After ten plus years as professional cyclists, Aaron Olson and Kim Anderson have switched their focus and joined the artisanal coffee movement. Now that the race wheels are hung up, the couple is following their dream of roasting the perfect bean and providing Santa Barbara with a quality, sustainable, neighborhood coffee bar.
“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue our dreams and race at a world class level. As a result, we have a lifetime of memories and experiences that we promise will be reflected in the energy that we bring to handlebar coffee,” the couple explains. Their ultimate goal as micro-roasters is to provide an extraordinary coffee experience that’s environmentally conscientious and undeniably delicious.
“Our passion for coffee developed over the years as we found ourselves soaking up culture and catching up with friends in cafes all over the world.” They spent years as professional cyclists, participating in races all over Europe, where Anderson won the 2009 Route de France Féminine, the women’s version of the Tour de France.
The couple discovered Santa Barbara while riding in the California Amgen Tour and moved here in 2008.Olson and Anderson purchased a German-built coffee roaster, which they’ve named “Hercules,” and started roasting beans. The café and roasting company opened in November, 2011 on East Canon Perdido Street. Handlebar Coffee is a welcome addition to the area that has become a popular destination for foodies. Daily Bread Bakery, C’est Cheese, and Julienne are nearby. Jane Deering Gallery, Dristi Yoga and El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park add to the cultural mix of businesses in this block.
The coffee is created in mostly light and medium roasts, and rather than the automatic drip machine, it’s made through a press pot. The couple attended the American Coffee & Barista School in Portland, Oregon (Olson’s hometown), gaining in-depth knowledge about specialty coffee and latte art. Also available are pastries from Renaud’s Patisserie, bagels from the I.V. Bagel Café, Smith Teas and local company Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolates for hot chocolate and mochas.
The Coffee stop has become a popular destination for local biking enthusiasts, who gather before and after group rides.
With roasts happening every two to three days, the selection of bagged coffees lining the shelves changes often, with beans purchased from the Americas, Africa, and other countries.
If you can’t make it into the Santa Barbara store, you can visit the website and order freshly-roasted coffee shipped directly to you.
OPEN EVERY DAY / HOURS: Monday- Saturday 7 am – 5 pm, Sunday 8 am – 3 pm.
128 E. Canon Perdido St.# A
Santa Barbara, CA (Cross streets: Canon Perdido and Santa Barbara)
VISIT THE WEBSITE: www.handlebarcoffee.com