Koko Espresso promotes organic, fair trade coffee
February 26, 2008
Cindy Hamil, owner of Koko Espresso at the Jeremy Ranch Store, said she decided to open her own business after she became tired of working as a lab specialist in the Genetics Department at the University of Utah.
"There’s not a lot of socialization at a public university," she said. "I was hoping to work into something more self-supporting."
After seeing a post on craigs list for an espresso shop for sale in Park City, Hamil decided it was time to start her own business.
She re-opened the Koko Espresso shop in Jeremy Ranch in October, where she has been serving Caffe Ibis coffee, an organic, fair trade and shade grown coffee from different regions around the world. Caffe Ibis was developed by Randy Wirth, from Logan. Hamil said the organic coffee is a big hit among Parkites.
"It’s an absolute excellent product," Hamil said. "A lot of the money goes back to the people who grow the product."
Hamil said Parkites like the coffee because many of them think green and support the organic movement.
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"You have people who are so supportive or organic [foods] and independent businesses," she said.
Caffe Ibis beans are grown in Central America, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Costa Rica. The coffee company supports a mission called the Café Feminino Organization. When people purchase Café Feminino coffee, proceeds go to support the poverty-stricken and abused women and children of Peru.
Some of the popular hot drinks served at Koko Espresso, Hamil said, include the house coffee, or the Ethiopian Moka Harrar Horse.
"It’s great coffee," she said, adding "it’s cheaper than other coffees."
She said the French roast and Organic Moka coffees are also popular choices.
Hamil said Koko Espresso is conveniently located inside the Jeremy Ranch Store, so commuters can buy gas and food and drink some great coffee at the same time.
"People that commute come in every day, two to three times a week," she said.
Hamil said the unique thing about Koko Espresso is it is one of the only espresso shops in Utah that serves Caffe Ibis coffee, because, she said, the company is selective about where it sells its product.
"It’s very limited," Hamil said. "They’re very selective about where to sell the product All the coffee is absolute top-end."
Hamil said Caffee Ibis coffee is fresher than most commercial coffees, like Starbucks.
"We’re priced to be competitive with Starbucks, even though [our] coffee costs a lot more," Hamil said. "The coffee is good for a year after it has been roasted. It hasn’t been stuck in a warehouse for years."
Hamil said she brews her coffee in small batches and pays close attention to the details, in order to give her customers exactly what they want.
"We roast to your order," she said. "We froth everything in small batches. We’re not going to nickel and dime everyone to death. We’re going to make your drink the way you want it."
Hamil said, if someone is not completely satisfied with their drink, she will make it again.
"If anyone gets a drink they don’t want, we’ll do anything to get it right," she said.
Koko Espresso also serves various teas by Numi, an organic tea company based in Oakland, Calif.
Some of Hamil’s favorite tea creations include the Chai tea, Green Tea Latte and Green Tea Chai.
Hamil said it is fun to experiment with different flavors and she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve.
Some of the popular coffee creations include the Peppermint Mocha; the "Dirty Chai," a regular chai latte with a shot of espresso; the "Eye Opener," or regular house coffee with a shot of espresso; White Chocolate Mochas and Pumpkin Spice Mochas.
All the coffees are sold within a $3 to $4 price range. Bags of Caffe Ibis coffee for at-home brewing can also be purchased in the $10 range.
Hamil also sells jewelry at the espresso bar, which she has gathered in her travels around the world.
"I’ve been collecting beads for 20 years," she said. "From [my] travels in Central Europe, Prague, Slovakia, Scotland and at the Salt Lake City street markets."
Koko Espresso is located at 3080 Rasmussen Road at the Jeremy Ranch Store. For more information, contact Cindy Hamil at (801) 703-5359. For more information about the espresso bar’s product, Caffe Ibis, visit http://www.caffeibis.com.