December Barista’s Choice


????BARISTA HIGHLIGHT | Meet our fearless leader, Michelle and her barista’s choice creation, the “Holiday P-Ardi,” an Ardi cold brew, cranberry, ginger-beer coffee mocktail ????☕️???? 10% of proceeds for the “Holiday P-Ardi” being donated to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
Michelle manages our awesome staff and we are so incredibly grateful for her positive attitude and dedication to making the cafe an amazing place to work! Learn a little more about Michelle and her delicious drink below ????????
Q Tell us about your barista’s choice drink!
A: I wanted to create something fun and celebratory for the Holidays – something that would feel festive and seasonal, but not a flavored latte style drink. I used to manage bars, so I have a lot of experience creating cocktail menus, and wanted to use that skill along with my love of iced sparkling drinks to create a “Coffee Mocktail”. For this drink, I drew inspiration from one of my favorite classic cocktails, the “Dark & Stormy”. The drink is typically made with Dark Rum, lime, and ginger beer, but my creation replaces the dark rum with our cold brewed Ethiopia Ardi coffee concentrate. I then added a shot of house-made cranberry syrup to add a winter flavor to the drink. The fruity flavor profile of the Ardi blends nicely with the lime and cranberry and the molasses quality of the coffee is reminiscent of a dark rum. You feel like you’re drinking a cocktail at a Holiday Party (thus the name!), but it’s non-alcoholic and caffeinated. The drink is built like a cocktail using a cocktail shaker, poured over ice, and then topped with the ginger beer and garnished with crystalized ginger and sugared cranberries. It’s served with a straw so that you can mix the drink around as you enjoy it (rest assured, it’s a compostable straw).
Q What charity are you choosing to donate proceeds of your drink to this month and why?
A: I’m choosing to donate proceeds from my drink to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (OCRCC). The staff and volunteers work tirelessly to stop sexual violence and its impact through support, education, and advocacy. As a past Board Member, serving as the Development Committee Chair, this organization is near and dear to me. As the manager of the cafes, I value the resources they offer to help educate our staff through workshops aimed at creating and upholding a safe space for all.
Q Tell us a a fun fact about yourself
A: I was one of the first employees when Open Eye first opened in 1999 in the location where Neal’s Deli is now located!
Q What is your New Years Resolution?
A: I don’t have any specific resolutions, but I do like to think of the New Year as a good time to reflect and take the time to work on continuing to be a better person to myself and those around me.
Q Cats or Dogs
A: I don’t have favorites – I love them both!
Q Beach or Mountains
A: A mountainous beach
Q What’s your favorite drink to order in cafes right now?
A: Either a cup of black drip coffee, a mocha cappuccino with our new house-made whipped cream on top, or an oat milk matcha latte
Q What book(s) are you reading right now?
A: Most recently read: “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
And I’m currently re-visiting some of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks like “Heart of the Home” by local author Ann Jackson, and the cookbook from Athens, GA vegetarian eatery, “The Grit”. I read about food and beverage a lot 😉
Q Favorite alt Milk?
A: Oat Milk hands down.
Q Go-to Latte art
A: When I have the rare pleasure of getting on bar and steaming milk, I like to go for the rosetta.
Q Favorite herbal tea?
A: I absolutely love the curiously earthy Rooibos tea….Especially made as a latte with steamed oat milk and a little bit of honey
Q Favorite Carrboro Coffee Roasters coffee?
A: I’m a huge fan of Ethiopia Ardi in general. The Holiday blend is my favorite right now – It’s a harmonious blend of two coffees we’ve previously highlighted on pour over at the cafes – the La Rosa Yellow Catuai, and the Moonset Dwarf Gesha. It’s floral and honey sweet, with a smooth black tea finish. I really love its versatility which allows it to be equally enjoyed using different brewing methods – not only is it spectacular as a pour over at the cafes, but also just as lovely when brewed at home using my french press.