Get jazzed on java at Spokane's hidden Awakenings Coffee Bar

Awakenings Coffee Bar on Wellesley Ave. offers locally roasted coffee from Ladder Coffee Roasters.

Hidden among the many big-name coffee shops in Spokane exists a secret cafe superior to all others. Awakenings Coffee Bar, located at 545 E. Wellesley Ave. is discreetly placed on the backside of Zion Church, and is about two minutes from NorthTown Mall.    

One would know of its existence simply through word-of-mouth, making the store comparable to coveted speakeasies of the past.

Its location and humble advertising contribute to its appeal, allowing the drinks to speak for themselves. A few small white signs along the street let patrons know they are in the right spot, adding to the scavenger hunt that is finding Awakenings. 

Students looking to escape the mundane routine of grabbing a double shot from Starbucks and trudging over to Foley for a long night of studying should venture to Awakenings for a cram session. 

However, their hours only reward early birds dedicated enough to rise for their brew. Awakenings is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Sunday.

The walls of the shop are adorned with artwork from Spokane artists, adding to its “drink local” atmosphere. The most intriguing piece in the shop is a wall composed of pages from the Gutenberg Bible, the first published Bible. 

Awakenings cleverly plays into its location next to the church, opening the eyes of customers through caffeinated concoctions and decorations.

As stated on the Awakenings Facebook page, “We are in LOVE with our beautiful city of Spokane, WA. Here at Awakenings, we take pride in educating people about Spokane and giving insight to the abundance of treasures this city has to offer. Truly, what an amazing city we are a part of. Come check out some new installations in the shop.”

The cork board next to the door has notes and flyers from local religious groups and businesses, and suggests that patrons, “take a note [and] leave a note.” It’s evident Awakenings aims to foster community among its employees and customers, bridging the gap the espresso bar creates.

Unlike competitors, Awakenings remains focused on creating the perfect beverage, rather than composing the best background for Instagram photos. This dedication and clear message shines through in the product.  

Simply put, Awakenings does coffee right. The roast is light and smooth, making it almost impossible to pace oneself and bask in the glory of the selection. 

Although specialty drinks are available, Awakenings does not need to compensate for weak beans with syrups and glamor.

The baristas are friendly and eager to recommend house favorites to new visitors. Most patrons indulge in the house-made lavender syrup, adding it to the signature drink dubbed, “Walk in the Clouds,” which features hazelnut and white chocolate. The peppermint tea also receives rave reviews; although, any selection from the menu is sure to be exceptional.

Other key features on the menu include “The 287,” which is cold brew, honey and lavender shaken over ice, and the “Spice of Heaven,” with vanilla, white chocolate and cinnamon as key ingredients. 

Iced versions of the specialty drinks are priced at $4.75, making them comparable to other popular chains. Pour overs are also available for those who wish to sip a freshly brewed cup o’ joe.  

Awakenings Coffee is a religious experience, creating feelings of bliss and serenity with every sip. 

Nicole Glidden is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @NicoleGlidden16

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