Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to change the name Frank Conley to Larry Conlon.
For four years, Larry Conlon of Cranked Up Coffee has been researching and developing his own unique coffee system.
“I became interested in coffee about four years ago,” Conlon said. “I built a coffee roaster of my own, and it wasn’t to my liking so I spent a year researching coffee and gaining knowledge about it.”
What he has created is a 200-pound coffee shop rigged to the front end of a bicycle. Specialty gears and weight distribution allow it to run surprisingly smoothly, but there are limits.
“You’re definitely not getting over five miles an hour but with that much weight on, (but) there is no need to,” Conlon said.
When on the road, Conlon may peddle to a number of stops on Laurel, Mountain and Mason, but he can usually be found at the intersection of Mountain and College, right next to Old Town Square. Whenever a big draw like a festival or event is in town, Conlon is sure to be close by.
Cranked Up Coffee uses a cold brew process for most of their beverages.
“I steep it in natural spring water for 12 to 24 hours and then go through an extensive filtration process, put it inside of kegs and then pressurize it,” Conlon said. After that, “it is ready to be dispensed.”
Items on the menu include iced teas, matcha green tea, cream soda, root beer and, of course, coffee. Some days specialty roasts are available, such as ones with a Costa Rican honey process.
“Some of the outer mucilage is left on there so when its roasted,” Conlon said. “It creates more of a caramelized flavor. I offer that bottled off the tap almost like you would get a growler fill.”
For some drinks like the coffee and cream soda, Cranked Up applies a process called Nitro brewing.
Unlike carbonation, the Nitro process replaces Carbon Dioxide with elemental Nitrogen, “which is similar but it has smaller bubbles, and affects the liquid differently to improve the flavor rather than detract from it,” Conlon said.
The resulting effect gives the coffee or soda a surprisingly creamy finish rather than the effervescent fizz of carbonation.
“Nitro is the best non-dairy option,” Conlon said.
Cranked Up Coffee can be found on campus for events every now and then, but for students craving a Nitro brew, the cart can operate like a pizza delivery car.
“Students can feel free to call and order coffee to campus,” Conlon said.
Upcoming events Cranked Up Coffee will be serving at include Pop Up Art Carts in Old Town Square, which will be active all summer long and Fort Collins food truck rallies, which have yet to be scheduled.
You might just be able to pick up Cranked Up Coffee at the store.
“Hopefully soon we will be on shelves in local stores,” Conlon said.
To find Cranked Up Coffee anytime, check out the Facebook at facebook.com/Cranked-Up-Coffee.
Collegian reporter Matthew Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @latvatalo.