Tucked away in the small mountain town of Pinedale, Wyoming you'll find Pine Coffee Supply, a little coffee bar with a growing reputation. Open since summer 2017, the shop has already garnered national attention—Food & Wine Magazine called it the best coffee in Wyoming in March of 2018. Roasting happens in-house, and a lot more besides—this place is a fascinating and beautiful expression of coffee culture set at the foot of the Wind River Mountains.
Sat on a corner lot on the city's main street, Pine Coffee occupies a former mechanic shop. An extensive remodel was undertaken by shop founders Jim and Cody Hamilton, a father and son duo with deep Wyoming roots, which included hand-built pine furniture, benches, and accents. They kept the original garage door and leave it open on warm summer days opening up their bar to a patio. Their front room wall is adorned with a hand-stenciled mural of all things coffee, while further back in the shop, you’ll find a cozy couch in front of a fireplace and around the corner a huge pine community table and space perfect for public events.
Their coffee bar is equipped with a Mavam espresso machine, PuqPress, KafaTek Monolith grinder for espresso, Technivorm Grand Brewer, and Mahlkönig batch grinder. They also just recently started roasting their own coffee on a one kilogram Aillio Bullet roaster, but have used Middle State Coffee out of Denver as their resident roaster since opening while rotating different roasters monthly.
That's a lot of gear and quality for a little town in Wyoming, and Jim Hamilton—the elder—admits to having some nerves about opening up here. “My biggest fear coming into Pinedale was, can any coffee shop really survive in a small town?” Further doubt clouded their vision after seeking advice from longtime friend and previous business partner, Tom Billions of The Coffee Ethic in Springfield, MO, who simply said, “don’t do it.”
Everything changed a month later when Billions unexpectedly passed away. His life and his passing affected a lot of people back in Springfield and shed light on the positive impact a coffee shop can have in a community. Jim and Cody had a change of heart and knew it was time to open Pine Coffee Supply. “We knew how behind the times coffee was in the whole state and we wanted to bring third wave in,” Cody Hamilton tells me. “We said no at first, this won’t work, but then came back to it.”
Truly it's a family affair at Pine Coffee Supply. Today Cody is the director of tech, coffee, and roasting, while Jim works as the CFO and numbers guy. Tina Hamilton—Jim's wife, Cody's mom—manages books and details, while Maddie Hamilton—Cody’s wife—is the director of purchasing and supplies as well as the master of scheduling. And last but not least their daughter, Wren (age 10), is the barista in training.
If it all sounds like something out of a frontier novel—Little Coffee Shop In The Mountains—well, that's just fine with the Hamiltons. “People are moving back to small towns,” Maddie Hamilton tells me, and Cody agrees. “We wanted to change the pace of life.” Mission accomplished here in this tiny town of just 2,000, of whom the Hamiltons are now a community fixture.
Up next, Cody has big plans for their in-house roasting program as well as future coffee subscriptions. In the meantime, should you ever find yourself in Pinedale, Wyoming, I'd say Pine Coffee Supply counts as a must-visit. There may not be many other specialty shops around to compete with, but you can't hold that against the Hamilton family. Coffee doesn't have to come from the big city in order to be delicious. In fact, one might argue that small town coffee offers something special you can't find anywhere else.
Tarra Culbertson is a contributor based in Salt Lake City. Read more Tarra Culbertson on Sprudge.