guest Poet TBA

Holiday Hours!

School is out, GNV is slowing down, and Volta is going into maintenance mode.

Volta will be closing at 6pm on Monday-Saturday until the new year.

We will be closed on Christmas and Boxing Day, but open every other day including New Year's Eve and day. Regular hours resume on January 2, 2012

Additionally, we have no scheduled public coffee cuppings until after the winter break.

Manantiales del Frontino Geisha

End of the semester. End of the year. End of Herman Cain's campaign. There's got to be something out there that you should be celebrating. And we have the coffee for you. Manantiales del Frontino Geisha, from Colombia. Selected as coffee of the year by the SCAA. Intelligentsia sells it for $109 a pound. We're offering it for 8.50 a cup. Yes. It's expensive-- but still less than a bottle of craft beer at most bars. And if you like coffee, it's an amazing treat. For starters, it tastes like sugarcane and flowers. As it cools, it starts to taste more like sweet honeydew melon. We have one pound left. It will be gone soon. It's your last chance to try what was picked by the specialty coffee industry as the best of the year.

You can learn more about the Mananitales del Frontino from Intelligentsia's snappy new website.

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters: The Volta Visit
Handsome Coffee Roasters co-founder (and World Barista Champion) Mike Phillips works with Brie on v60 technique

In addition to the coffees from Intelligentsia/Ecco, Volta staff and customers cup and brew coffee from all over North America looking for exceptional coffees to add to our menu. Most of the time when we receive samples, the coffees don't make it any closer to the menu than the Sunday cupping table. We can afford to be selective-- Intelligentsia has set a high bar, and there's just not much reason to bring in coffees that don't offer something special. Most roasters don't have the resources or connections to source coffee as carefully, nor do they have the dedication to quality control. Every so often, we do find roasters who have amazing coffees that offer a notable contrast to what we can otherwise offer. You'll see a number of guest roasters have their coffee on the bar throughout the year, but three in particular have impressed us enough that they regularly cycle through the menu: Handsome Coffee Roasters, of Los Angeles. Ritual Roasters, from San Francisco. Coava, from Portland.

In spite of being the new guys on the scene, Handsome Coffee Roasters has long-standing ties to Volta. Co-founders Chris Owens, Tyler Wells, and Mike Phillips have been crossing paths with Volta from points all over the country. I first met Chris Owens a year before we opened the shop. At the time, Chris was working for Counter Culture and Volta was just a business plan-in-progress. I remember long discussions over dinner as I pummeled Chris for advice about how we should shape our espresso and brewed coffee service. When we had our opening party, Chris and Melissa drove down from Atlanta to help us celebrate. Both will always be considered part of the extended Volta family. I first met Tyler when he was managing the coffee bar at Frank Hot Dogs and Cold Beer, in Austin, TX. We couldn't talk much because he was competing in the SCRBC and I was a judge, but after the competition he flew in to spend a week at Volta while he dialed in his USBC coffee and attended cuppings and trainings with Intelligentsia's Geoff Watts. Although I never judged Mike in competition, I first met him when he won the US Barista Competition in Portland-- and later, while he was the training director at Intelligentsia, he patiently answered all of my questions about brew specs and techniques.

Now that Mike, Tyler, and Chris have struck out on their own to create Handsome Coffee Roasters, it was pretty much inevitable that we would be working with them. They've hit all of the right notes: small batches of carefully sourced coffees (directly traded whenever possible, but also working with top-grade importers); fastidiously intense QC procedures from purchase through production roasting; focused and productive customer service and training. So far, Handsome have been very limited in their offerings. Two coffees from El Salvador and Honduras. One or two other Central American and one Kenyan coffee. A Central American-centric espresso blend that shimmers with bright fruit flavors. The Handsome crew are taking their time to build their coffee offerings to reflect their own tastes and personalities-- and we're very happy to be along for the ride.

World Barista Championship 2011
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