Soulfreak Studio Cafe: Coffee shop aims to be home for all

This work was created by local artist Nicky Davis. It only took him half a day to complete it all, Cortez said.
This work was created by local artist Nicky Davis. It only took him half a day to complete it all, Cortez said.

This work was created by local artist Nicky Davis. It only took him half a day to complete it all, Cortez said.

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Soulfreak owner Amy Cortez encourages customers to express themselves through drawings and sketches, which is why she provides a canvas where people can draw what they wish. Once the space fills up, Soulfreak promotes some of the best drawings on its social media pages. Photos by Andy Yanez/Community Impact Newspaper
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Owner Amy Cortez got the urge to bring back Soulfreak in January 2019.
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Pearland Roasters Coffee has given Soulfreak its own unique blend with a special bag.
Nestled near the corner where Marina Bay Drive meets Clear Lake Road sits Soulfreak Studio Cafe, a building whose bright colors and characters on its wall catch the eye and evoke a reaction, Soulfreak owner Amy Albro said.

The business, which first opened in October 2019, has become a staple of the community for its emphasis not only on creating a welcoming environment for all, but also supporting local businesses, Albro said.

“It is home for everybody,” Albro said.

While the hybrid coffee shop, which is also part retail store and even offers boutique wine, has only been at its Clear Lake location for about two years, the Soulfreak name has been around since 2015, Albro said.

It started off as Albro’s philanthropist shop in Kemah selling shirts to raise money for Costa Rican nonprofit CEPIA—or Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents—and Rahab’s Rope, an organization that spreads awareness and aims to help victims of sex trafficking.


The original idea behind Soulfreak was meant to represent that underneath it all, people are all the same and equally welcome—a concept that has carried over now as a coffee shop, Albro said.

After the original Soulfreak closed, Albro got the itch to revive the brand in January 2019.

“Something in me said I needed to bring it back,” she said.

Albro, who was looking to help the artistic friends she had made while going back to school for urban design, wanted to provide a space where they could showcase their work. The coffee was an anchor to attract more people, she said.

The building where Soulfreak is located had been left behind after Hurricane Harvey washed out the previous snow cone business, Albro said. When she came in, she rebuilt it by painting, installing doors and other work.

One of the things Albro said she takes pride in is how Soulfreak has helped the local community. Its coffee comes from Pearland Coffee Roasters, and other offerings such as cake balls from Angie’s Cake and chicken salads from Niche Catering are all local.

Some of the artwork around the shop was done by Albro, her friends and other artists. Even the mural displayed on the building’s exterior was painted by a local artist, Albro said. On most nights, Soulfreak hosts live music on the outdoor patio.

“[Soulfreak is] vibrant and open to all,” Albro said. “And, with great coffee.”
By Andy Yanez

Reporter, Pearland/Friendswood

Andy joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Houston. He started off as the South Houston Metro Reporter where he helped each different edition in the South Houston market before transitioning to the Pearland/Friendswood market in August 2021. Andy covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Andy served as the sports editor of The Cougar, UH's student newspaper, where he covered the university's athletics beat for two years and got to cover the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in Indianapolis.


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