River Kiener

River Kiener is the general manager at Java Jolt Coffee House in Jacksonville. Java Jolt will host its third “Behind the Bar” event on Saturday, focusing on espresso. If you are interested in attending the session, visit or call Java Jolt to add your name to the list in advance.

When did you start working at Java Jolt?

I started working as a barista there during my last couple of years in college.

What is a regular workday like for you?

Typically, I will get to Java Jolt at 7 a.m. We have a really great staff, and they get there a little while before I do. We bake fresh every day: muffins, scones and cinnamon rolls. When I come in, I make sure everything is like it should be. Then, we usually have a rush in the morning. We will have a downtime between when we open and the lunch crowd, so that is when I will try to do paperwork and that sort of fun managerial stuff. During the lunch rush, it is “all hands on deck.” After the lunch rush, we will do the fun marketing stuff in the afternoon like social media posts and event planning.

Where does Java Jolt get its coffee?

We get our coffee from a company out of Washington called Dillanos; they roast for us every Monday, and we get it by Wednesday, so it is super fresh.

What kind of coffee does Java Jolt have?

We have our house blend that we brew every day, and we have a single origin that we keep on rotation. Right now, in addition to the house blend, we have a Sumatran coffee.

How much coffee do you drink a day?

An unhealthy amount. You have to taste your product to make sure the quality is there! I like iced coffee and cold brews, so I will start off with a cup of iced coffee in the morning, then one to three shots of espresso throughout the day, then maybe a cup of coffee somewhere in there.

What other drinks does Java Jolt serve?

We have all our espresso-based drinks, a vanilla and a spiced chai, coffee-based frappes — we can do milk-based, as well. We just released our signature energy drink; it is made from red lotus extract, so it is supposed to be a more natural alternative to energy drinks.

Tell us about Saturday’s “Behind the Bar.”

This will be our third “Behind the Bar” event, and it will focus on espresso and espresso theory, if you want to be super nerdy about it. The reason we created this event was to offer coffee education to the community because we believe the more you know about coffee, the more you enjoy it. We will introduce the espresso machine to people and show them the parts. We will talk about how to brew espresso the proper way. We try to keep the participant list short because we literally go behind the bar, and there is not much room. The session will start at 3 p.m., and if that time slot fills up, we will open up a 4 p.m., and so on. It is cool to be able to share a little bit of our coffee love with the community.

Is there a common misconception about coffee?

One misconception is that coffee is a really bitter, dark, burnt-tasting drink, but that really depends on how you brew it. I think we brew it in a way that you can really enjoy the flavor of the coffee, and it will not leave you with a bitter, bad aftertaste.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.

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