AK Grind Espresso


By Jesse Busick


It was a little before 9:30 am in South Anchorage and the seven plus hours of daylight that we Alaskans hold so dear were ticking away quickly.  A little over a year ago, AK Grind Espresso opened up on the corner of Old Seward and Industry. Lisa Armstrong, AK Grind’s owner was nice enough to invite me over for some freshly drawn espresso and conversation.
I hesitate to use the word “Coffee Shack” when describing AK Grind, with their wood floors, granite counter tops and country music playing in the background( I immediately felt at home).  If you are a coffee lover like me (Coffee fanatic) you know that there is just something about that wonderful rich aroma that permeates a room when it’s time for coffee and I was not disappointed as I walked through the front door at AK Grind.  Sierra Hadley, who has been perfecting her craft for over six years now said that, “ it’s all in the timing” when “drawing” that perfect espresso.  The combination of the correct grind, dose,tamp and the all important pour (roughly 20-30 seconds) take years to perfect and Sierra has done so.
Lisa has a business degree from UAA and a long career in sales and public relations here in Alaska.  She has put her set of skills to good use with AK Grind and it shows.  Starting a coffee shack in Alaska is not for the faint of heart.  Between the “Muni” regulations, State permits and the amount of financing needed to start a coffee shack, one would have to think twice before pouring their first espresso.
Lisa said, “ we had our daughter Sydney-Jane in mind when we started the coffee shop”.  Sydney-Jane has been professionally trained as a Barista and helps run AK Grind when she is not away at school in Sitka.  Like a lot of Alaskan small businesses, they are family run.  Early in the morning Lisa’s husband Pete arrives with the daily supplies while Lindsey Fuglestad (their niece) preps the coffee shop with Sierra (a long time friend from High School).
I was immediately treated like family when I arrived and so is everyone else who frequently stops by for their daily dose of caffeine.  If you find yourself near the corner of Old Seward and Industry, stop by AK Grind Espresso for a cup (You will be glad you did).