Anchorhead Coffee recently expanded to Issaquah from its Seattle location, but the growing company’s owners have even bigger dreams for their chain.
The Duvall-based coffee brewer opened an Issaquah location last December, following an opening of their Seattle branch in 2016. On top of this, co-owner Jack Paulson said he and Mike Steiner are planning on expanding to another unnamed Eastside location in coming months.
We’ve always been interested in the Eastside,” Paulson said. “…I wanna just keep going.”
Paulson said they initially wanted to set up in Bellevue, but the Seattle location was such a good deal they couldn’t pass it up.
The specialty coffee brewer roasts much of its coffee in-house and has a bakery at its warehouse, which makes fresh pastries every morning that are distributed to the two locations and baked on-site. Anchorhead Coffee has become somewhat famous for a baked confection known as the Quaffle, a cinnamon role made of croissant dough baked in a waffle press, an offering that is available in Issaquah and Seattle.
The road to coffee for Paulson wasn’t one he had initially planned on taking. He and Steiner used to work as audio engineers for touring bands, including Mayday Parade and The Acacia Strain. While on the road, they would seek out good coffee shops, which around 2013 they said could be hard to come by.
After a while, Paulson said they got tired of being on the road 11 months out of the year and started thinking about what their next step would be.
“You just work all the time,” he said.
They took an interest in cold brew coffee and began selling it at local farmers markets in 2013. Eventually, their coffee made its way into major retailers like PCC and Whole Foods, which let them begin expanding in earnest.
While Paulson said Anchorhead Coffee will always produce its line of cold brew drinks, hot drinks are much more versatile.
“There’s so much more that you can do with whole bean coffee,” he said.
Paulson said the company plans on opening additional shops in Seattle, but also has its sights set on expanding to other major metros like Portland, Los Angeles and even the East Coast eventually. The explosion of smaller coffee retailers is allowing businesses like his to get in the door as Paulson said developers have been contacting him with interest in bringing a location to other cities.
While he thinks large chains like Starbucks have helped redefine how people think of coffee, he said people are looking to Seattle for the next big wave in the coffee industry.
While business has been somewhat slow since they opened, possibly due to the shop’s location in a quiet side street west of Issaquah, it has been picking up, Paulson said. Ultimately he would like to move to downtown Issaquah but for now he’s planning on working from the location and hoping to start a small farmers market in the shop’s courtyard.
Anchorhead Coffee is located at 188 Shy Bear Way NW.