Santa Fe, New Mexico is a truly magical place, and not just because they put chiles on everything, though honestly that would be enough. A unique mix of artists, cowboys, mountains, and Pueblo architecture, Santa Fe is unlike anywhere else in the world. And in recent years, a thriving coffee scene has begun to blossom in the New Mexican desert, a place whose claim to coffee fame up to that point was putting butter in an otherwise good cup and calling it healthy.
In the center of this newfound, non-bulletproof coffee resurgence is Iconik Coffee Roasters. When we profiled Iconik a few years back, we were taken by their ability to straddle the divide between third wave sensibilities and old school coffeehouse charm. And this new location—their third—continues to find that balance, feeling like a modern cafe (replete with some serious gear) but also completely like a Santa Fe coffeehouse. But there’s no bulletproof coffee at this new Iconik; you’ll just have to go to one of their other two locations to get that part of you Santa Fe experience.
As told to Sprudge by Sean Ham.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Founded in 2013, Iconik is a third wave coffee roaster based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We operate three cafes in town and provide coffee to hotels and restaurants throughout the state. We roast on a 1927 Otto Swadlo that we’ve modified to roast to modern standards—variable drive fans, drum, and other modifications to roast tasty coffee. We believe that from seed to cup, everything matters. In each of our cafes we strive to brew the perfect cup, integrating new techniques and technologies and teaching methods to bring our customers the very best. We serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, bake our own bagels and pastries, and anything we can do ourselves, we do.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We were in search of a new location close to downtown Santa Fe that was truly unique. When we came upon an abandoned building from 1926, we knew we’d found it. Located next to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, ICONIK LUPE represents a variation on a theme for Iconik. Whereas the main Iconik’s aesthetic is Mid-century Modern meets Industrial Revolution, ICONIK LUPE is Art Nouveau/Art Deco meets Industrial Revolution. We incorporated found items and architectural design from the original building and added fixtures and furniture from the 1920s to the 1940s from an employee antiquing trip through Texas in late 2017. As much as we were able reuse and repurpose, we did, down to the 2×4 studs saved from demolition to be used for any new framing. Our barflow was designed to remove walking time for our baristas, allowing them to spend more time connecting with our customers. Our espresso machine was built on a cart for easy roll out repairs when needed. For our by-the-cup coffee, we incorporated the new Modbar AV, programing it to brew 320 gram full cups of coffee in 2-3 minutes at equal to or better cup quality than our pour-over method (which would take 5-7 minutes per cup). We have two filtration systems, one for brewed coffee, the other for espresso service, allowing us to dial in our water to our brew method. In short, ICONIK LUPE represents the sum of all of our learning from the past five years.
What’s your approach to coffee?
To connect our customers to their coffee, community, and each other. For sourcing: selecting the finest coffees available and creating direct relationships with our partner farms. For roasting: roasting with enthusiastic detail to ensure that each bean’s varietal, soil condition, altitude, and harvesting method come through in each cup. Brewing: forever refining and improving our methods to offer an extraordinary experience and extraordinary cup quality to our customers.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Already opened Jun 15th!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Yes! We tried to use as many customer craftspeople as possible. Michael May with Traveler Fine Furniture for all finish woodwork and cabinetry, Alex Barrett and John Stump for welding. For much of the buildout, painting, and fit and finish, we involved our staff to help put the finishing touches on the space to make it their own, down to plasma cutting and rolling the waterfall edge on the front of our steel counter top.
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.