Seattle: Analog Coffee
Words by Joanna Han Photographs by Michael A. Muller
We interviewed Danny Hanlon of Seattle’s Analog Coffee, a neighborhood gem in Capitol Hill.
Analog Coffee began as a pop-up shop that operated out of a doorway on Summit Avenue, Capitol Hill. “We served only batches of French press and individual pour-over coffee to go,” says co-owner Danny Hanlon. Six months later, the tiny doorway pop-up expanded into a full shop, and Danny and his business partner Tim Hayden quickly turned it into a favorite neighborhood coffee shop. Serving Herkimer Coffee from Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, pastries from Macrina Bakery, donuts from Mighty-O and granola from Tall Grass Bakery, Analog is happy to be working with some of the best Seattle has to offer. “We’re lucky to live in a town where our espresso machine is local too,” he says. (They use a 3-Group Hydra from Seattle-based company Synesso.) We asked Danny to tell us more about the shop.
What objective did you have in mind when you started Analog?
What we hoped to accomplish with Analog was to create our ideal coffee shop on both sides of the counter—we set out create our dream jobs and wanted to form a unique, comfortable neighborhood coffee shop that served incredible coffee. Keeping a simple menu allows us to really focus on quality and helps us on both sides.
Tell us about your background in coffee.
Tim began working in a coffee shop in Athens, Georgia, while he was in school, and my first coffee job was working for Tully’s, just after graduating high school. We met at Verite Coffee in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and were impressed by each other’s dedication, work ethic and desire to expand our coffee knowledge. When we opened Analog, we each had more than a decade of experience in the industry.
We love the look of your shop—it actually reminds us a bit of our office. What inspired the aesthetic?
We were influenced by the clean, bright design aesthetic of some modern Scandinavian designers. We wanted a coastal, nautical feeling, like a weathered beach house. It was a challenge to avoid adding too much, and we were constantly defending our minimalist approach to everyone on the job site, but we were really happy with the finished product. The steel and wood bar in the window and the adjacent sitting bar along the wall were designed and built by local design studio Chadhaus.
Is there a story behind the publications you have on-hand? There always seems to be a stack of interesting reads on the tables at Analog.
We keep a selection of newspapers, magazines and comics in our shop for customers to read, and the magazines tend to be either art or cooking focused while the comics are a mix of superheroes and indie titles. The entire neighborhood is waiting anxiously for the new issue of Saga to arrive.
What do you hope to be contributing to Seattle’s coffee culture, and where do you hope the city’s coffee scene will be in a few years?
We hope to be providing an example of how a simple, quality-driven coffee bar can be a successful business model. We also wanted to open up a strong independent coffee shop in a city that had been dominated for so long by just a few multiple-location roasters. Hopefully manual brewing and simple, honest espresso drinks will one day become a standard of the Seattle coffee scene. I think we’re headed in the right direction, but people have been doing things the other way for a long time here.
What do you love most about working at Analog and being a part of the neighborhood you’re in?
There are a lot of reasons to love our part of Capitol Hill—our customers are great, there are great restaurants and bars nearby and we have some beautiful old buildings on our street. We’re lucky to be in a neighborhood that values our approach to coffee and our aesthetic. The social interaction of being a neighborhood shop with lots of regular customers is also amazing. It’s pretty nice to come into work every day to listen to records and make great coffee and joke around with customers.
235 Summit Avenue E.
Seattle, Washington 98102