Viva Java Vino!

We heard about Java Vino from Phil Palmer, chief cook and bottle-washer (and owner) of Radial Cafe. As of a couple months ago, Java Vino is the exclusive coffee roaster for Radial and this is a good thing ’cause they surely have some fine coffee! Since Palmer is so intent on being green and buying from sustainable sources, it comes as no surprise that we found a story in all this, one suitable for the GGDG.

We dropped in at the coffee and wine shop, all unannounced of course, to speak with Steve Franklin who, along with his wife Heddy Kuhl, are the owners and operators of Java Vino. Steve was there and he was very busy, it being an especially good day for a cup of good coffee (the temperature was in the teens!) and the place was bustling.

Java Vino is a coffee and wine house located in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood. They offeer a great selection of coffees and wines from around the world, as well as a scrumptious menu of freshly prepared sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries. They have a number of vegetarian choices and they all looked great!  We had already eaten, darn it, so we didn’t get to sample the food, but we’ve always got room for coffee.

I just had to try their espresso (to me, that’s the measure of a coffee house – how well they do a straight shot of espresso) and I was not disappointed. It was delicious and strong without being sour or bitter.

Java Vino is truly a family-oriented venture. As stated earlier, Steve and Heddy are co-owners of the shop and roasting business. The house coffee comes from Heddy’s family’s farm (the Selva Negra Estate) in Nicaragua – a Fair Trade coffee, shade-grown using sustainable farming practices. In fact, the Selva Negra Estate won the Specialty Coffee Association’s Sustainability Award in 2007.The Kuhl family grows, harvests, processes, ships, roasts and brews the coffee for a true seed-to-cup experience. We are happy to report that Java Vino is also proud to be eco-friendly. They use biodegradable cups and all their to-go orders are packed with biodegradable forks, knives and spoons.

Java Vino has a very interesting (and commendable) refill policy. If you want a refill on your coffee, it’ll cost you $0.50. That $0.50 doesn’t go to the store, however; it goes to charity. The charities rotate every few months to spread the goodness around.


Java Vino seems to be doing a lot of things right, and doing a lot of right things. Check ’em out next time you’re in Poncey-Highlands. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

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