Mobile coffee owner spreads gratitude in Orlando after surviving toxic relationship

Jen Hackney plans to open storefront soon

Jen Hackney operates the Gratitude Coffee truck in College ParkMonday-Friday.
Jen Hackney operates the Gratitude Coffee truck in College ParkMonday-Friday. (Amanda Castro/WKMG)

An Orlando woman offers a cup of gratitude with every beverage she serves out of her coffee truck in College Park.

Coffee runs through Jen Hackney's veins.

"I started at Barney's in the '80s," Hackney said.

Hackney said she has been happily caffeinating customers for more than 30 years.

"I like to say I'm the oldest barista in town," she said, but Hackney said her life hasn't always been sweet.

Hackney said she used to be in a "toxic relationship" and it's hard to talk about her past.

"I felt like when I was in that situation it wasn't me. That was kinda an outer-life experience, almost like a movie, and I was watching like, 'Wait a minute, that's not me. How could I live like that? That's not what I am or who I am,'" Hackney said.

Hackney said it took a lot of strength, but she finally left that relationship eight years ago.

"I'm grateful to have had the strength to break away because if I didn't, I don't know if I would even be here," she said.

Hackney said she felt empowered after leaving and she does not let what happened in her past define her future.

She is using that strength to open and run her own business called "Gratitude Coffee." She started the coffee food truck in 2015.

It shows how far she has come with every cup of coffee she makes.

"You can't be broken because you're strong, you're tough, you persevere," Hackney said. 

Hackney donated during the last phone bank News 6 hosted for Harbor House, a non-profit organization that helps victims and survivors of domestic violence. She said she knows how important the organization is to Central Florida.

"Luckily I broke away from it. Not everybody does. Harbor House provides a good service for our community," she said.

Hackney is brewing up a bright future. She is working on opening a storefront business down the road from where she serves coffee in her food truck, where she hopes to continue sharing her message of gratitude with others.

"Maybe helping other women, maybe mentoring would be fulfilling for me," Hackney said. "I don't feel like anything is missing in my life. I feel very happy and balanced."

"Gratitude Coffee" is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The truck is parked at 1215 Edgewater Drive. For more information, visit the "Gratitude Coffee" Facebook page here.

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