Meet Your Barista
Tell me a little bit about your job – for those who don’t know, what does a head roaster’s job at Heine Brothers’ entail?
I’m the Head Roaster and green coffee buyer for HB. Most of my day is spent in production, or overseeing production (i.e. quality control, inventory management, and facilitating communication among my staff or with cafe managers). I’m also the liaison between HB and our importing co-op, Cooperative Coffees. Specifically, I am on the Sourcing and Quality, and Cooperative Impact committees. Depending on the projects we’re working on it takes only 5-10% of my time, but that work drives how we maintain relationships with our farming partners, and how we impact their lives beyond simply cutting a check for green coffee once a year.
If you’ve ever been to HB-Longest Avenue when Jenny’s working, you know you’ll be immediately greeted by a huge, contagious smile.
As her one of her fellow Assistant managers says, “Jenny is a beacon at our store. It doesn’t matter what mood she’s in, when she comes into work she is full of good energy. The customers and baristas both adore her. She’s picked up shifts at other stores and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t feel better after having met her.”
Our baristas answer the question: What was the best (or worst) holiday gift you ever got as a kid?
Kody: “A new belt from my distant aunt that I later got spanked with for not appreciating my new belt.”
André: “Best: Having your birthday on Christmas . Worst: Having your birthday on Christmas.”
Josh: “A re-gift of cheap cologne”
Kalee: “Worst – a furby”
Ashley: “Worst: my family used to have one of those “steal a gift” game things where everyone brings something for like $10. I took home outdated computer software.”
Marina: “Worst: $1 check from Grandma. Best: Harry Potter Lego set of Hogwarts Express.”
Patrick: “Worst: A set of scrapbooking supplies with a complimentary scent of cigarette smoke.”
Alison: “Worst: A goldfish that died the next morning.”
America: “PS2 with all PS1 games. Best and worst.”
Thanks to the generosity of our customers and baristas, we were able to reach our match goal of $500 and raised over $1350 with the help of your donations! The money you helped us raise will go to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which we chose for a number of reasons.
The Community Foundation has created the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville Emergency Response Fund that gives grants to victims and nonprofits who are providing on-the-ground immediate assistance AND long term services. The unfortunate reality of wildfires is that the effects are long lasting; people are displaced from their homes and some have to essentially start from scratch. Being able to give the money as directly as possible to the residents and people affected was important.
You can find out more about The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s wildfire relief efforts and donate with them here: http://www.cfmt.org/
One of our barista’s, John Mike, was moved to go volunteer to help distribute donated goods to those affected. You can read about his experience and look at his photos taken in the area in his blog post below:
Have you met April from Main Street, yet? April is new to our downtown Louisville store, and also the co-owner of SnoWhat Snoballs!
Erica, a fellow barista who nominated April, said, “April is amazing. She is a business owner, always takes care of other people and has THE BEST customer service in all of downtown. I love working with her and today she bought me lunch!”
Which location is your home store?
How long have you been working at HB?
Just a few months.
Louisville Native or Transplant?
Transplant. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky, and moved to Elizabethtown when I was 11. I moved to Louisville in 2000 for college and never left! There’s a bumper sticker that says “I’m not from Louisville but I got here as quick as I could!” – I couldn’t agree more.
You also founded SnoWhat Snoballs – which look awesome! Tell us about your business.
Awe, thank you! We’re a mobile food truck serving gourmet shaved ice. We have signature flavors that are homemade using real fruit, cane sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring. We also offer classic flavors such as Cherry and Blue Raspberry for the kid at heart and those who really can’t live without a blue tongue! Right now, we’re still pretty small, operating mostly on the weekends at fairs, festivals, and local events, such as the Buy Local First Fair, and Forecastle. We’re also available for private events, corporate parties, weddings, and birthdays! We create custom flavor profiles, even alcoholic “boozy” balls.
So what exactly is a snoball?
I’m glad you asked! The reason we call our icy treats snoballs is simple — our ice is fluffy just like snow! It’s not your typical snow cone. Our ice practically melts in your mouth and absorbs the real fruit syrups we drizzle on top. As an added bonus, we use toppings like sweetened condensed milk, caramel, and sprinkles.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always wanted to own my own business! I’ve worked as a manager for a few companies, and while I’ve loved the jobs, there are certain things that are just out of my control. Being able to make decisions in your business and having the ability to be creative in ways that a corporate job just won’t allow. I love all the little details of ordering products, and building relationships with customers and vendors. If I see a friend and want to step out of the truck and give them a hug, I can! My friend and business partner, Jessica Bledsoe, moved just outside of New Orleans for a short period in 2010. Snoball stands are everywhere in NOLA, and after trying one, we both knew, we just had to bring snoballs to Louisville. After a few years of planning and saving, and the invaluable Kayla Allinger joining the team, SnoWhat served its first snoball in April 2015.
Do you have a personal favorite snoball flavor?
Green Apple will always hold a special place in my heart, but our homemade caramel apple made with granny smith apples, cinnamon and other spices, and drizzled with creamy caramel is my new favorite.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting out?
