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    Firstly, great site- combined knowledge from forum members that I have been reading this morning is incredible! Glad to be a member .
    Ok- the experience and knowledge is out there so I am sure a little guidance would be forthcoming.
    I am a teacher by trade, 21 yrs, and am fortunate to have accumulated 6 months LSL + 1yr sabbatical (18months on full pay). I am cash positive- no debts, no credit cards etc etc.
    For years and years my wife (French with cooking background) and I (Italian with an appreciation for great espresso) have toyed with the idea of running our own cafe.
    So it's now or never!

    To dip my toes I am looking at a walk-in van setup- similar to a food truck where we can make Italian panini and coffee. I have spent 6 months researching the idea and sourcing food truck builders and have finally narrowed it down to 1 builder.

    What I know is that my Panini press requires 15amps and a quality coffee machine requires 15amp plus fridges, freezers etc So I am looking at an 8kva (35amp) Onan generator. My wife says that we should play it safe and look for a bigger generator. I'm starting to think the same...

    My concern with my choice of coffee machine is that any of the fit-out places keep pushing the Diamond 2 head coffee machine. Why?
    My research into this business tells me that the machine will have to handle 100-250 coffees/day. Will the Diamond really be able to cope with that? I expect that every espresso that I pull from that unit will have a golden crema that will scintillate the senses, tantalise the palate.

    Budget? I am prepared to buy a machine from $4.5-7k if it is going to handle the workload and give me a quality experience.
    The beans I will be using come from a local roaster in Valley Heights, Blue Mountains. I have been using his product for over 3 yrs on my home Saeco machine. My Italian cousins that have visited from overseas have commented about the espresso brew being exquisite so I am happy to stick with this roaster who hasn't failed me yet.

    I am hoping that someone on the forum is able to suggest a quality machine that will deliver a fantastic experience from a coffee van.
    I am about to give the go-ahead on the van build and that will give me 7-8weeks to finalise things.
    Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Hi Vincent,

    Welcome to CS!

    You have a steep curve ahead of you!! Your post invites a lengthy answer but I'll leave that to others with more time, at the moment.

    Why do the Coffee Bella (??) people push cheap machines? My guess?.....They import them, so can maximise the profit/parts deal.

    The machine doesn't seem to be available anywhere else.

    Continue with your research before committing to a machine/grinder combination.

    I would look for a more mainstream machine and grinder. There are a few on the market ... single boiler HX machines

    such as Wega, Expobar (Ruggero model), BFC to kick off a list of options.

    Have you talked with your roaster about preferred options?? It should be your first port of call.

    Grinder? Mazzer.....Kony? (conical) or Major (planar)? Something that will stand up to a high load and not be slow.

    Talk to your roaster.

    The theory is great and very attractive but avoid too much of an armchair perspective.!!

    Get out and about and observe other operations at markets and events and see what it takes to get the job done.

    Oh, and did I say? to your roaster.


    • #3
      Hi Vincent,

      Pre owned coffee van set ups are also available on online market websites for your consideration

      All the best with your venture, please do also check council requirements on where you may operate, you may discover some of well attended sporting events (eg soccer, net ball etc) may already have similar coffee van operation or serving coffee from their own canteen.

      Good luck!


      • #4
        Agreed bazooka. Further to your comments re council and venues it would be prudent for the OP to

        secure some sites before committing to the build. The market is near saturation.

        p.s. Vincent, your projected output of 100-250 coffees /day is not huge.

        Consider a 10 amp machine, which will be more versatile in respect of opening up your potential market to more venues.

        Some will object to a large, noisy generator and these days of carbon footprint and social responsibility.........


        • #5
          'I expect that every espresso that I pull from that unit will have a golden crema that will scintillate the senses, tantalise the palate.'

          You are kidding I hope, if not you have a very steep learning curve ahead.

          Good luck


          • #6
            I found the Diamond 2 coffee machine. Just as I found the Panini press that commercial kitchen suppliers are selling for $700+ in Australia. The Panini presses are bought at $100 each in bulk orders. The Diamond 2 is bought at $1600. Resold here in Australia at $4400.
            No way a $1600 machine is going to last!


            • #7
              Steep learning curve?
              I'm up for it.


              • #8
                Have you spoken to your roaster and asked his advice on espresso machine and grinder? This would be my first port of call and if they don't know at all, or don't give a number of options with a good amount of confidence in their suggestions, I would be talking to another roaster. Really, a good machine that can handle the throughput and it set up properly at the right pressure and stable temperature is crucial. Whatever machine supplier you speak to, ask them if they bench test and set up with a Scace device. If no, then maybe look for someone else. Search on here to find out what a Scace is.

                In terms of coffee prep, the NUMBER ONE tip I will give you that you must always without exception follow, is GRIND ON DEMAND. If your grinder has a doser, NEVER leave any ground coffee in there. Not a gram, not a grain, not a grind. Get a little paint brush to help you sweep it clean, and grind coffee to order. Ground coffee starts to oxidise in about 30 seconds from being ground and is stale in 3 minutes.

                Good luck


                • #9
                  On my way to barista course today, certificated if that makes a difference. Seeing as using a full blown machine is immensely different to home machines.
                  My trusty Gaggia that I used to use back in 2007-2009 used to give me great pleasure before I moved into my current Saeco.
                  I fully appreciate that using a high end commercial machine is different. The guidance so far has been very useful and greatly appreciated.


                  • #10
                    The quality of the course really depends on the quality of the trainer. Unfortunately I've found the "certified" ones - eg Tafe, Barista School, Coffee School, Barista Basics etc to be be very rubbish. I haven't done them myself but know others who have and I cringe at what they teach. I hope it's not one of those that you're going to is it?


                    • #11
                      Are there others?


                      • #12
                        Yep - good roasters do good courses. Some are not site sponsors so if you want some suggestions I can PM you.
                        Who is running the course you're going to?


                        • #13
                          The coffeeschool Sydney. I'm here now. A pm would not go astray.
                          Much appreciated.


                          • #14
                            I am always amazed at the number of "little used" coffee vans that are offered for sale .?
                            just be sure you do your business "feasibility" research before you make a big financial commitment.
                            its critical you find a "high trade" pitch or two that you are certain you can work legally.


                            • #15
                              Not solely coffee. Italian panini as well.
                              Wife is a French cook so her influence will hit the menu as well.
                              I have 2 sons; 22 and 19 that are along for the ride as well while they study at university.
                              Coffee is one part of the food truck- I just want to get it right. Not just a 'good' coffee experience- I expect to give a 'great' coffee experience.
                              Hence, the reason for me asking for guidance from seasoned pros on this forum.