UnderstoryBy Drake the Dog

Reader Pet Columnist

Where am I taking my humans today?  It’s a foggy day in Sandpoint town, so here goes with a few tall-tail clues.

The edifice is below the canopy of the downtown area.

Their dogs beg for the chance to slurp the inventory.

They have a rotating stock of non-GMO paw print and bacon cheddar duck dog treats.

Innovation is their mission.

The name is mysterious.

Bark it!  Tweet me. Got it!  Wait for it,  as I must put down the Panhandle fog.

The Mister figured it out–he’s meeting me and the Missus at 120 Cedar St., the new home of Understory. Owners Evan Metz (Sandpoint native) and Johnelle Fifer praise Evan’s mom, as she came up with the business name. She was researching shade-grown permaculture techniques native to the rain forest in South America, when she sniffed out the word Understory. The word describes the mysterious above-ground-level growing techniques. The edifice is within the ‘block’ of the story—it’s below the canopy of the downtown area—hence the name Understory. You might recognize Evan, as he was a sous chef at Baxter’s. He learned a lot from Chef Steve Nye. However he decided to give up his knives for his love of coffee.

The owners have three fur babies. Odo is a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd who likes Thai coffee. This dark roast Sumatra is brewed with coriander and cardamom and sweetened with condensed milk. Want to make this drooling good drink at home? Pick up the Thai coffee kit, which contains the coffee and spices all wrapped up in a neat little bundle!

They also have a 5-year-old Aussie-Pyrenees mix, Buddha. His favorite afternoon pick me up is a rich chocolate coffee– Mocha Breve. He is also into desserts! Benji, a 4-year-old black Pomeranian and Maltese, occasionally orders the  Assam black tea with a little crème, no sugar.  Sometimes, if it’s late, he’ll go for a cup of Rooibos tea.

Are you in a fog of what to order? No worries, as Understory is on a mission to fetch new and innovative brews. Check out these fog specials: tea and spices combined with steamed milk.

London Fog:  Earl Grey with vanilla.

Autumn Fog:  Rooibos with vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Winter Fog:  White tea with cardamom, ginger and vanilla.

And the Missus’ new favorite—Panhandle Fog:  Huckleberry honey, Earl Grey, cinnamon and hibiscus. Droolin’ good!

The Mister favors the tail waggin’ varieties of medium-blend and mixed-dark drip coffees, sourced from Cross Trails.  Evan told me that for every pound they buy, $1 of the sales are donated to the Frank Church Wilderness Foundation, which is the largest contiguous federally managed wilderness in the country outside of Alaska. The team at Understory offers complimentary delivery to downtown locations and a $2 delivery charge anywhere in the city. Check out the other craft, organic and fair trade coffee beans from different origins, which are roasted to various degrees of darkness for more complex flavor. Slurp, slurp!

Wait … wait … wait for the spring and summer Understory additions: shaded outdoor seating, new drink and food menu, water for four-footed customers and longer hours.

Understory rules:

1. Bring your love of coffee and tea

2. Leashes please

3. Sit, sip, relax, enjoy!

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