- Associated Press - Saturday, August 20, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Jittery Joe’s may have just opened in March, but its reputation precedes its arrival by two decades.

The small chain based in Athens, Georgia, was started in 1994 and now has a Columbia location on Lincoln Street across from University of South Carolina’s Greek Village. The company made a name for itself by working to source the best coffee beans and roasting them in small batches “to allow for greater quality and care” - thus, a quality cup of coffee.

Then there’s the full bar.

“If you look around campus, there’s Starbucks, but there was no coffee shop and alcohol mix, and that’s a big thing in Athens at (University of Georgia),” said Lucas Messick, district manager at the Columbia location. “It’s been a developing concept. We’ve tried lots of different things. We just added gelato. Every college kid loves sweets. Plus, you could use it to make a Kahlua-gelato milkshake.”

Jittery Joe’s already has attracted a crowd of regulars who work in the Vista or live in surrounding neighborhoods.

“You’ll see families coming in in the morning, but our primary customer is college kids,” said Messick. “College kids need coffee all the time.”

But most aren’t coming in to order a black coffee. Honestly, none of them are.

What seems to give everyone the biggest caffeine rush is the Frosty Joe, a milkshake-like coffee drink that comes in mocha, caramel or turtle, topped with whipped cream. The nitro coffee - brewed hot and flash-chilled - is brewed into a keg and poured off a tap, just like beer.

“It pours out almost tan, and it turns dark, like a Guinness,” said Messick. “It’s creamy, and it’s got a natural sweetness. It’s also pretty popular.”

And speaking of Guinness, let’s not forget about the full bar.

“It’s something that’s still catching on,” said Messick. “We can make your typical drinks. We have top shelf. We have some domestic beers, some IPAs, nothing crazy. We carry wine but went with middle of the road - simple wines that college students could understand. We didn’t want anything that would be hard to pronounce. We made the bar very easy to work because an experienced barista may know nothing about a bar, but they need to do both.”

Two drinks that combine both skill sets are a Bailey’s with Nitro coffee or a coffee almond fudge gelato with the Kahlua milkshake.

“It’s a standard milkshake, but instead of milk, we use Kahlua,” said Messick.

Another drink Messick hopes customers will embrace is the newest addition to the menu, a fruit punch-flavored vodka slushie.

“We hope it’s something that catches on. They’re really good,” he said.

Messick said customers can look forward to a collaboration between River Rat and Jittery Joe for a coffee beer and vice-versa. Until then, they can surely find something on the menu to keep you bouncing off the walls.


Information from: The State, https://www.thestate.com

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