Five Questions With A BGA Member- Ben Helfen.

(photo by Cat Norman. Used by permission)

This Five Questions post features Atlanta barista, and BGA Executive Council member, Ben Helfen from Octane Coffee. Ben's helped organize and make the Thursday Night Throwdowns more popular around the country. He's an amazing coffee professional, who's always trying to learn more about the craft. He's married to an awesome lady Brooke, who creates really cool cup sleeves from recycled plastics. Here's his five questions.

1. Cage match: Hockey and Soccer. Who comes out on top?

Well, that's a tough one. I love my Atlanta Thrashers (hockey) and go to as many home games as I can. But over the past few years, I think football (yes, I'm one of those guys that calls soccer "football") has taken the number one spot in my heart. On a global scale I think people are way more passionate about football than hockey. Also, I have a tattoo of the football club I support (Arsenal F.C.) and have yet to get a Thrashers tattoo...

2. Why are you a BGA Member and member of the BGA's Executive Council?

The Specialty Coffee industry has been really good to me in the short time I've been involved with it, and I want to be able to spread the goodness as much as I can to others by giving back. Being a part of the BGA and being on the Executive Council is one of the ways I can give back to the industry that I love.

3. What's the most important lesson you've ever learned in coffee?

No matter how amazing your coffee is, no matter how awesome the equipment you have, no matter how skilled your baristas are, it all means nothing if your customer service isn't of the highest level. Customers will choose mediocre coffee with great customer service over great coffee with bad customer service 9 times out of 10.

4. What was your biggest failure in life, and how have you taken what you learned and grown from it?
My biggest failure is not being more aggressive in pursuing my dreams. I'm still learning how to not give up on what I want in life. I'm getting there, but there's room for improvement.

5. Favorite album thus far this year?
Top 5 in order: (1) Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus (2) Crazy for You by Best Coast (3) Teen Dream by Beach House (4) Crystal Castles by Crystal Castles (5) Body Talk Pt. 1 by Robyn

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