Hope Hines recently moved back to Spokane after spending the past six years in Portland, but the 25 year-old California native grew up in Hillyard and recalls it being a struggle.
“A lot of people overlook those kinds of communities,” she says. “It was so hard for me to get anything on my resume. No one would hire me, but they would all say ‘Oh, where do you live’ when I would go to interview.”
Hines remembers biking from Hillyard to West Central to meet with Bobby Enslow of Indaba Coffee. “I totally lied on the resume, and figured I could ask for forgiveness later. But Indaba gave me an opportunity to do an internship there, which was great in the long term because it showed that I could work in coffee.”
Also a musician, Hines met Jamie Kay Christianson when the two played a show together at The Pin in downtown Spokane in 2014. Christianson, a 29-year-old Whitworth graduate and native of Vancouver, Washington, encouraged Hines to move to the west side of the state so that the two could pursue their shared passions of music, coffee and the beach.
Living in Vancouver and working in Portland, Hines focused on the managerial side of the coffee world with stints at Peet’s and Black Rock Coffee while Christianson received artisan training from Stumptown Coffee and Relevant Coffee, eventually taking an interest in espresso extraction and coffee roasting. Hines would go on to help open a brick-and-mortar shop and Jamie Kay launched her own coffee cart, but their goal for each day was largely the same: work until mid-afternoon, hurry off to the Oregon coast to surf at Shorties [Shortsands Beach], come back home late, and wake up at six the next morning to do it all over again.
But as Hines and Christianson each became more experienced with their sides of the coffee business, the pair realized that they wanted to build something together and started their own company, Espuma Coffee. Espuma means “foam” in Spanish, so the brand is a nod to its owners’ love of the beach and the surf while paying respects to Hines’ Puerto Rican heritage and Christianson’s family connections to the island nation.
“There’s a lot of under-representation of women in the coffee industry, especially among roasters,” says Christianson of their new endeavor. “I really would have appreciated having more contemporary colleagues, women specifically, to show me how to do this and say ‘Hey, this industry doesn’t have to be 100% heteronormative or male-dominated.’”
The couple moved back to Spokane to launch Espuma because of the city’s ongoing growth and community support for entrepreneurs.
“We are starting small with the farmers markets and wholesale,” says Christianson. “We would love to support Puerto Rican and women coffee growers.
While growing Espuma into its own physical location where they can better serve underrepresented segments of the population is among their long term goals, Hines and Christianson are looking forward to getting out to local farmers markets this season to interact with people and introduce them to Espuma.
Despite her rough memories of the neighborhood, Hines is excited to bring this new business venture to the Hillyard Farmers Market where they will sell packages of roasted beans and an assortment of hot and cold coffee drinks.
“I feel I’ve had to prove myself by fighting and believing in myself,” says Hines, “but in the end it’s about community. I’m gonna see a lot of people that I grew up with. It’s going to be hard for me to not give away free things just because I’m going to see my little self walking around.”
Find Espuma Coffee online at espumacoffee.co.