Alex Johnstone and David Rothstein have biked together since high school. Alex actually uses the first bike he ever bought, a Bianchi Brava, to tow one of their new venture's twin coffee carts. Originally known as Handlebar Coffee, Alex and David's carts just received a cease-and-desist notice from a Southern California coffee company going by the Handlebar name (meanies!). Alex and David are still out there making coffee—we'll call them Formerly Handlebar here—and they'll be riding under a new name soon. Onward!
David studied environmental science at UCSC; Alex formerly worked as an arborist (tree doctor/stylist) and has a degree in urban forestry. The two of them began researching human-powered food carts a year ago. "I heard of this awesome guy in Morocco who makes potato chips off the back of this human-powered cart," David says.
Formerly Handlebar specializes in unwashed, single-origin coffees—that means they're from one farm, and the beans are dried inside the fruit. Formerly Handlebar's brewing methods are French press, pour-over, and AeroPress. The latter is the most dramatic of the processes—imagine if a Hoover attachment made coffee. The Kuma Ethiopia Borboya AeroPress was so black, it was opaque, and it smelled deliciously of curry and flowers. Their roasters are local—Conduit, Kuma, and Velton's—and Conduit delivers beans by bike, so they were natural partners.
When asked about their dream bikes, Alex says, "Ones with disc brakes. Or... rocket bikes!" Their commissary is in a mirrored Wallingford basement where Julia's drag performers rehearse. Recently they did a pop-up event with Conduit and Peddler Brewing ("A sexy trifecta," as David describes it). To find them today—and you should, since they're incredibly nice guys making great coffee—check out their Facebook (which is still facebook.com/handlebarcoffee... for now).