Located on the corner of Summit and Thomas, Analog Coffee is the newest addition to Capitol Hill’s already robust espresso scene. Opening a café in Seattle can be tough. Everyone already has their favorite spots, and with so much competition, it takes some truly excellent coffee to set yourself apart and bring in the hordes of Stumptown, Vivace, and Starbucks devotees. Fortunately, Analog (serving up beans roasted by Herkimer Coffee) makes fantastic drinks, with a menu that simply highlights the coffee, never bogging it down with artificial flavors and syrups. The results are a truly delicious cup of coffee, where one can fully taste the nuanced flavors of an expertly-pulled shot of espresso. I have been a committed Vivace drinker since moving to Seattle last year, but after a couple visits to Analog, it was clear that Analog makes a strong contender for best coffee on Capitol Hill. I decided to have a quick chat with Analog owners Tim Hayden and Danny Hanlon, two of the nicest baristas you’re likely to find in the city, about their new venture in the Seattle coffee scene.
Seattle Gay Scene: How did you guys meet and when did you decide to go in business together?
Danny: We met while we were working in Ballard at a local coffee shop in 2005. We found that we had a similar work ethic and interest in coffee, and we enjoyed working together. We always talked about the idea of opening our own shop, and how we would do things differently.
Tim: It was about three years ago that we decided that our own shop was the next step for us. We started meeting once or twice a week and planning everything out.
SGS: Analog has had long roll-out. You did some preview runs for the neighborhood, then opened with limited hours before a full opening. How has business been since expanding your hours?
Danny: Business has been great since we opened. We ran a popup shop in the front door of our space from late January until we opened our doors on June 27th. During that time we were embraced by a dedicated group of regulars from the neighborhood. When we opened the full shop, all of those wonderful people were there to support us on our first day.
SGS: The location of Analog is tricky. It’s not on a high-traffic street, and you have some competitors in the area – the Olive Way Starbucks and Arabica Lounge are both only a couple blocks away. How did you decide on that space and location?
Tim: We believe Summit Slope offers everything we want in a neighborhood. It’s a beautiful, quiet neighborhood that’s highly walkable and a stone’s throw everything the busier streets of Capitol Hill have to offer. Our corner spot under a hundred year old apartment building has incredible character no new building can emulate.
Danny: We are excited to bring our vision of a quality focused coffee shop to the Summit Slope neighborhood.
SGS: I love Analog’s simple design and menu. It really emphasizes the quality of your coffee. What was your intention with Analog’s overall minimalism?
Danny: Analog is the result of the experience that Tim and I have accumulated while working in coffee shops over the last 10 years. It is important to us that we have time to focus on the quality of each espresso and coffee drink that we serve. Keeping our menu simple and focused is a way for us to guarantee that we have that time.
Tim: We offer amazing coffees brewed in a variety of ways, but we don’t have sandwiches and frozen drinks. We only use Fresh Breeze organic milk because it tastes best in our lattes, and it’s what we buy for ourselves. Everything is here to support the coffee.
SGS: You have a couple methods of brewing coffee that are less common that traditional drip and espresso. Can you describe the processes of pour-over and cold-brew coffee and the benefits of each of these methods?
Danny: Pour-over is a single cup drip brewing style that uses a paper filter. We have a special filter holder and kettle that allows us to control the rate which the water moves through the ground coffee as we produce each cup individually. This allows us to offer a rotating menu of seasonal coffees. The resulting coffee is a clean and clear representation of the flavors present in each varietal. Cold-brew coffee is course ground coffee steeped overnight to produce a smooth, low-acid coffee with a syrupy body. After steeping the coffee in water, we strain the grounds to produce a strong concentrate which we dilute with water to create our iced coffee. It’s so delicious!
Tim: We’re big fans of brewing methods that aren’t espresso, because they’re things anyone can do at home at a relatively low price. We’re always excited to educate people on home brewing.
SGS: You guys are the only two ever working, and you both are always there. Being open from 7 am to 6 pm, 6 days a week makes for long hours spent together. How tired of each other are you guys?
Danny: I think we are both really grateful to have such a strong working relationship and friendship. We have worked with each other every day for almost a year now, and we are still having fun.
Tim: We’ve created our ideal jobs: we make coffee and listen to records all day. It’s hard to complain.
C.G. Moore is a Missouri native with an insatiable love of the food world. He has been a cook, a server, and even a vegetable farmer on Orcas Island. He enjoys making soup, devouring literature, and secretly hopes to one day write for a shitty soap opera-ish television show.