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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a mini mazzer will absolutely kill your lines.

so slow....sooo...ssllllooowwwww. 

it's a great machine, don't get me wrong, but not practical in a business setting; though i've seen them used successfully for decaf only.

 

your coffee is going to be your money maker- invest in great equipment.

 

 

You will absolutely need a hand washing sink and 3-bay sink, both with working hot water.  I have seen a couple municipalities let the 3-bay slide on the actual cart, but only if you have access to one where you place your cart.  I own a cart and had to get an 8' back support cart to install the 3-bay (Moli), then hook the copper piping up to a sud pump and run it up through the ceiling due to hospital plumbing restrictions.  FWIW, It's not mobile anymore.

 

As far as baking from home.  It's "not allowed" from the Health Department unless your home kitchen is inspected and approved, weird but true.  

Dude, check with your health department. Usually the answere is no, all food must be made in kitchen sanctioned by health department, and in my area kitchen cannot be shared with home use.

 

BTW, Mazzer mini poor choice for commercial use espresso grinder, way too slow and grind quality not on par or nearly as consistent with larger burr Mazzers etc.

 

Also be aware if you run out of water on a 5L Zoji' it takes about 50 minutes to come back up to temp from full fill.

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)

I estimated a requirement of 314Watts/hr which gives me a requirement of 31 DC Amps (i.e. Watts/10 for a 12V system) I calculated on the basis of being able to run for 7hrs so approx 220 Amp hrs are needed Now assuming a battery capacity of 85% my total Amp hr requirement is 259 Amp hrs so on this basis I have hooked up 2 x 125 Ah deep cycle batteries. That's how it looks on paper, but I have yet to take my cart out for a full day in the field - I'll report back when reality strikes........

Mitch Buckner - Bella Caffe said:
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.
Just replied to another post with the energy calculations. No need for an electronic panel - you just need an inverter to change DC to AC power for the espresso machine and grinder. My fridge and Shurflow pump runs directly off the 12V batteries. All wires have fuses to prevent any overload. The fridge is a Dometic and the gas water heater is a Suburban. I got the cart from a company in Canada called Apollo Carts and added the espresso machine and electrics myself. The cart has a 3-bay sink. 

John Gibbons said:
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.

I'm interested in hearing how this works out.  The espresso machine pulls very little to run the fill solenoid, my concern in these setups is always the grinder draining that system dry if you get busy.

 

John,

Sounds like you have a great idea and the concept is probably sound, but you really need to flesh out the details.  You're going to blow through the water and I have serious questions about the ability of batteries to run the espresso machine and an electric hot water heater.

Run those numbers and see how fast your electrical requirements add up.  

Gas, lever machine, anything you can do to keep the electrical requirements down for a "truly mobile" cart will be imperative.



Kevin said:

I estimated a requirement of 314Watts/hr which gives me a requirement of 31 DC Amps (i.e. Watts/10 for a 12V system) I calculated on the basis of being able to run for 7hrs so approx 220 Amp hrs are needed Now assuming a battery capacity of 85% my total Amp hr requirement is 259 Amp hrs so on this basis I have hooked up 2 x 125 Ah deep cycle batteries. That's how it looks on paper, but I have yet to take my cart out for a full day in the field - I'll report back when reality strikes........

Mitch Buckner - Bella Caffe said:
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.
Thanks! Great to know...what about the Mini E? It's a grind on demand 

Sandy Hon said:

a mini mazzer will absolutely kill your lines.

so slow....sooo...ssllllooowwwww. 

it's a great machine, don't get me wrong, but not practical in a business setting; though i've seen them used successfully for decaf only.

 

your coffee is going to be your money maker- invest in great equipment.

 

 

Thanks for all the replies. Since I'm delaying the opening, I may be able to invest in higher quality for a few things. The austoria K30...i think is..is on sale on chris coffee for 1500..i can't think of a reason not to go for it. Can anyone tell me the difference between the austoria K30 and malhkonig k30?? Why do they have the same name? 

 

These electrical numbers are confusing...I have little to no experience with electronics. Luckily my dad is highly experienced with wood and wiring. 

 

Kevin, I'm excited to see how the batteries work out for you. If this does indeed work. Then I'd definitely choose this over any sort of generator. I was looking at the 5L boiler because It is what seemed affordable and functional at the time, but I'll look into a larger one. 

 

It's really unsure due to money reasons, but there is a chance I'll be able to build the cart (skeleton + a few essentials) and test/practice. This would be great so I can jump right into it the following summer/ fall at my school. I'm just hoping I can get this worked out before football season. 

 

Question: What are your thoughts on this cart in the lower temperatures of the midwest? Will this affect functionality of the equipment? I'm talking see your breath weather (I know this changes with moisture in the atmosphere), but this can only be as good as my hands are willing to put out.  

One more thing, can I get a list of necessary permits/legal work? here's what I've read I need:

 

Sales Tax - form 518 (Internet)

Food handlers permit - Local health Dpt. (Allegan)

Investigation - Would this be from the Health dept? or any others

Local City Permit - City Hall/school grounds

Register business - Online

 

What am I missing? 

call the health dpt. They will tell you what you need just ask they are there to help. Also you might have to be serve safe  certified .In ohio if you are a new start up you need that.You may want to take a Small Business class a lot to learn some times it is free.Check out Java Sensations.com we are a mobile espresso bar.

Both Astoria and Wega distribute grinders made by other manufacturers with the only change being their name attached, often a little less expensive than the original brand for the same grinder. Check specs to make sure, but it should be the exact same grinder. If you have any remaining questions about differences, you could also call Chris.

 

A consideration for cold weather is that the machine cannot be allowed to freeze. Even if you drain the boiler, there will be some residual water left in the heat exchangers and lines to cause you problems. Make sure you have a reliable heated storage solution.


John Gibbons said:

Thanks for all the replies. Since I'm delaying the opening, I may be able to invest in higher quality for a few things. The austoria K30...i think is..is on sale on chris coffee for 1500..i can't think of a reason not to go for it. Can anyone tell me the difference between the austoria K30 and malhkonig k30?? Why do they have the same name? 

 

...

 

Question: What are your thoughts on this cart in the lower temperatures of the midwest? Will this affect functionality of the equipment? I'm talking see your breath weather (I know this changes with moisture in the atmosphere), but this can only be as good as my hands are willing to put out.  
Thanks! Good to know, I'm a business minor so I should be fine. 

Tom Mohr said:
call the health dpt. They will tell you what you need just ask they are there to help. Also you might have to be serve safe  certified .In ohio if you are a new start up you need that.You may want to take a Small Business class a lot to learn some times it is free.Check out Java Sensations.com we are a mobile espresso bar.

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