We offer an awesome location and a unique drink selection. Understory aims to nourish the community with organic and fair trade coffee, tea ,and smoothies  through sourcing from local and high quality producers.


noun un·der·sto·ry

1 :  an underlying layer of vegetation; specifically :  the vegetative layer and especially the trees and shrubs between the forest canopy and the ground cover

The humidity, filtered sunlight, and consistent temperatures make the understory the ideal location for growth of plants, animals, and fungi. The nutrient cycling that happens in an understory is unprecedented.This is one of only a few favorite spots for the coffee plant to grow.

With a combined 6 years of coffee craft experience Evan and Johnelle own and operate Understory, serving high quality, traditional espresso beverages, fruit smoothies, and loose leaf tea.

Johnelle and Evan met in Moscow, ID, working at the Moscow food Co op. This is where the fire of this relationship and Understory was kindled. The couple grew and blossomed by learning the skills to truly craft coffee. they are now here to offer the community of Sandpoint their unique, professional, and light hearted approach to making coffee.

Portrait by Erica Wagner

Johnelle Fifer

owner and operator of Understory Coffee & Tea

Johnelle was born in northern California and moved to southern Idaho at age 14. She ran the coffee bar at the Moscow Food Co op for two years while attending the University of Idaho. She left Moscow with a total four years of experience and professional training from Doma Coffee Co. and Landgrove Coffee.

Johnelle has always had a creative spark and a drive to grow and excel in whatever frontier she is exploring . Coffee was a perfect outlet. She favors a classical approach, using manual espresso machines, burr grinders, and enjoys a french press at home. She favors a minimalist technique in her craft, knowing that a simple composition of expertly crafted components can outshine the most elaborate and daring inventions.    .

With a growing repertoire of timeless classics like the fresh lavender latte, the panhandle fog, and the sage mocha, she is supremely qualified to make your taste buds very, very happy. Swing by and meet the lady of the shop, and get an incredible crafted drink!

Evan Metz

owner and operator of Understory Coffee & Tea

Evan grew up in Sagle, ID. He started his expedition into the world of coffee in Moscow, ID, working as a barista for two years at the Moscow Food Co-op. He has attended professional training at DOMA Coffee Co in Post Falls, Idaho, and has spent two years in commercial kitchens, learning the fundamentals of spices and flavor composition.

His creative passion allows him to excel in the coffee world. He takes a traditional approach to making coffee, then adds a twist with unusual or even unheard of ingredients, and the results are almost always stunning. Evan is constantly coming up with innovative combinations like the pine needle latte, for example. For customers that cant make up there mind, Evan is sure to create a drink for them. Many of our customers have drinks tailored to their taste, by Evan.

As an owner, and operator he keeps the shop upbeat, and becomes familiar with each customer. Stop by anytime to meet the creative mind behind this wonderful little shop.

Portrait by Erica Wagner