Get up and start! I have the tendency to over-plan and overthink. After Jessica and I purchased the block ice shaver, her husband Adam said, “Well, go make some snoballs!” We jumped in with an event that weekend and haven’t looked back. It’s definitely been a learning experience. Find mentors! I talk to everyone that is willing to have a conversation with me. Their advice is golden. Always take more than you think you’ll need. Lastly, it may sound cliche’, but be prepared for failure. My first test batch of our Watermelon Basil was probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted. I kept trying and now have a recipe that our customers love.
Do you have any exciting holiday flavors or events planned?
We have recently started experimenting with snow cream! I use to make it when I was a kid, and it dawned on me that I have an endless supply of snow at my fingertips. We tested it out at Yelp’s Art in Action event and the crowd consensus is that we must add it to our menu. We’re also preparing winter flavors such as eggnog, sugar cookie, and cranberry for private parties and corporate holiday events during our off season.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not working at HBC or SnoWhat?
Cooking, creating, and cuddling with my animals.
And finally, what’s your favorite HB drink?
That’s probably the hardest question of this interview! I’m going to have to say the Fair Trade Mayan Mocha, but followed very VERY closely by the Beekeeper and the Banana Chiaberg.
Interested in booking SnoWhat Snoballs for an event this season? Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find our more on their website: www.snowhatlouisville.com or through social media: @SnoWhatLOU.
Reading and coffee are better together! That’s why we’re getting lit – literature from the library, that is.
We’re kicking off Get Lit Louisville with the Louisville Free Public Library by including a reading list of our Baristas’ favorite books that you can check out from the library and enjoy all winter:
The truth is clear: Heine Brothers’ baristas LOVE Thanksgiving food!
So which dishes did we love this year? Check it out:
Mal: “My Grandma makes a mean thanksgiving meatball + sauce, I’ll tell ya.”
Lindsay: “All of it. Turkey and dumplins is special as its a family recipe and tradition but I do love all of it. Sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie… all the things! Is it weird that I really like eating the crisp skin off the turkey as soon as its out of the oven? I know, I’m a monster.”
Erica: “Omg everything. Literally can not pick.”
Madison: “The potatoes. All of ’em. Every kind. Mashed potatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes. The stuff of dreams.”
Alison: “Hawaiian rolls. But even better. One step up….Stuffing MADE WITH HAWAIIAN ROLLS.”
Perri: “Green bean casserole”
Leslie: “SWEET POTATOES!”
Olivia: “The turkey!”
Georgia: “Green bean casserole! And wine…lots of wine”
Ian: “All. The. Casseroles.”
Lyndsie: “I wish I didn’t read the other comments, I am SO hungry now 😭
But definitely broccoli casserole and derby pie.”
Bonnita has been inspiring people at our downtown stores for a while – maybe she’s even inspired you!
In 2013, she made a drastic lifestyle change and a commitment to exercise for just 4% of her day (or one hour). Soon, that blossomed into a love for running and a life philosophy: “Be the 4%.”
The idea that you can commit 4% of your day, just a small portion, to any goal and attain it through consistency has been a driving force in her life since then.
Our Operations Manager, Toni explains, “You cannot meet Bon and not love her. She is an amazing person and a great barista, and so much fun to work with and laugh with. But more than anything, her commitment to fitness and changing her own life has been inspiring to watch. Bon is the perfect example of someone who woke up one day and decided to take control of her own life and for that, she is so much happier and healthier. She encourages and helps folks everyday by sharing her story, more than she even knows.”
Read more about Bonnita, or ask her next time you’re in the store!
Which location do you work at?
I work two locations, Main St. and 4th Street Live.
How long have you been working at HB?
About 18 months.
Louisville native or transplant?
I am a transplant from Jeffersonville, IN.
Your most fearless moment/time you pushed yourself the farthest (so far)?
In 2013 I started exercising each day and have lost over 200 lbs to date.
Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
I have several people who inspire me but most of all I get inspired by anyone that is overcoming things they never thought possible.
What’s your main life philosophy or rule to live by?
Believing that all things are possible.
If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?
What’s your greatest fear?
Do you listen to music when you work out/run – what’s the top of your playlist right now?
Music is a must have when I run. At the top of my playlist I have 2 Chains, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Nick Jonas, Sam Smith, Gucci Mane and lots more
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
Yes!! I have one Aussiedoodle and her name is Lola. She loves playing frisbee, catching balls, going on long runs and visits to the dog park. Her favorite treat is popcorn and she loves to swim.
And lastly, what’s your favorite HB drink & why?
Con Panna because I really enjoy just espresso with a hint of whipped cream.
In this Lunchtime Poll, we asked our baristas: What’s your spirit animal and why?
“A momma bear. I’m very protective.” -Erica
” A raccoon – because I am both trashy and adorable. That – or David Bowie.” -Erin
“Labrador, because I love the outdoors and I can be extremely lazy.” -Josh
“A fox. I’m sneaky and like to hide.” -Perri Leigh
“This guy (Hank, my cat) is my spirit animal” -Andre