Joya Iverson had just bought a one-way ticket to Ethiopia when an accident tore the passenger side off her car and gave her a nasty concussion. It made the move impossible. "I just sat on the couch, playing the ukulele with my eye mask on," she says. Undaunted, she decided to start a business in her own neighborhood, Hillman City (south of Columbia City along Rainier), incorporating as many things she loves as possible. Thus, Tin Umbrella Coffee came to be.
"It's not really a moneymaking venture," Iverson says, "but it's a really fun adventure." It might be both—the first three days the cafe was open, there were lines out the door and they sold out of coffee. Built in the '20s, the space that houses Tin Umbrella was formerly a furniture shop, then a gambling den. One of the giant, weathered carpentry tables from the space's early days now serves as a cream and sugar station. The cafe offers boozy miniature pies from It's Pie Life (you will want seven of them) and soft biscotti from Chilelli Foods. They're also sponsoring a storm drain through the city's Adopt-a-Drain program, which they've named Dwayne the Drain. Iverson plans to start her own roastery, and deploy bike couriers with beans and bandoliers of Tin Umbrella's already-popular cold brew.