The fourth retail coffee bar by Seattle-based company Anchorhead Coffee has opened in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, occupying a 4,300-square-foot two-level space with an onsite bakery.
The new bakery headquarters has in turn freed up space for expansion at Anchorhead’s production roastery in nearby Duvall, Washington.
Coffee folks may recognize the Capitol Hill location as the former Seattle roastery cafe of Portland, Oregon-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters, although the interior has been wholly transformed with raven-black surfaces throughout, natural wood, exposed brick, and green splashes from potted plants and monstera-pattern wallpaper.
Street-level windows cast natural light into the stairwell leading to the lower level where a comfortable cocktail lounge-like setting provides views into the bakery and a room for wholesale clients and classes.
On the 700-square-foot main level, black hexagonal tiles pattern the front of the coffee bar, upon which pops of salmon pink are provided by the mounted groups of a prototype under-counter super-automatic espresso system created by the Seattle company Mavam.
“So far it’s been pretty solid,” Anchorhead Founder Jake Paulson said of the prototype. “Being able to take the workload off one of those employees and have them doing something else and still have the consistency, and the shots coming out as quickly, it’s just such a huge benefit in my eyes.”
Downstairs, meanwhile, human hands and commercial kitchen gear are stretching dough every which way to help fill the small chain’s pastry cases.
“We wanted to expand our offerings, and to get into croissants and more laminated dough stuff, because that seems to be what’s the most popular,” said Paulson. “When we saw this space we knew it wasn’t big enough for the roastery to come down here, so we were like, ‘well, we could move the bakery,’ and it allows us to expand our menu at all of the shops.”
Back at the roastery in Duvall, Anchorhead’s green storage capacity has expanded significantly, while some space has been reserved for a 35-kilo Loring Kestrel that will eventually nest alongside the company’s existing 15-kilo Loring Falcon.
“We’re not quite to the point where we could use both roasters, said Paulson, “but I think — well, I hope — that within a year’s time, we’ll be at that spot where both of them will be utilized.”
By that point, a fifth Anchorhead location may have opened, in the entirely new market of Nashville, Tennessee. Paulson said construction at the downtown Nashville shop is complete, equipment is being installed and staffing starts next week.
“With our background, me and my business partner, being in the music industry, we have a ton of friends that live in Nashville,” said Paulson. “So we’ve actually talked about opening in Nashville before. Then when this came about, it was just something we couldn’t turn down. So if this one goes well, the plan is to definitely do more there, and start expanding to other major markets.”
Anchorhead launched in 2013 primarily as an RTD cold brew brand before eventually expanding roasting operations and opening its first cafe in downtown Seattle in 2016.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.