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Mobile Coffee Cart Help Required Pls

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  • Mobile Coffee Cart Help Required Pls

    Hey Guys & Girls i'm new to the forum but have been having a look around the place trying to get some information.
    I'm moving oversea's at the end of the year and will be setting up a small pedal driven (electrically assisted) coffee bike that I am starting to fabricate as we speak. My question to you is the obvious one.... power!

    Let me break down what equipment I am going to be using and if you have some opinions I would appreciate it greatly.

    Machine - Expobar Megacrem 2 group compact
    Grinder - Compak K8-Silenzio

    the hot water unit for the sink and the fridge & lights are accounted for my big thing is what size generator to use. I have seen many conflicting opinions on what size gene to use.

    Honda 2kva or 3kva? I have heard of some people using a 2kva to power that exact coffee machine with no issues yet from reading the specs on the coffee machine it draws 10amp but the 2kva only provides roughly 8amps.

    I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what to do, anybody running a mobile system that can offer some advice?

    Thanks so much for your time.


  • #2
    Hi Brett

    I run a mobile coffee cart and have had the same problem over time with different equipment, amperage, 10, 15, 20 amp etc.... The main thing to consider is when each piece of equipment is warming up ( machine, Fridge etc... ) it draws a lot of power on start up. It pays to turn one device on, let it power up fully before turning the next item on and so on. Electricians have given me the best advice of adding up the power requirements of all your appliances together and double it for the required gene then your covered in the most extreme circumstances, you don't want your grinder to stop working because the machine and fridge have maxed out your gene! for the sake of adding an additional 1/2kva! to be safe.

    hope this helps, feel free to contact me if you want to chat



    Hart's Coffee Cart


    • #3
      I'd suggest you go for the 3KVA.

      It's probable that at times you'll have both the boiler and the grinder running simultaneously which puts you way beyond the 2KVA gen.

      Imo last through you want is brownouts. They lead to an irregular AC sine wave and can trigger spikes - it's the same reason you don't over-drive a an audio amp on the premise that the speakers are way higher spec, they can still be damaged.


      • #4
        Hi Brett I run a small coffee trailer on gas and battery. It is a 2 group machine with a similar sized grinder to the K8. The battery runs 2 small draw fridges, grinder, water pump, espresso pump and optionally the element in the boiler. I can run on battery alone if necessary but I don't know how this would effect the long term life of the battery if I did it regularly. I have two 9kg gas bottles to run the burners under the boiler but only go through one every now and again so if I was aiming to reduce weight it could be much smaller and still run for days on end. I realise that you are looking at generators just thought I'd throw in an alternate possibility.
        Last edited by robbo.gshs; 16 August 2012, 07:49 PM. Reason: adding more


        • #5
          Thanks for the responses guys this has been killing my brain trying to come up with solutions
          Due to being a trike being pedal driven, electrically assisted tho I need to keep the weight down and obviously im looking at making it as cost effective as possible at the same time. Unfortunately the difference in a 2kva and 3va honda gene is about $2200 extra! but obviously if its what needs to be done then I have no choice. (Also weight then becomes a factor).

          robbogshs I was actually looking into this option due to the bike being electrically assisted I was going to try and run the fridge lights and grinder off the batteries (upgraded and with an inverter) and have the coffee machine and pump running off the gene. I think what I am going to do is just get the machine and grinder, put a watt meter on it to get a true indication of the actual output at FULL load to see what I will be up against. I believe at WORST a 3kva should cover me and at best a combo of 2kva with batteries running some of the gear.

          Harts I will PM you mate thanks

          AtomicGrog sound advice mate I do think I will end up having to go for the 3kva


          • #6
            So why have you dismissed a gas (propoane) fueled coffe m/c and fridge ?
            Ideally a commercial lever m/c for even less power demand.
            The weight of a 2 group m/c and 3 kva genny will stop you pedaling that trike far ..even with elec assist


            • #7
              I haven't dismissed it but I haven't done any research on that option, so in short I would need to do some reading but from what i understand there isn't a great deal of gas powered machines on the market? (I could be completely wrong tho). If you could even point me in the direction to where I should be looking for gas powered machines I would really appreciate it.

