Sandpoint chamber brews up warm welcome for Kokanee Coffee

Chamber Ambassadors and friends welcome Jim and Angela Reese of Kokanee Coffee to the chamber at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Courtesy photo)

SANDPOINT — For years, Jim and Angela Reese pursued two dreams: roasting the perfect cup of coffee and returning to their roots in northern Idaho.

The Reeses brought these dreams to life last year when they moved from Seattle to Sandpoint to open Kokanee Coffee. They were recently welcomed to the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

While living in Washington, Jim and Angela Reese began roasting coffee for themselves. Through trial and error, they developed flavorful roasts that friends and family encouraged them to share.

“One day it just hit us: what about opening a coffee house so we can serve coffee and sell Jim’s art in Sandpoint?” Angela remembers.

Jim and Angela chose the kokanee — an inland salmon native to Lake Pend Oreille — as the logo and namesake for their business. For them, the logo symbolizes the faith walk they began when they started a business in the midst of a recession.

Today, Jim and Angela served up micro-roasted coffee, breakfast items, homemade soups, pastries and wraps at their Panhandle Mill Plaza location.

Kokanee Coffee boasts eight different micro-roasts using fair trade organic beans. They roast their coffee beans in small batches to capture the essence of naturally processed beans and to ensure delicious coffee.

Jim’s custom-designed metal art gives the coffee shop an upscale industrial feel, with intriguing designs at every turn. In addition to Jim’s metal art, Kokanee Coffee also displays works by local artists in paint, photography and sculpture.

The coffee shop has quickly established itself as a community meeting place, with plenty of seating and a cozy ambience. Reservations are available for groups who would like to meet at the counter-height conference table.

“Some people come here because they feel like family and friends, some people love being seriously caffeinated and some just want to be here without knowing why,” Angela explains. Others come for the free WiFi, which is available for two hours with purchase.

Frequent patrons can participate in Kokanee Coffee’s punch card program — after eight drinks, the ninth is free. Or, they can buy a $25 gift card to get a free white ceramic coffee mug.

Starting in February, Kokanee Coffee will host a discussion group called Life Tree Café. Every Monday at noon, Jim and Angela will screen video segments on topics like Celebrating Yourself, Simplifying your Life, Finding Peace, When Life is Difficult, Free Will, and The Art of Listening. Free cookies and coffee will be available for participants.

Information: online, www.kokaneecoffee.com; phone, 597-7831; or in person, 509 N. 5th Ave. in the Panhandle Mill Plaza.

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