Any help with some feedback on my Solar-Powered Mobile Iced Coffee(Cold Press) Cart Bicycle idea?

i've decided to publicize my idea, so i can to ask you good coffee people for feedback even though someone might steal the idea...

I want to get a solar powered cooler, with a spigot/tap on from which to dispense the iced coffee, attached to a bicycle trailer.  I am still considering the mechanics & daily practices of the idea, so for now i want to assume the licensing&permitting&health ordinances can be figured out.  And i want to assume i can find a good supply of organic, fair trade beans.  My concern now is can the logistics & economics work out--or more specifically, what equipment would be needed & how much would it cost.  For example, there is a $700 solar-powered cooler that runs on a 45w or 75w solar panel.  That cooler weighs 75 lbs, and holds 50 liters interior capacity, and from what i have found that kind of solar panel costs one or two hundred dollars and weighs 15 lbs.

My major logistical&economical questions that remain are:   Can i find a commercial kitchen from which to rent space?  How can I assemble a good set of cold-press brewing equipment while avoiding the use of plastics as much as practicable?  What about a freezer, as opposed to a cooler? 

for solar-powered purposes, a freezer requires 3.5 times as much power so it would get really heavy.  but could i store a big ice chest in a walk-in freezer overnight, at the rented kitchen space, a.k.a. commissary, then haul it out on the bicycle along with the solar-powered cooler, in the morning?  this one is expensive, but i think it weighs only 30 lbs. and maybe it has good insulation enough to get the ice through the afternoon: http://delfield.com/?xhtml=xhtml/del/us/en/general/product.html&...

The fact that this ice chest wouldn't have any refrigerant or cooling power kind of defeats the purpose of the solar-powered cooler, to an extent, or at least makes it more gimmicky........

so thats one of my dilemmas at the present moment.

thanks for any thoughts!

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I don't have time right now to comment in detail. I will say to you from experience, don't worry about someone stealing your idea. #1 What you have in mind is not that easy and simple to steal in the first place. First you have to have a TON of coffee passion to go with all the details your laying out. Not to mention some $'s to go with it. When you get it all put together you will have your own market and following.
The traction you can get her on BX is more than worth the "risk" of someone stealing your thought. Who knows someone might already have it somewhere in the world of coffee and they might even be a member here and be willing to give you some pointers.
Have fun, I will be back to read about your project in more detail when I can break away from my Probat.
Joe.
I agree with Joseph... if things such as this were easy/cheap alot more people would be doing it. To do something as complicated as coffee and to do it mobile is quite the undertaking. My wife and I operate a mobile espresso van and have learned alot through trial and error. NOTHING is as easy as it may seem. Later!
thanks Joseph,
i think you're right that its unhelpful to be afraid of idea theft. because its good to talk to people, so as to share info & evolve new ideas. my basic idea is potentially good because it "capitalizes" on the recent trends away from conventional industrial agribusiness towards the "local, organic, sustainable, energy-efficient, zero-waste" etc., and because it cuts out all the hot beverages & the machines associated with their preparation. my idea streamlines the mobile coffee cart by cutting out all the options&choices&extras to which the american consumer is accustomed. And cold-pressed coffee is really good--i really like the ice-extraction method more than hot water-extracted coffee, and i think that scientifically one could argue it is a better way to extract all the oils & good stuff that occurs naturally in roasted beans than using hot water-preparation, which can burn & deteriorate some of those oils & good stuff through the hot water-extraction process.

its not cheap to buy the equipment and have it manufactured into a custom-made bicycle coffee cart, sure, and its only a good idea for hot, sunny weather, right?

so i think because the confluence of those 3 factors--the trend away from industrial agribusiness toward the local organic, the superiority of ice-extracted coffee to conventional hot coffee, and the fact that its a good Hot Weather business idea--is so sensible in my mind, it might make this particular idea particularly susceptible to being taken & run with by some person or some rich corporation. but again, more to gain than to lose from talking & sharing ideas.

The equipment would weigh at least 120-200 lbs. by my rough estimate, so there is the question of whether its a reasonable amount of weight that a person could tow behind them on a bicycle. And then for manuveuring on city streets it might be necessary to get brake lights, turn signals, and head light & so on, so there's an electrical wiring cost.... and a consideration of whether it could be put on solar power or battery or whatever.

okay there's my thoughts for now, im going to go get some morning coffee, and it will probably be hot brewed.

thanks again joe!