              I have done all the weight calc's and once the trike arrives I will be running a series of tests and if the electric assist fails I will be upgrading to a petrol motor.


              • #8
                Many commercial m/c makers do gas fired or dual powered boilers, and lever machines are particularly favored by the "cart" espresso stalls because of their low power and customer pulling appearance.
                Espresso on the go
                gas-fired boiler in a dual-lever Astoria 'Gloria.'
                Click image for larger version

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                Or for something simpler look at the Futurmat Palanca lever m/c


                • #9
                  ok new doors have opened to me!

                  I have definitively looked at the lever option, I would have to undergo more training as I have never used a lever machine I have watched many video's but am keen to get some training under my belt and give it a go.

                  but wow you have been really helpful I have some reading to this weekend


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brett81 View Post
                    ...I would have to undergo more training as I have never used a lever machine...
                    Training? Assuming you know how to make espresso now you would be pulling great shots after a kilo or two of coffee.

                    Grind, dose, tamp pull the lever, let go, coffee comes out. ;-)

                    I did see some great bike/trike mobile coffee setups in England a couple of years ago so worth trying to find those too.

                    Also... check the local health regulations before you get too deep. You would have a lot of trouble in my council area getting anything approved without a hot water service and electronic taps.


                    • #11
                      Yes I have looked into it thanks Andy. They require a sink with hot/cold water which I have accounted for using caravan equipment.

                      Yes I can pull coffee's well just never before on a lever machine. I am very green with lever machines though so I guess the big question would be how efficient could I be using a 2 group lever machine (ie at capacity how many cups would you expect to pull?)

                      Yes Bikecaffe do an awesome machine set up I am a big fan of that set up. Mine will be similar but using a trike instead of the dutch cargo quad bikes.


                      • #12
                        LP fridges need to have the freezer plate level when sitting still. The further from level it is the less efficient the cooling is and if it's too far off level it will self-destruct. When in motion being level is not an issue as the rocking will keep the fluid circulating.

                        It sounds obvious but many people forget about it. Remember to add in the weight of the water you'll be carrying. At a kilo per litre it quickly adds up!

                        Java "Things to think about" phile
                        Toys! I must have new toys!!!


                        • #13
                          Oh for sure I have taken into account the water weight, it wont be a factor on the way home but on the way to location i will be having 50kg extra weight!.

                          I'm trying to keep the whole set up under 350kg.

                          I am extremely keen on the battery/gas power option now so I am ever so grateful to Blend52 for pointing me in the right direction in respect to that. Im just working out my max draw of all the equipment so I can work out the correct battery set up.


                          • #14
                   efficient could I be using a 2 group lever machine (ie at capacity how many cups would you expect to pull?)
                            Fracino claim that their 2 group lever can produce 360 shots per hour !!...but i guess you wont plan on that many straight away !

                            Batterys:-- you are on a trike, so one word of not use any lead battery's ! the weight will stop you dead.
                            research the newer battery chemistry's, Lifepo4 , LiCo, NMC, etc. or a few power modules from a Toyota Prius !
                            The ideal for you would be some A123 20Ahr lifepo4 pouch cells...very light and very powerful..but rare as hens teeth
                            2nd best is probably CalB modules...
                            If you are not already a member , this site is the best source of battery • View forum - Battery Technology


                            • #15
                              Again thanks so much Blend52

                              I have made some calls about a Fracino & Diamond dual fuel machine just waiting on some feedback.

                              I have also looked at the battery set up and again super helpful. I think my best option will be a 200ahr option from the thunderstruck website seems to be the best bang for buck. I work for a group of companies that has a solar division so we have designed a small solar panel system that will keep the batteries reasonably charged (of course weather pending) but will help for sure.

                              Have you had any experience with the gas fridges Blend? i was looking at Gasmate 35L (I really only need to keep small amounts of milk and my milk jugs in there). But I haven't heard great reviews about gas fridges (they take a long time to cool etc). Most people are telling me to stick with an Engel 12v fridge which i'm leaning towards at this stage.

                              Thanks so much for your time and help you have really changed the dynamic of my cart design.