Thinking about starting a mobile espresso business...like an ice cream truck, but with class and flair

Anyone here doing this? I would really love to bend your ear. Thanks!

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I love your truck.  When I visit Portland again will you let me take it for a spin?  :-)  Water Avenue Coffee will be one of my first stops.   I came to Bellissimo about 1 1/2 years ago and you showed me around.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to make it back for school...but I LOVE the Bean Business Guide.  It's been very helpful.  Got my little business going over the summer and was delighted to meet Jared Mockli (sp?) when I hooked up with my roaster, SteamDot.  Jared gave me some terrific advice for my little catering business.   He doesn't seem like he's in a hurry to leave AK.  That's a good thing.

Matt Milletto said:
We have something similar for Water Avenue Coffee ... planning on serving primarily french press and pour over out of this baby, as well as towing our Probatino to farmers markets this summer!
In Raleigh, we teamed up with the local bicycle Rickshaw company and put a gas powered lever machine on the back of the bike! People were loving it when we unveiled it on New Years Eve last week!

I have been working for Fogarolli at a couple of events: They are a pretty big business attending tradefairs, rockfestivals, cityfestivals and doing private events and catering in Sweden and Denmark using 6 custombuilt Piaggios and a Fiat 500.   The vehicles are not really that mobile as they are usually transported on trailers due to practical reasons, but customers love the vehicles and love the possibility of getting good coffee at places where it's usually not possible. 

 

http://fogarolli.com/foto_sr2010.asp

This is the espresso bike in Raleigh---

good discussion here!  happy new year everyone!

 

mike, if you have some suggestions for me, let me know:  i want to look into buying something like the old cushman 3-wheeled utility vehicles, with a bed in the rear to hold some equipment.  want the cab area to at least be heated, don't necessarily need a/c in it.  if you have suggestions/ideas, let me know.  i've seen a couple of these vehicles on ebay, but a bit out of my $$ reach at this moment.

 

kylee, i'd be interested in knowing what city you are working in?  in my first year or so, i did the mobile unit approach with a kiosk/trailer.  the good thing was that it was small enough for one person to work efficiently by being able to reach everything within my 3' square standing space!  the bad thing was that i towed this unit, and every event i went to i had to unpack it all at the end of the show, and reload my van with all the contents.  then, next show, go thru all the unpacking of the van, setting up the trailer/kiosk, again.  it meant alot of additional work and time.  plus, getting event managers to understand your electrical needs was often challenging.  (we worked one outdoor event, and no kidding, the electrical stuff available at this venue was so antiquated, that one of us had to stand at the main electrical box about 50' away, and re-switch the breaker after every time we made a drink with the espresso machine!  sounds crazy, and it was.  plus, probably not the best thing for your espresso machine,  right?).  so, my humble advice would be to utilize a vehicle that you drive, one large enough to keep all your equipment in place without having to load/unload, one that can handle your electrical needs and/or also have that wonderful generator on board, a space that you may possibly fold out a sofa in order to nap when you have worked back-to-back shifts of 15 or more hours (my longest was 17 hours at a bluegrass festival!), and yes, one that pops and is eye-candy.  if your unit looks cool, fresh, sharp, colourful, etc., etc., it will draw people...especially something unique looking, something with character, something that's current, you know?  when our unit was all that, we often had several people that thought we were a franchise!  because it had the look of success, because it looked like some $$ was put into it.  if we had big $$, who knows?...it very well could have had franchise potential!

 

best of luck!,

 

sage

the coffee hound

jonathan...is that your espresso bike?  very cool!  i have a location in raleigh, too, but permanent.  your bike makes me think of when i lived out in new mexico...i got a cool gig for one summer giving tours of old town albuquerque (and other areas around the city) while operating a pedicab (big 3-wheeler with seating in the back, trunk space, bad weather top, etc.,etc.)...it was geared pretty low...lots of fun!, and was in the best physical shape of my life!  with giving tours, etc., it wasn't unusual for me to tally up 50 miles or more in a day!  get this: to get to the location from where i was living at the time, i'd bike about 25 miles into the city, bike all day long, then bike another 25 miles to get home! crazy, no?!

anyways, how long have you been doing the espresso bike gig?  very cool!

ps:  know of any coffee curious people that might want to work part time in raleigh, let me know!

sage

the coffee hound

jonathan bonchak said:

This is the espresso bike in Raleigh---

oscar...also way cool!  great pics!  omg, i love all these coffee units!  wish i could have an airplane hanger full of them!!

 

sage

the coffee hound

Oscar Nyman said:

I have been working for Fogarolli at a couple of events: They are a pretty big business attending tradefairs, rockfestivals, cityfestivals and doing private events and catering in Sweden and Denmark using 6 custombuilt Piaggios and a Fiat 500.   The vehicles are not really that mobile as they are usually transported on trailers due to practical reasons, but customers love the vehicles and love the possibility of getting good coffee at places where it's usually not possible. 

 

http://fogarolli.com/foto_sr2010.asp

One of my wholesale accounts is mobile business using a very nice rig. Weekday established route with specific times at multiple places and booking weekend events is her model. Booking those weekend events are where a killing can be made, but it's the daily that keep it stable.

matt, happy new year! that truck is sick! sick to the max!! love those old delivery trucks, including the ones of earlier vintage with the rounded noses!...omg! way to tease, though!...now, how about some interior pics?!

thanks,

sage
the coffee hound



Matt Milletto said:
We have something similar for Water Avenue Coffee ... planning on serving primarily french press and pour over out of this baby, as well as towing our Probatino to farmers markets this summer!

Hi Shadow,

Can you please provide some tips on what to look out for?  My wife and I are closing down our retail coffee gelato location to do Coffee at a farmer's market.  We are looking to get the Nissan Cube and put the 2grp Brasilia in the back trunk area.  Still need to know how to hook everything up though. 

Please email me thanks

Henry

Shadow said:

Hi Dizzle,
My wife and I operate a mobile espresso van and I might can tell you what you'd like to know. We DID NOT do the build out on it, but I know the ins and outs of it after just 4 months of owning it. There are lots of hurdles to face with a mobile espresso bar but we've came out quite nicely. You can e-mail me directly with any questions you might have. Later!

Dizzle said:
I really would like your help. My wife and I just bought a truck and need help getting it setup to start a coffee business. Thank you advance.

WAlter

Mike Funk said:
Hi Kylee,

I build weird espresso vehicles. We just finished an electric truck with a complete espresso bar in the back. It is run off of battery and solar power, and I converted the espresso machine to run off of propane. I've done Sprinters and other delivery trucks, If you are converting this yourself, I'd be happy to give you free advice.

Hey Guys,

 I'm out of Albuquerque, NM. I own Green Joe Coffee Truck. We have a coffee cart for indoor use and a coffee truck for outdoor use. For big events I'll use the truck with is fitted with a Astoria 2 Group 220v, which is powered via generator. It can handle huge crowds. Faster machine than I am barista. For indoor events we use a ECM Barista, powered by 120v. A bit slower, but about the best bang for your buck you can get from a 120v. Espresso makes up 50% of my sales. I charge $100 an hour, and a min of 3 hours for my catering. If I'm doing a market, I won't touch an event unless there is 1k people that come before 10am. Hope this helps. See my blog for more info. 

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