Now this is a sidecar! In coffee terms, the sidecar is the small glass of bubbly water served alongside an espresso. But Urban Sailor Coffee has taken the term a bit more literally. Taking up the passenger seat of a Ural Sidecar Motorcycle, Urban Sailor is a fully functioning cafe on wheels, ready to pop up at event around Salt Lake City and beyond. Now you can have your sidecar served from a sidecar. To learn more, we spoke with Urban Sailor’s Tyler Anderson.
As told to Sprudge by Tyler Anderson.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Urban Sailor Coffee was launched in late May 2021. My 22-year-old son has been a barista for the last few years and he and I both love motorcycles and have several in our garage that we work on and ride together. During the pandemic we got the idea to combine our love of motorcycles and our love of third-wave specialty coffee. Although there are a couple of great specialty coffee cafe’s in downtown Salt Lake City, we believed this high-growth city was underserved for specialty coffee—particularly in the Sugarhouse area where we live. We started designing a coffee bar on top of a URAL sidecar motorcycle. We chose this path for a few reasons—one, it was something we felt combined two passions of ours and we could make look very cool, and secondly the lower entry point cost compared to a full-size food truck made it more feasible for us to get started this way. The finished URAL coffee bar turns heads whether we’re set up or driving it to locations. The amazing espresso and coffees that we get from combining our favorite nordic style roasted beans from Anchorhead Coffee with our La Marzocco GS3 really pays off the whole thing and people who try our coffee realize the whole set up is legit and not just a gimmick. We offer every kind of espresso-based drink as well as premium filter coffee from a Ratio Six and pour-over and AeroPress coffees as well. We launched Urban Sailor Coffee on May 24th, 2021 and have done some large festivals this summer including the Under the Big Sky music and arts festival in Whitefish, Montana and the Kimball Arts Festival in Park City, Utah.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We had help with the walnut countertops from a local company called Lunacy Woodworks. It wasn’t easy meeting all of the county requirements of a hot water hand washing sink on board, but we were able to squeeze two five-gallon fresh water tanks (that we fill with purified bottled water), a 13-gallon gray water tank, two on-demand pumps, and an on-demand tankless hot water heater as well as all the electrical and plumbing to service all the appliances. We fold up the walnut countertops and ride the URAL to and from local events. For distant events (like Montana from Utah) we put the URAL on a trailer and tow it.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We want to keep things simple with our menu, but we’re all about high quality ingredients and attention to detail in every part of the process and of course the highest quality equipment for consistency and reliability. We use only specialty blends and single origin coffees roasted by our favorite micro roaster, Anchorhead Coffee in Seattle. We would like to get into roasting our own beans (small batch) in the next year once we have a brick and mortar location of our own.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We believe that using the highest quality equipment and measuring everything produces the constantly great results that we strive for. The only constraint we had with our equipment was space (we have about a 50″ x 25″ workspace), so we had to find great equipment that also had a small footprint. We use a La Marzocco GS3, Anfim Scody II primary grinder, Ratio Six filter coffee maker, Fellow Ode grinder for filter coffee grinds as well as pour-over and AeroPress coffees. Our distribution and tamping tools (from Saint Anthony Industries) are calibrated using their Bachmann Accu Drive system for repeatability and precision. We weigh our grinds going in and all of our shots coming out using scales from Acaia and Timemore.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We take sustainability seriously and do what we can locally to responsibly dispose of our gray water and compost our coffee pucks as well as use only compostable hot coffee cups and 100% PET plastic cups and sip lids for iced drinks. On the larger sustainability front, we support a roaster that works closely with the suppliers and makes sure that the beans are ethically sourced and the coffee farmers and workers at all stages of coffee production are compensated fairly. We are also planning to replace our support vehicle (Toyota FJ Cruiser) and our 3800 watt generator with an all electric Ford F-150 Lightning when that is available early 2022.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We launched Urban Sailor Coffee on May 24th, 2021
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
I would definitely like to give props to Dusty and Dave at Lunacy Woodworks who took our vision and drawings for the countertops and built the walnut butcher block countertops for us even better than we imagined they could look.
Thank you for considering our small mobile coffee bar as one of the build-outs of 2021.