Jocelyn Johnson has been with Baba Java Coffee for just over three years now. What started off as a small job helping her get through the pandemic turned into a full career she loves. The beauty of working for a small company, she says, is that one gets to experience all aspects of the company. She has had many positions in the company. Jocelyn currently serves as the manager of Baba Java Coffee’s newest location at The Strand in Montevallo. Here, she offers her take on what Baba Java Coffee plans to bring to the community.
Where does the name Baba Java come from and how does it affect the aesthetic, the flavors and the overall atmosphere of the business?
The Arabic word for ‘father’ is ‘baba,’ while ‘java’ is just a fun, informal word for coffee. So in translation, our name means “father coffee.” Having a name with Middle Eastern influence is staying true to who we are and how Baba Java first started, and having it roll off the tongue is just an added bonus! The owners, Nathan and Wendi Parvin, are a husband and wife power duo and they, along with Brad Haynes, who is our vice president, have lived overseas in the Middle East for a period of time. Brad’s relationships with farmers overseas definitely helped shape our company, and we pay tribute to that by playing with Middle Eastern flavors. Of course, I can’t forget our camel mascot, too!
Of all the businesses to go into, why coffee and why “The Strand?”
Wendi, Nathan and Brad’s relationships with coffee farmers and coffee producers were made while they all lived overseas. Once back in the United States, they realized they can help make a difference in the specialty coffee world by continuing to grow those relationships from afar. We intentionally buy specialty grade beans as directly from the farmer as we can and with producers who are intentional with both the crop and the families that help grow it. We love to tell that story everywhere we go. Here at The Strand, there already was a coffee shop that was leaving, and we saw an opportunity to grow and continue telling the story and goodness of specialty coffee.
What do you hope to bring to the community through coffee—Baba Java, specifically?
Everywhere we go, we hope to bring excellent coffee, excellent customer service and excellent education.
What are your favorite menu items and those you recommend newcomers try first? Why?
My personal go-to drinks are always a black coffee or a cappuccino. Our drip machine is a Ground Control machine, and it brings out the best flavors and brews great black coffee! The items I always recommend are our top three seller lattes: the maple brown sugar, the honey cinnamon or the orange peel latte.
What events, new recipes or “news” in general can customers anticipate in the near future?
Always be on the lookout for new seasonal menus. We always have our classic menu, but we like to add a couple fun drinks and switch it up every season with new seasonal drinks. Also, be on the lookout for our third location opening at The Village in Meadowbrook.
For more information about Baba Java Coffee and to stay updated on new flavors and events, visit facebook.com/babajavacoffee.