Traveling north on 95 in North Idaho takes you from the beautiful downtown feel of CDA, through the suburban strip malls of Dalton Gardens, and eventually into the open spaces of Hayden and beyond. A gradient of the population gives way to nature, into the beautiful outdoors that is North Idaho.
As the density lowers, the buildings grow. The last checkpoint on your way out, oddly nestled behind the series of oversized commercial structures along the road, is Tubbs Coffee Roasters. They too seem to enjoy the commercial access and presumably affordable spaces. But rather than simply roasting behind closed bay doors, Tubbs Hills Roasters opens to a cafe space (air quotes applied) right inside the roastery.
Ducking in, peeking around, I see a few chairs and—‘yes, ok, a bar area with a Square tablet’—they must sell direct here. But then again… what is it they sell? I see bags of beans all over. I see a few t-shirts and mugs. I spied the sole staffer in the building and asked the sheepish question. ‘Can I get some coffee here? Like a cup? To drink?”
‘Of course,’ and he points to a fancy-looking drip pot on the counter. There’s this pot, a few cups, and a small bowl with sugar packets. Excellent—I am in the right place. I stress the “I” in that statement, as a guy who enjoys a strong cup of drip, black. Now perhaps he had some cream hiding away in a cooler, seriously probably like a Yeti cooler with ice, not even a fridge, but I doubt I’d have had any luck asking for any of the accoutrements offered in a franchised shop.
There’s seating for about 12, but considering the space, I still feel the need to ask if I may stay and enjoy my cup, and do a little work too. And again, of course, how silly… it’s a coffee shop for crying out loud.
The seating area consists of some low tables and a high bar, each with neat and colorful metal chairs. Ever-so-small cushions adorn the seats, giving you just enough to not be sitting on metal. It really is perfect. Across from me, near the far line of seats is a line of black and yellow caution tape on the floor. It’s the only thing separating the ‘cafe’ from the ‘roaster.’ Again, it’s perfect.
There’s music playing on low from a far corner. One might guess the genre, but the overall auditory vibe is ‘fans.’ And it’s actually proving to be an easier spot to get a few things done. The low and consistent droning of the fans, with just a touch of bass underneath, is quite nice for an hour by myself.
Feasting for the eyes, there are beans palleted on the floor, the roaster to their side. Shelves in the back with boxed supplies and what appears to be some trade-show type displays. It’s all here to take in. Only a single divider wall in the corner to create some curiosity.
Wondering more about this neat little spot, I jumped over to their website, only to be corrected on a few accounts. First, the word ‘cafe’ never felt right. It seems their preferred and much more appropriate term is ‘tasting bar.’ I feel like that alone sets the tone so much better. Next is that this cup I’m sampling isn’t just drip. Tubbs sells a brewer called the ‘ratio six.’ While it looks like a drip brewer to the naked eye, at the price point of $345.00, I’m guessing there’s more to it. Outside of a commercial espresso machine, I have a hunch this is the most expensive coffee brewing device I’ve ever drank from. And yes, it’s pretty, pretty good.
Overall, it’s quite off the beaten path and they don’t seem to mind. For a short and enjoyable time to oneself, or a planned outing to enjoy a ‘cupping’ with friends, this is a great little spot. Or better yet, on your next trip to Priest Lake or Lake Pend Oreille, skip the drive-through in town and take a few extra minutes to stop here on your way up. They’re named after one of the most iconic spots of all our local lakes, so the vibe is right. And yes, the coffee is spot on.
13430 North Clovis Rd, Hayden, ID, 83835