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15Amp or 20Amp for coffee cart?

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  • 15Amp or 20Amp for coffee cart?

    I'm currently looking to fit out a mobile coffee cart for use at public events and functions.

    Obviously want the power needs to be as flexible as possible across many venues. With this in mind will a 15Amp machine provide significantly more options than a 20Amp machine? or are venues just as likely to have 20Amp circuits?

    Also need to keep in mind the capacity and performance advantages of a 20Amp machine at big events with high demand. Any thoughts from those who have operated or fitted out a coffee cart previously?


  • #2
    Hi simskade,

    I don't operate coffee carts but supply one or two.

    Some events don't provide power at all, some events where you may get gigs are organic food markets, not on the grid but

    who may insist on bio fuel generators.

    If you fit out your cart so that 20 amp is a prerequisite for you to operate, you may well be selling yourself short,

    in terms of opportunity and market share.

    A gas fired machine ....Wega, Francino or Izzo would give you more flexibility, leaving you with the water pump, grinder and fridge

    to provide power for. A 10 amp circuit would suffice.

    Some events without grid power may provide power generation and it might pay for you to have some adapter plugs on hand.

    I provided coffee for a van recently at a permaculture gig........ she was assured of a 10 amp outlet adapter on a 15 amp bio fuel genny............. had to wait an hour

    for the promise to be made good..........not happy Jan!!

    A market, where I have been once, is held on a disused caravan park site, the power circuit is intact and functioning but only 10 amps..............

    Just some thoughts......


    • #3
      10 amp.

      20 amp is absolutely out of the question and you will never get work if you want to be mobile but buy a 20 amp machine.

      I think many people don't properly "scope out" the mobile coffee cart scenario.

      Because they are scared of losing business, they want to option the biggest capacity machines, but as already stated there is rarely the power to run them at outside venues.

      Also, don't underestimate the client's propensity to wait in turn for their coffee. They will, as long as you can be seen to be working efficiently and not wasting their time by working inefficiently / slowly. So if you buy a compact sized 2 group machine that will run and therefore recover well (due to smaller sized boiler) on a 10 amp circuit, you will run well.

      It can be done as a one person operation and pays well. If you want the coffee machine to have more capacity, you would need to employ a helper, so whatever you may do in ectra coffee through working faster, will be lost in the helper's wages.

      I have made these observations from the experience of setting up for, and having my son run a 10 amp machine out of a mobile coffee van for 2 years. He never had a problem.

      This van only ran the coffee machine and grinder, and a small sized "magic bullet" type blender for odd drinks. It did not run a fridge (not necessary for day events with a good large cooler) but used an expensive cooler for the milk.


      • #4
        Many thanks, I'm leaning away from a 20 Amp for certain having scoped out a few common venues and given both your comments. Agree that 10Amp is far more flexible but I have one very large event on the radar that will require a bigger capacity machine and two operators.

        A dilemma, but will be solved..... chrs


        • #5
          X3 for 10amp if you can

          Disused caravan park with 10amp power?? Did archaeologists unearth this park? Caravan parks have been 15amp for as long as I can remember haha


          • #6
            Maybe you could hire or sub out a second coffee cart to absorb the expected volume and take a cut

            of the proceeds? Then you would still have a useful 10 amp kit of your own to build a business.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Philby1981 View Post
              Disused caravan park with 10amp power?? Did archaeologists unearth this park? Caravan parks have been 15amp for as long as I can remember haha
              There was just one row of 1/2 a dozen new 10 amp power sockets.

              The town was burnt to the ground in the 2009 fires.


              • #8
                Arrr fair enough