I'm currently planning on finally starting my coffee business, but I decided starting small is the best choice for me. 

 

I'm going open a coffee cart, but I'm trying to keep it at around $9000. I think I have it all planned out. What's left to do is get the fun legal Junk out of the way, and then construct. 

 

The only thing I'm confused about is the water plumbing. I know I need:

Pump

Filter

Water Tank

Drain Tank

Generator

 

Do I need a hot water heater? Or does the espresso machine take care of that? I'm planning on a 2 group Semi-Automatic Elektra Sixties (Gold in case you're interested for lust reasons). 

 

Please help me with any other information. 

I believe I have a great business plan with all planned out. 

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You really just need an on demand diaphram pump (FloJet or Shurflow). This will get water from a water jug to your espresso machine. When the espresso machines internal pump opens up & tries to pump more water in, the on demand pump senses a drop in water pressure & turns on until that water pressure has stabilized (the internal pump stops pumping) then stops. You should need any form of hot water (I dont think I've ever seen an espresso machine, unless maybe a handpressi or some other form of small form machine, that doesnt boil its own water). Depending on where you plan on setting this cart up, you need to consider power. Is this a 220V? If so, you'll limit yourself to where you setup because you'll have to make sure the right power or plug is always available. If you go with a 110V machine you shouldnt have much power problems.
You will need a small 2gal hot water tank health code for your wash sink and hand sink I would check with the health dept on your wash sinks size.
And when you go for your health department application plan review and license don't be surprised if it pushes a Grand...

Tom Mohr said:
You will need a small 2gal hot water tank health code for your wash sink and hand sink I would check with the health dept on your wash sinks size.

Awesome! Thanks for all the help. I've checked the flojet pumps, but I wasn't aware of exactly what they did or how they are different. 

 

I won't need more than 2 gal? I know espresso is tiny, so it sounds about right to me. I'm planning on using a refurbished generator, unless I happen to change location and there's an outlet for me, in which case I'll use an electrical panel and such. 

 

Anything you think would help would be great. What's unexpected about the cart that I might not think about. I'm aware about price, legal work, and all the stuff that makes you shudder. But Is there something only learned by experience you can share??

 

Thanks again. 

 

I'm going to be serving V60 for coffee, and I want to use a 5 liter boiler, do you think that's big enough for 9 hours? Possibly one refill? I'm guessing with coffee and espresso, it should be about right. 

 

Cold brew: I like the Japanese style pour over cold brew, but that can be difficult measuring ice, and I haven't decided about ice, or even if I want it. I'm considering the stumptown style cold brew via toddy (sp?) and bottled the night before or morning of. But experience tells me that this won't be nearly as good. Thought? I don't want cold brew, but summer time in a tourist town, it's essential. 

What Tom was talking about being 2 gals is a hot water heater. If you don't have hot water available to wash/rinse/sanitize pitchers, utensils, etc. you MUST have some sort of commissary (certified kitchen, etc) in which to do it. You will also have to get your fresh water from a known safe source as well as having a place to dump your grey water.

 

FloJet and ShurFlo make pressure sensitive pumps that will kick ON/OFF automatically based on water usage. Can be bought in 12v or 120v versions from what I've seen.

 

Don't think I'd want a noisy generator for a cart setup unless that is absolutely the only power source you can come up with. You might want to look into propane for your machine and an inverter system for all else.

John,

You'll really want to suss out that business plan and make sure you're factoring all the necessary issues into your cart.  Is your cart completely mobile?  Things like a sink/hot water source for cleaning, the real amount of water you'll need, power requirements, permitting, etc.etc.etc.  are all the more important on a cart.

Once you have a cart built and up, it's very difficult to change it due to space constraints and such.  The last thing you want to do is dump a bunch of money into a mobile cart only to find out it can only handle an hours worth of service before needing to be dragged away or refilled or whatever.

Can you tell us more about what you've got planned?

Check this out:

http://www.jefftippett.me/trying-rickshaw-coffee-in-downtown-raleig...

Gas powered espresso, 10 gallon water tank, battery packs with inverters...

N

Howdy John, I am just about to launch my cart - and the route I've taken is to use batteries (2 x 12V wired in parallel) with an inverter to power the electrics on the cart equipment (espresso machine and grinder) - I've avoided the use of a generator - as these things are noisy and smelly - the last thing you need near your cart is the noise of a generator and the smell of diesel fumes. I use propane gas to heat the water in the espresso machine (2 group AEP Astoria Perla) and I use a separate gas powered heater for hot water for the sinks. I also have a fridge which runs off the batteries. I use a filter to filter the water supply used for the espresso machine.