Joseph Robertson said:
I don't have time right now to comment in detail. I will say to you from experience, don't worry about someone stealing your idea. #1 What you have in mind is not that easy and simple to steal in the first place. First you have to have a TON of coffee passion to go with all the details your laying out. Not to mention some $'s to go with it. When you get it all put together you will have your own market and following.
The traction you can get her on BX is more than worth the "risk" of someone stealing your thought. Who knows someone might already have it somewhere in the world of coffee and they might even be a member here and be willing to give you some pointers. Have fun, I will be back to read about your project in more detail when I can break away from my Probat. Joe.
Very "Cool" idea. Pun intended. ;^)
I think you have a great basic foot print plan. You got my imaination wheels a spinning. I have some more thoughts to share when I'm not at the Barista station. Oh, before I go, forget the Corporate marrige. This idea belongs the the grass roots guys like you. Who needs stock holders? If I ever got that big I would break them all up like Ma Bell was forces way back to make Baby bells.
Cheers for now aaron,
Joe

aaron j said:
thanks Joseph,
i think you're right that its unhelpful to be afraid of idea theft. because its good to talk to people, so as to share info & evolve new ideas. my basic idea is potentially good because it "capitalizes" on the recent trends away from conventional industrial agribusiness towards the "local, organic, sustainable, energy-efficient, zero-waste" etc., and because it cuts out all the hot beverages & the machines associated with their preparation. my idea streamlines the mobile coffee cart by cutting out all the options&choices&extras to which the american consumer is accustomed. And cold-pressed coffee is really good--i really like the ice-extraction method more than hot water-extracted coffee, and i think that scientifically one could argue it is a better way to extract all the oils & good stuff that occurs naturally in roasted beans than using hot water-preparation, which can burn & deteriorate some of those oils & good stuff through the hot water-extraction process.

its not cheap to buy the equipment and have it manufactured into a custom-made bicycle coffee cart, sure, and its only a good idea for hot, sunny weather, right?

so i think because the confluence of those 3 factors--the trend away from industrial agribusiness toward the local organic, the superiority of ice-extracted coffee to conventional hot coffee, and the fact that its a good Hot Weather business idea--is so sensible in my mind, it might make this particular idea particularly susceptible to being taken & run with by some person or some rich corporation. but again, more to gain than to lose from talking & sharing ideas.

The equipment would weigh at least 120-200 lbs. by my rough estimate, so there is the question of whether its a reasonable amount of weight that a person could tow behind them on a bicycle. And then for manuveuring on city streets it might be necessary to get brake lights, turn signals, and head light & so on, so there's an electrical wiring cost.... and a consideration of whether it could be put on solar power or battery or whatever.

okay there's my thoughts for now, im going to go get some morning coffee, and it will probably be hot brewed.

thanks again joe!


Joseph Robertson said:
I don't have time right now to comment in detail. I will say to you from experience, don't worry about someone stealing your idea. #1 What you have in mind is not that easy and simple to steal in the first place. First you have to have a TON of coffee passion to go with all the details your laying out. Not to mention some $'s to go with it. When you get it all put together you will have your own market and following.
The traction you can get her on BX is more than worth the "risk" of someone stealing your thought. Who knows someone might already have it somewhere in the world of coffee and they might even be a member here and be willing to give you some pointers. Have fun, I will be back to read about your project in more detail when I can break away from my Probat. Joe.
"for now i want to assume the licensing&permitting&health ordinances can be figured out"

It's going to take a lot of solar panels to generate enough electricity for heating water in order to meet health dept regulations. Using a solar water heater will probably not produce consistant water temperatures for the health dept.

Ron, the Country Guy
thanks for that thought Ron, but its not so relevant because we are talking iced coffee. It can easily be prepared in advance in a kitchen that meets all the health dept requirements, using ice-extraction, not hot-water extraction like espresso & drip coffee. you see?

i appreciate your input,
aaron


Ron Ingber said:
"for now i want to assume the licensing&permitting&health ordinances can be figured out"

It's going to take a lot of solar panels to generate enough electricity for heating water in order to meet health dept regulations. Using a solar water heater will probably not produce consistant water temperatures for the health dept.

Ron, the Country Guy
Aaron, don't want to overthink this, but my Health Dept guy (who is great and has been very helpful) requires that any clean-up type water utilize standard sanitizing solution. I use the "Quarternary Sanitizing Tablets" from SYSCO, which specifies 1 tablet per 1 1/2 gallons of warm water.

As spills do happen, I am sure you are planning on wipeing down counters, refridgerator, etc. and I believe that you will need warm water (temperature is not specified) for this. I don't think you can count on bringing the cart back to the kitchen for all of the wipedown/cleanup.

Ron, the Country Guy
Ron, hot water would be needed for something like this in my area also. We sell our beans at a local art market and many people use the orange 5 gallon coolers with spigots and a bucket underneath as sinks. You should be able to fill a cooler like this up with hot water at the beginning of the day and still have hot water at the end of the day. This works for the health department in my area anyways.
When the market first started the health dept. tried to make it a requirement for any vendor selling food or beverage to have a hot water sink on site. People were creative with the cooler and bucket idea and in this case it worked for the health dept. However this may not work for every health dept. as codes change from dept. to dept. and leniency changes from inspector to inspector.

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