Coffee Corner: Thomas Hammer offers smiles, signature drinks

Pullman location part of PNW chain, but built by and for locals



Thomas Hammer Coffee is located at 400 E Main St. in downtown Pullman.

ERIN MULLINS, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s note: This is the second story in an ongoing series featuring the multiple coffee shops in downtown Pullman, ahead of a tasting event in November hosted by the Pullman Chamber of  Commerce. 

In 2010, Thomas Hammer Coffee opened and became the only coffee shop in Pullman at the time to roast their own coffee.

The CEO of the company, Thomas Hammer, started his first coffee shop in 1993 with Bud Barnes. Today, there are 19 stores in addition to their headquarters in Spokane. 

Some of their signature drinks include the El Diablo and the Jackhammer, said Shelby Molinar, manager at Thomas Hammer here in Pullman. Molinar started working at Thomas Hammer’s Moscow location in 2014 before transferring to Pullman after the Moscow location closed.

The Jackhammer is a coffee drink with chocolate and cinnamon. Thomas Hammer offers traditional drinks like americanos and lattes as well as a rotating amount of seasonal options called LTO’s, or limited time only. The seasonal drinks available now are the maple cardamon cold brew, pumpkin cream and cinnabon chai.

“Honestly, the quality of the coffee helps us stand out,” Molinar said. “We essentially roast our own coffee in Spokane. It’s just really good. Even just plain, black drip coffee.”

Molinar said the roasting location in Spokane receives all the locations’ orders. This means that they roast the right amounts for each store instead of creating excess coffee, meaning each store is stocked with fresh beans. 

Not only is quality coffee important at Thomas Hammer, they take pride in their customer service. When Molinar first started working for Thomas Hammer, she was impressed with how they treat people and how they take the time to make each drink specific to the customer.

Molinar said that the staff at Thomas Hammer truly gets to know the customer. After someone orders one drink, the staff is usually on a first name basis with the customer. 

Chris Wilson, a pastor in Pullman, said he loves the environment of Thomas Hammer and that the customer service is always friendly. He said the coffee is way better than a lot of places and is not overpriced.

“I would recommend the El Diablo,” Wilson said. “It’s a spicy drink. I’m a pastor recommending the El Diablo so you might not want to take that down. It’s kind of a spicy drink with cinnamon in it and cayenne pepper.” 

When Wilson was in Spokane for his son’s medical issues, he was able to visit Thomas Hammer coffee because there was a location in the hospital. He said it was comforting for him to be able to order his regular drink during a difficult time.

Jessica Abercrombie, barista at Thomas Hammer, said people come to the shop to study and get away from home. She noted the space at Thomas Hammer is unique. The shop is very spacious with bigger tables for groups who want to study, smaller tables for individuals, and chairs for groups to sit and chat. 

“All of the baristas here are super happy to help anyone, and they’re very welcoming,” Abercrombie said. 

Abercrombie said her personal favorite coffee is the Afternoon Delight, which has caramel, sea salt and lavender. The drink is really unique and “super, super delicious.”  

The pandemic was hard for Thomas Hammer as they had to cut back their store hours because of limited staff, Molinar said. The store just expanded their hours of operation this week.  

Positive support from the corporate office and from the local Pullman community helped the shop to get through the pandemic. 

Molinar said that even though Thomas Hammer is based in Spokane, it is still a local business at heart. 

“We are locals ourselves,” she said. “We love working in Pullman and being right downtown and offering a really good cup of coffee or a breakfast burrito. We’re here for everyone’s coffee needs.”