Thursday, August 8, 2019

Solar Roast Coffee's new Springs location a breath of fresh brew, and style

Posted By on Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 1:31 PM

click to enlarge Awesome wall murals by Pueblo artist Mathew Taylor. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Awesome wall murals by Pueblo artist Mathew Taylor.

Solar Roast Coffee finally opened its much-anticipated Colorado Springs location on Aug. 7, taking over a former Starbucks location on Tejon Street — yeah, up the street just a few blocks from the other Starbucks — yay for an independent eating a chain, for once, rather than the other way around!

Continue scrolling and reading below to check out the stylish space.
click to enlarge A summer special rose latte, made with Solar Roast's Aristotle Blend. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A summer special rose latte, made with Solar Roast's Aristotle Blend.

If you're new to Solar Roast, check out my original interview with brothers Mike and Dave Harkop back in early 2008, when they were still roasting literally using the sun's rays as part of a solar concentrator named Helios 4, composed of 800 IKEA mirrors focused on one point, which generated more than a thousand degrees of heat with which to roast.

click to enlarge You can still buy Solar Roast beans at Mountain Mama's or Natural Grocers, and soon Whole Foods, but to guarantee maximum freshness my money's on buying on site in the coffee shop. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • You can still buy Solar Roast beans at Mountain Mama's or Natural Grocers, and soon Whole Foods, but to guarantee maximum freshness my money's on buying on site in the coffee shop.

Today, the roasting process is different, as solar panels mounted atop the Pueblo roastery on 226 N. Main Street generate about 13 kilowatt hours of energy, says Mike Hartkop. He adds that the actual roasting process only utilizes 12 kilowatt hours, leaving more available to offset office and the coffeehouse's usage.

click to enlarge Jessica and Mike Hartkop, operations manager and owner, respectively. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Jessica and Mike Hartkop, operations manager and owner, respectively.

When I ask Mike if they have plans for more expansion, he says: "This has strained every relationship I've ever been in. This is it for now." He appears to only be half joking, or not at all, but says "it's fun to be here" and walk out the doors of a familiar coffee setup but into a new town. "Pueblo has been so great to us, and there's Puebloans everywhere — we stick together." (Right next door is Bingo Burger's Pueblo expansion, for example.)
click to enlarge Mathew Taylor is also a graffiti artist who goes by Refic, and is part of Pueblo's talented Creatures Crew. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Mathew Taylor is also a graffiti artist who goes by Refic, and is part of Pueblo's talented Creatures Crew.

Another Pueblo person provided all the muralist work at this new location: Mathew Taylor, who the Indy has caught up with before, regarding his work with the Creatures Crew.

click to enlarge Let there be music! A records rack precedes the ordering counter. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Let there be music! A records rack precedes the ordering counter.

Beyond the artwork on the walls, a records shelf adds more character to the coffee shop, allowing customers a chance to peruse labels while waiting for their drinks to pop up at the pickup counter.

click to enlarge Roasts available on site include rare barrel-aged coffees. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Roasts available on site include rare barrel-aged coffees.

All coffees sourced by Solar Roast are 100-percent organic, says Mike Hartkop. Learn more about the business from this recent Colorado Springs Business Journal article.
click to enlarge The facade shows a taste of what style awaits inside. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The facade shows a taste of what style awaits inside.

Indulge me this bit of self-satisfaction, but I'm overjoyed to see my 11-year-old article still posted on Solar Roast's walls, still getting to tell the story of the mad scientist Dave Hartkop.

"Our overall vision is ... to be a recognized brand and entity in the world of coffee," said Mike at the time. "That means being able to provide coffee to anyone in the world who wants it and following through with vision of solar roast using alternative energy for industry."
click to enlarge We always love to see our work represented by places we write about. I first met the Harkop brothers in early 2008, when they were still roasting on their wild Helios 4 machine, made from 800 IKEA mirrors that concentrated sunlight. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • We always love to see our work represented by places we write about. I first met the Harkop brothers in early 2008, when they were still roasting on their wild Helios 4 machine, made from 800 IKEA mirrors that concentrated sunlight.

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