Gems is a column devoted to spotlighting the various denizens who contribute to the rich mosaic that is the South Seattle area.
Who: Joya Iverson
Best Known Around South Seattle As: The jovial owner of Tin Umbrella Coffee in Hillman City
Special Trait: Dazzling all who cross her path with sublime kindness
When Not Serving Coffee You Can Catch Her: Good luck NOT catching her serving coffee
Motto: “La Caffe Vita”
Favorite haunt in the South Seattle Area?
Huarachitos by the Othello link light rail station. Their food is out of this world!
Finish this sentence: Love and coffee are synonymous with one another because…
Because that’s the secret to our coffee. Every shot is just infused with love. A bitter barista makes for a bitter shot. I think when you’re having fun there’s no way you can’t make awesome coffee.
Why does South Seattle undeniably lay title to the greatest hamlet in the Milky Way?
The People! Everyone says it, so it sounds cliche, but I really think the people who live here and call South Seattle home are amazing! They all have amazing stories that are just as numerous and wonderful as the stars in the sky. The people I encounter here just blow my mind.
Funniest moment you’ve ever experienced in South Seattle?
One Saturday at the shop we did Beyonce Saturday, and Becca- a barista who works here- and I committed to it! We listened to the Beyonce Spotify station all day long, until every song in her catalog had played at least five times, and I danced behind the espresso machine for the amusement- and probably embarrassment – of some of my customers. I actually did a lip sync with the caramel sauce to her song Halo.
What would you like to be able to say about South Seattle five years from now?
That we are still an amazing community. “Local for local.” That we have good people who understand our neighborhoods who have set up businesses here. I would like South Seattle to foster local entrepreneurial dreams.
After experiencing a great deal of adversity during the early stages, your shop will soon be celebrating its one year anniversary. What’s the most profound lesson you’ve learned during that time?
Focus on the bright spots and the wins because there will always be things that go wrong. There will always be unexpected hiccups. There will always be human moments when you forget something, you screw up, you make a mistake, or you totally blow it. It’s really easy to lose motivation and energy, and that is what kills a business. That’s what kills inspiration, and you have to stay inspired and in love with your dream for it to come true.
Tin Umbrella Coffee will be celebrating its one year anniversary with the South Seattle community on Sunday July, 27th from 9:00am-12:00pm at 5600 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118