The powerful aroma of coffee greets customers before they ever reach the porch of the Dobson Creek Coffee Co. in Ronan, beckoning from the parking lot to come inside for a taste.
Owned by the Yost brothers — Trent, 34, and Troy, 29, — the shop offers a variety of drinks made from gourmet specialty coffee roasted in-house. It’s a coffee drinker’s paradise perched on the edge of the small, rural community.
The brothers migrated to Ronan with their family from Eastern South Dakota 12 years ago, hopeful they would tap into new options to satisfy their coffee cravings.
“We grew up out in the country, so we didn’t get to town much when I was growing up,” Trent said. “We moved here hoping there would be some good coffee around here, you know, closer than Missoula or Kalispell, but there wasn’t anything what we expected.”
The two started experimenting with coffee roasting as a home-based hobby, their methods involving a lot of trial and error and some unconventional equipment.
“When we were at home, our dad’s Folgers didn’t quite cut the mustard,” Trent said, “so we went out and found out there was better coffee in the world.”
Big-city coffee conventions and festivals opened their eyes to the broader world of coffee and drove their desire to create their own flavors.
Using an old-fashioned popcorn popper, they started playing with different roasting techniques, eventually graduating to larger, more sophisticated equipment to meet their growing coffee knowledge.
The brothers made their living working in construction and continued roasting coffee out of their garage on the side until 2010, when they stumbled across Dobson Creek Coffee Co.
Founded by Eric Holdeman, the company took root in Northern Idaho where its namesake creek runs through Holdeman’s wooded property near Bonners Ferry.
A logger by trade and passionate outdoorsman by heart, Holdeman started the company in 2004 after an accident left him disabled.
Capturing flavors of the northwestern wilderness, the venture grew in popularity among locals, and in 2010, Holdeman and his family decided to sell the company.
The Yost brothers saw their opportunity to make a livelihood out of their passion for coffee and decided to continue building on the foundation Holdeman built with Dobson Creek.
They started slow, continuing to serve current Dobson Creek customers out of their garage and gradually building their consumer base until they could purchase a building.
First they occupied a small storefront on Main Street in downtown Ronan before moving to their current location on U.S. 93 just north of town in 2015.
Rustic antiques line the walls and shelves of the shop. On a recent chilly day a fire roared in the stonework fireplace as locals filled a sitting area, chatting over their steaming cups of coffee.
Sharing space with Stella’s Deli and Bakery next door, Dobson Creek has grown into a community hub, where clubs can hold meetings, school groups can gather for events and families and friends can meet for a cup of coffee and a game of chess.
Both Trent and Troy said they’ve found a home in Ronan and plan to raise their families in the community they serve.
“We have enjoyed being in the community and being part of it,” Trent said. “They’ve all made it happen.”
Almost every day of the week, Troy roasts anywhere from three to 10 batches of coffee, making 15 pounds of beans each.
The antique metal dispensers lining the back wall of the shop boast their five signature blends, two darker roasts and three ranging from medium to light, as well as a few-single origin options from each of the major coffee growing regions of the world.
“It’s fun to roast and to see what’s hidden inside the beans and see what you can bring out of them,” Trent said.
Customers can choose either to buy their favorite Dobson Creek blend from one of the local coffee vendors or groceries or stop into the café to enjoy an artfully poured latte from the creators themselves.
Once the brothers start pouring, however, things sometimes turn competitive, resulting in impromptu cappuccino art competition and a line of frothy espresso too pretty to drink.
For more information or to order Dobson Creek coffee online, visit https://dobsoncreekcoffee.co/index.php.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.