Coal Town Coffee and Tea
Homer Spit - Homer, Alaska
 

Coal Town Philosophy

Katy Rice took over the business in 2008, and opened that first summer with a determination to serve the best coffee, espresso, and tea in Alaska. Our enthusiasm is passed along to the customer through an exceptional drink or a conversation about coffee origins. We are constantly trying new brewing methods, refining techniques, and learning more about the chemistry, history, and culture of coffee and tea. We love what we do, and we try to respect both the farmer and the consumer by serving only drinks that meet our high standards of quality.

While we love perfectly steamed milk and an expertly poured shot, we also know that a business is more than the products it sells.  The shop has become a place to gather, to trade fishing reports, to discuss the news, and to laugh.  We meet new people every day, and are fortunate to also have a community of locals who are a part of our daily lives.

Recognizing our impact on people and on the environment, we try to make responsible, sustainable purchasing decisions. We use organic, fairly traded, and local products and ingredients whenever possible. Our baked goods, chai, coffee, and paper and ceramic cups are all made here in Homer. We also try to reduce our impact on the earth by recycling, composting, and minimizing packaging.


The Staff

We are blessed with an incredible team of baristas, headed by manager Maria Fourier and owner Katy Rice. All of our baristas have had extensive training in bar skills, coffee tasting, and customer service... but perhaps more importantly, they love coffee, tea, and connecting with other people.

Interested in working at Coal Town?  Check out our employment page.


Coal Town History

The name of the cafe refers to Homer’s origins as a small coal town built on Coal Point, at the end of the Homer Spit.  In 1896, Homer Pennock and the Alaska Gold Mining Company established a camp at Coal Point, and named it ‘Homer’.  By 1899, the Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company had built a company town there, as well as a railway along the Spit to carry coal from mines on the bluff to Coal Point, where ships were loaded.  

Our building is a homestead cabin which was moved to the Spit in 2003.  In October 1941, teacher Margaret Richardson moved into the original cabin on Crossman Ridge above Homer.  To ‘make good’ on the homestead land, she had to live on the land for at least a year as well as make certain improvements. Married women were not allowed to make a claim on a homestead, so Margaret remained single until the land was her own. She raised rabbits, grew hay, hunted, and cut timber, in addition to teaching at the Homer Heights school. In 1944, she proved up on the homestead, and two years later moved away to teach at a village on the Yukon River.

The cabin was occupied by renters until 2003, when it was disassembled, snow-machined off the property, and reassembled on the Spit.  The logs that were beyond salvaging were replaced with local timbers from Crossman Ridge.  The building now sits at the corner of the Coal Point Boardwalk, looking out at Kachemak Bay.


Sources for historical information:
Kachemak Bay Communities by Janet R. Klein
Teachers in the Alaskan Wilderness by Elizabeth Richardson Childs
Homer News


Photos by Emily Ann Photography & Design and Coal Town Coffee & Tea