You know what I love? I love people who have a great idea and work really hard to make it happen. I love it when people dream big. I love cities that welcome unique, even radical ideas. I also love coffee.
All those things came together in Pueblo, a city I love because it’s been good to my sister, whom I love.
Solar Roast Coffee roasts coffee beans using solar power. Yes, the name is pretty self-explanatory. Here’s how it happened.
Mike and his brother, from Oregon, thought roasting coffee beans with solar power would be a good idea. Nobody was doing it, so they gave it a try. They started in their parent’s backyard, sticking tinfoil and Ikea mirrors all over an unused satellite dish. A broccoli strainer was also involved. They named it Helios, after the Greek god that drove the sun across the sky. They were dreaming big. When you name a broccoli strainer “Helios,” you're dreaming big. Then they took it to the next level.
They built a bigger roaster and put it on a trailer, hauling it around trying to get people to notice. (I’m picturing Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad, cooking meth in an RV in the desert. Just with coffee instead of meth.)
Then they looked for a permanent location. Oregon didn’t have enough sunshine. California had sunshine, but too many regulations. Arizona had sunshine, but no water out in the desert where the sunshine was best. They got thirsty, roasting coffee all day long on that trailer in the desert.
Then they found Pueblo, Colorado. You know, of “Write to Pueblo, Colorado, for more information!” fame. Pueblo had sunshine, an affordable lifestyle, a university, and no crazy restrictions on new, unique businesses.
Mike took us through the coffee shop, roasting room, offices, and packing area. They are really happy to have all that under one roof, instead of scattered around town. So far, they have rented four adjacent storefronts in downtown Pueblo. Like many downtowns in America, Pueblo could use some revitalization. Solar Roast is helping with that.
After the tour, I naturally needed to drink some Solar Roast coffee to see if their wacko idea really worked. Boy, does it! The coffee is smooth and clean tasting, really delicious. I’m not a professional coffee critic, so I don’t know how to use words like “robust” and “overtones.” I’ll just say it was delicious, and I’ll look for it wherever I go.
Do you have a favorite coffee? Have you tried Solar Roast Coffee?