Rising Star Roaster Mike Steiner of Anchorhead Coffee - Biography

Seattle, WA

January 2020

Jake Paulson and Mike Steiner never would have guessed that their sudden career change—what was once a joke—would become one of the most popular independent coffee brands in Seattle. Paulson and Steiner met while studying audio production at the Art Institute of Seattle. When they graduated in 2006, they followed a similar path. Paulson and Steiner travelled the globe, assisting rock bands as audio engineers, producers, and tour managers. But life on the road grew exhausting, and the duo missed having a home base. They began playing around with the idea of quitting their jobs and opening a coffee shop together. One month later, they were serving Anchorhead Coffee across Seattle.

Neither Paulson nor Steiner had any experience in coffee, but with the internet and dozens of roasting books at their disposal, they began roasting beans in Steiner’s garage in 2013. They started off focusing on cold brew, bottling their brew, and selling it at trade shows and farmers markets. In 2015, Anchorhead took first place at the America's Best Espresso Competition. Quickly amassing a following, in 2016 they opened their first brick-and-mortar coffee shop in downtown Seattle, featuring a full coffee menu, four cold brew taps, specialty coffee and tea drinks, beer and wine, and quaffles (cinnamon roll croissant waffles). Paulson and Steiner started selling their beans online and, in 2018, opened two more Anchorhead locations—one in Bellevue and another in Issaquah. With another cafe opening in Pike Place Market in spring 2020, Paulson and Steiner see no sudden career change in sight. 

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