By Nancy Saunders

If you enjoy coffee, chances are you’ve had the pleasure of being served by Jay Stapleton, the owner of Thunder Bay’s newest coffee house. He’s worked at local haunts like The Study and the former Great Northwest Coffee Company, and currently serves Waking Giant coffee on both floors of the Thunder Bay Country Market. With a newly renovated location on Court Street at Ambrose (the old Twin Dragons), Waking Giant Coffee promises to be anything but just another coffee shop.

Stapleton is passionate about where his coffee comes from. In order to ensure that as much of the economic benefit as possible is staying in the bean belt, Waking Giant purchases its coffee through three buying groups who in turn buy straight from the growers. The buying groups visit the farms and build relationships with the growers, nurturing respectful relationships and a model for commerce that is mutually beneficial.

Over the years, Stapleton has learned a great deal about the social and economic aspects of coffee, and has “trained his palate” to notice coffee’s many subtleties and secrets. His enthusiasm for quality coffee is contagious. If (gasp!) coffee isn’t your thing, Waking Giant offers teas from International House of Tea and Boreal Forest Teas. Stapleton is also a patron of, and participant in, the local arts scene, and plans to host music and theatre events at the cafe.

Visit Waking Giant Coffee Monday through Saturday at 59 South Court Street.