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Barista winner re-sparks interest in mobile coffee

31 March 2009 by
Barista winner re-sparks interest in mobile coffee

The surprise of the UK barista championship being won by an operator of a coffee-cart rather than a traditional bricks-and-mortar café has sparked renewed interest in the already-growing sector of mobile coffee services.

The powered-mobile sector has been showing increased interest for several years now, with newcomers to the coffee business taking this relatively-inexpensive entry route, and finding business in venues as disparate as shopping centres and business parks.

One of the popular wagons for a coffee business is the three-wheeled Piaggio Ape, a kind of cross between a motor-scooter and a small van, and these are now available under the Lavazza brand through a deal with Big Coffee of Yorkshire, the company which converts the vans into mobile espresso bars.

"The mobile coffee-to-go industry is one of the few faring well," says Big Coffee founder Rob Dixon. "The rewards can be great and working for yourself is a great achievement alone, but it is always hard work. With the Lavazza brand comes strict standards all operators must continuously achieve, so working a mobile is not an easy option."

Bikecaffe, a pedal-powered espresso bar based on a Dutch delivery trike, which is converted in Stratford on Avon.

When offered as a franchise operation, the Bikecaffe is presented as 'a whole new concept in environmentally-sound business'. The bikes now use vintage-style lever-operated espresso machines from Astoria and are very low on energy use - mobile coffee carts often use gas for the heating of their water.

Bikecaffe uses a Fairtrade coffee, the Integrity blend from Metropolitan Coffee, and all used coffee grounds are donated to local allotments as a fertiliser aid. Teas are brewed from compostable tea-bags, and there will soon be a 'bring your cup back to be recycled' incentive.

By Ian Boughton

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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