Mike McGinness said:
And when you go for your health department application plan review and license don't be surprised if it pushes a Grand...

Actually that depends on your location and setup. In our county there is no environmental health inspection and followup visits for anything coffee related. We do all things espresso based (hot, iced and blended), smoothies (not fresh fruit on site though) using ice/milk and sell pastries. All they really require is that our dairy be kept 40 degrees or colder, the water/ice is from a known potable source and we wash/rinse/sanitize. We do let them know of all events we plan to attend and of any changes we make to our menu and that's it. We might see them once a year and they just peek into the van and that's about it. No license to buy or inspection to pay for. We did however choose to purchase a "peddler's license" to vend in local towns. Not mandatory, just felt it would make things easier on us down the road.
How much power do you get off of those batteries & for how long before having to recharge?

Kevin said:
Howdy John, I am just about to launch my cart - and the route I've taken is to use batteries (2 x 12V wired in parallel) with an inverter to power the electrics on the cart equipment (espresso machine and grinder) - I've avoided the use of a generator - as these things are noisy and smelly - the last thing you need near your cart is the noise of a generator and the smell of diesel fumes. I use propane gas to heat the water in the espresso machine (2 group AEP Astoria Perla) and I use a separate gas powered heater for hot water for the sinks. I also have a fridge which runs off the batteries. I use a filter to filter the water supply used for the espresso machine.
How long can you run a cart off that for? I'd LOVE to avoid a generator. I didn't know that was possible. Are you using an electronic panel. E.G. circuit beaker with outlets?

Kevin said:
Howdy John, I am just about to launch my cart - and the route I've taken is to use batteries (2 x 12V wired in parallel) with an inverter to power the electrics on the cart equipment (espresso machine and grinder) - I've avoided the use of a generator - as these things are noisy and smelly - the last thing you need near your cart is the noise of a generator and the smell of diesel fumes. I use propane gas to heat the water in the espresso machine (2 group AEP Astoria Perla) and I use a separate gas powered heater for hot water for the sinks. I also have a fridge which runs off the batteries. I use a filter to filter the water supply used for the espresso machine.

Well, It looks like I might have to delay my cart. I'm being optimistic about legal work. But It's for sure happening either next summer, or this fall/winter. can you say football season??

 

Anyways, It will be a wooden cart (teak top). And yes, completely mobile. The plan is a simply espresso beverage menu (Espresso, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino, americano, Latte, Mocha, Miel), and coffee served by pour over. I think for a cart 3 or 4 V60's should do it. 

 

Espresso Machine: Elektra Sixties Semi-auto 2 group

Grinder: Mazzer Mini grinder (lever for $$ reasons)

Fridge: I found a cheap one with good reviews, should be the perfect size. 

Espresso Parts pitcher rinser

Hot water dispenser 5L-zojiroshi

Pump/filter/tank: http://www.cmcespresso.com/product.asp?specific=336

 

I'm not going to list everything, but these are the "Major things".

I'm considering plumbing the drip rack as well, making everything clean and smooth. The idea of the cart is simple, beautiful, and high quality. Hoping to supply madcap coffee from GR. 

 

I don't mean to brag, but I make a mean cookie, what are the health laws for baking at home? (michigan)

I forgot, Vario grinder for the pour overs. 

John Gibbons said:

Well, It looks like I might have to delay my cart. I'm being optimistic about legal work. But It's for sure happening either next summer, or this fall/winter. can you say football season??

 

Anyways, It will be a wooden cart (teak top). And yes, completely mobile. The plan is a simply espresso beverage menu (Espresso, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino, americano, Latte, Mocha, Miel), and coffee served by pour over. I think for a cart 3 or 4 V60's should do it. 

 

Espresso Machine: Elektra Sixties Semi-auto 2 group

Grinder: Mazzer Mini grinder (lever for $$ reasons)

Fridge: I found a cheap one with good reviews, should be the perfect size. 

Espresso Parts pitcher rinser

Hot water dispenser 5L-zojiroshi

Pump/filter/tank: http://www.cmcespresso.com/product.asp?specific=336

 

I'm not going to list everything, but these are the "Major things".

I'm considering plumbing the drip rack as well, making everything clean and smooth. The idea of the cart is simple, beautiful, and high quality. Hoping to supply madcap coffee from GR. 

 

I don't mean to brag, but I make a mean cookie, what are the health laws for baking at home? (michigan)

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