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For Molly Brantley of Cups Espresso Cafe in Fondren, earning the title of Jackson’s “Best Barista” isn’t just about making a great cup of coffee.

“I’m generally pretty cheerful when I’m in there, but I’m also a very real person,” she says. “I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, and I think a lot of people appreciate that. They don’t just get a phony smile. If they get a smile from me, they know it means something.”

Brantley has worked at Cups for about three and a half years and says she’s gotten pretty good at getting to know customers and their orders. As for perfecting her drink-making game, she says it’s about asking one important question: “Would I want to drink this?”—Micah Smith

WINNER: Best Barista

Address: 2757 Old Canton Rd, Jackson, MS 39216

Phone number: 601-362-7422

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