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Feb 14, 2024

Urban Sailor Coffee: Small Business Spotlight

We are so excited to spotlight our newest member kitchen feature, Urban Sailor Coffee! Read on to hear more from Tyler Anderson about all things coffee, Keanu Reeves and more.

What is Urban Sailor Coffee? 

Urban Sailor Coffee is a Specialty Coffee Roaster based in SLC with two cafes – we are one of the first ‘Nordic style’ coffee roasters here in Utah.

How did you get into coffee? 

A move from SLC to Seattle back in the late 90’s was the point that I really got into coffee. I lived there for 5 years and had an office near some of the best coffee shops in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. I developed a love for good coffee and well designed coffee shops during that time and thought about opening my own for the next 20 years until the COVID pandemic finally motivated me to leave my corporate career and follow my dream. In 2021 we opened our first cafe in the Sugarhouse neighborhood we have lived in for the last 20 years (since returning from Seattle in 2003)

What has your path to entrepreneurship looked like? 

It was a leap of faith, but we didn’t jump right into a retail café – instead we began our small business journey with a mobile coffee cart that we built on top of a sidecar motorcycle. My partner (and son) – Archer was the sole barista and piloted the sidecar coffee bar around Downtown SLC, Sugarhouse and the Avenues for events and pop ups during 2021.

How have you adapted your business to accommodate growth? 

The biggest thing we did was acquire an existing coffee roasting business in 2022 that allowed us to roast the coffee exactly the way we wanted it to taste for our new cafés and the ongoing mobile events we continue to do. Roasting our own coffees has helped us grow and has set us apart.

What is your favorite memory so far related to Urban Sailor Coffee?  

There are so many cool memories we’ve created as a family business with all four of my sons being involved, but I’d have to say being asked to set up our motorcycle coffee bar in the middle of the desert near Moab for a tv show shoot (AMCs The Ride) which featured Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick, Matrix). Norman and Keaneu loved having our espresso and it created a viral video that got millions of views on Tik Tok and Instagram.

What is the secret to a great cup of coffee? 

There is a lot of steps to creating a great cup of coffee. The quality of the green beans that you start with may be the most important part. We like flavorful coffees that tend to be grown in high altitudes and are typically grown in the shade of other trees. Those are more expensive coffees because of the additional work it takes to harvest them. Then it has to be roasted carefully to bring out the flavors to their full potential. Lastly, it needs to be brewed or extracted with the right equipment and technique whether it’s being extracted as espresso or brewed as a pour over or steeped for 24 hours to make cold brew.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting out? 

Find a way to do a Proof of Concept for whatever it is you think you can do different or better than the competition. Really listen to what your customers are telling you and don’t be afraid to pivot early if what you thought you wanted to do is not working.

How can people best support you? 

The best way to support us is to become a regular at one of our cafés and contribute to the diverse community we are bringing together daily. The second best way is to purchase a subscription of our bags of locally roasted coffee that can be delivered to your door or picked up at one of our cafés every two weeks or once a month.

Swing by for a fresh cup of coffee with a tour and trial at The Shop SLC today.