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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Nov 2018
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    Starting a Mobile Coffee Cart

    So lately I've had the major itch to start my own side coffee cart for hire (I work fulltime as the head roaster for a micro-roaster in central KS). What my vision is that I offer only a select view espresso drinks and drip coffee at farmers markets, weddings, parties, etc.

    The whole thought is pretty daunting since I don't know where to start! So here's some basic questions that I'm wrestling with:

    1. a high quality single group espresso machine? I'm wanting to fund the whole operation myself, so I'll be buying it used.
    2. good starter espresso grinder?
    3. what are the required features? does it need a water source for a hand washing sink or rinser?
    4. best way to brew drip coffee with limited space?

    Any feedback would be great!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
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    Kansas City
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    1) really depends on the budget you have and what type of image you are projecting (if that's important)
    2) again - budget?
    3) Not sure what your asking... most machines will be plumed or use a Flojet for mobile application For a flojet you need water and electricity.
    4) What volume?

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    48
    Agreed, budget is as important as the requirements.
    It is easy to spend $20,000 on a fitted-out coffee concession trailer.
    A coffee cart for a mall, where you have available electricity would be cheaper.
    I do believe we could help much more if you detail the requirements and budget.

    A lot of mobile coffee stands use an Astoria Gloria Lever espresso machine (or an Astoria Rapallo Lever).
    The advantage is that it can run with a propane-only option.
    An electric espresso machine would require a powerful generator.
    You will already have enough uses for plenty of electricity without adding an espresso machine.

    On the subject of water, you can get a propane water heater with the added advantage of minimal electricity requirement.
    There are several outfits that sell 3 sink + hand sink self-contained equipment (concessionsinks.com for example).
    All depends on your definition of "coffee cart".

    Espresso grinder for a single group? The usual suspects. Mazzer mini? Rancilio Rocky? You get what you pay for.

    Drip coffee? I use a BUNN CW15-APS, simply because it doesn't require plumbing, even though it's not that great.
    I would definitely recommend doing pour-over because it delivers a high-quality cup with cheap, small equipment.
    Problem is that pour-over is time-consuming if you are doing plenty of business.
    I favor the Bonavita Wide Base Immersion Dripper.
    While not actually a pour-over, it produces a very similar, more robust cup and is not so time consuming.

    I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    May 2019
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    7
    sounds like a good idea

  5. #5
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    Jul 2019
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    Agreed, budget is as important as the requirements.

  6. #6
    BIC
    BIC is offline
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    Jun 2019
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    Antigua, Salcaja, Xela, Guatemala
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuelfnch View Post
    So lately I've had the major itch to start my own side coffee cart for hire (I work fulltime as the head roaster for a micro-roaster in central KS). What my vision is that I offer only a select view espresso drinks and drip coffee at farmers markets, weddings, parties, etc.

    The whole thought is pretty daunting since I don't know where to start! So here's some basic questions that I'm wrestling with:

    1. a high quality single group espresso machine? I'm wanting to fund the whole operation myself, so I'll be buying it used.
    2. good starter espresso grinder?
    3. what are the required features? does it need a water source for a hand washing sink or rinser?
    4. best way to brew drip coffee with limited space?

    Any feedback would be great!
    I guess "no feedbacks" are needed because samuel never checks it anyway......

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2019
    Location
    Tempe AZ
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    2
    Well whether he checks it or not... the info has been very helpful for ME

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    485
    I have no idea where I got this idea: coffee and cart don't mix. Coffee is all about environment, you have to sit down, have a good companion, relax, and enjoy. Cart? That's where you get soda!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,461
    I have to disagree on that as years ago my wife/I operated a full blown mobile setup. Espresso was the main focus (of course milk based drinks were in demand) as well as fruit smoothies, chai, etc. We had LOTS of daily customers that appreciated that we weren't a brick/mortar sit down type place and we did tons of event vending as well. Of course we did have the occasional customer that wanted a can of soda or bottle of water, but it was rare. Mobile coffee vending definitely has a solid place in modern society, same as a hot dog/pretzel/bagel vendor...
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    485
    Well, I am very old fashioned. I'd rather associate coffee with this Starting a Mobile Coffee Cart-3bkngo.jpg
    than with thisStarting a Mobile Coffee Cart-d9aea367f82cccd343edc081b3db6ec9-cafe-bike-coffee-carts.jpg, regardless of the coffee itself.
    Last edited by WhyCoffee; 09-05-2019 at 08:33 AM.

 

 
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