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Thread: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

  1. #1
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well, it is amazing how some things seem to just fall into your lap...

    I was recently called by the people who...yes...service my septic tank... ::) they are also into coffee! Actually, I thought they might have been calling in regard to that, however they werent! Rather, they were ringing me to ask if Id like to take a coffee cart of theirs to Mungindi Music Festival this weekend.

    Well, by the end of the phonecall I was pretty well decided but I had all day at work to think over it. Amazing really as the brain just kicked into gear and began to think about how, when, what and where. Logisitics were quickly thought through and lists were begun to be made! ;)

    I had been thinking about purchasing a machine and getting myself setup to do this. Ive not really talked about it here at all up until this point as I am still in the very early stages of planning and deciding if it is really something I want to do.

    However, this weekend has just seemed right from the very first phonecall. I cant explain it properly. So, I am taking it for what it is, a very very good experiment and lesson to see if I can make it work and if I will enjoy it.

    Ive been encouraged to call myself "Mojo Coffee", so sorry folks, therell be no references to scooters! I am actually called "Mojo" by a few people round town here and those of you who have seen my truck will know why! (and there may only be one of you who has! ;D) Seeing as I want to base myself out of the rear of my pickup, it makes sense to go with this name, if I continue down this path!

    The coffee has been supplied by Coffeesnobs, so heres to getting out the good brown stuff to the people of North West NSW! I hope I can do it justice! 8-)

    When I get back, Ill try to post up pictures here.

    If anyone wants to know where the heck is Mungindi, go to www.mungindimusicfestival.com.au and youll find out! ;)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Nice! Sounds like a great time and a chance to find out if you really wanna do what you wanna do! :) ;D


    Java "Definitely pictures!" phile

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Hey they even have a group of musos called cafe latte! Should be a hoot!

    Scoota, this is wonderful news and I am delighted for you!!! It really does sound right and Im sure well all look forward to a few pics (if you get a chance between making coffees).

    All the best with it - if I had to listen to that much jazz Im sure I would develop a tic ;)

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart


    A town of 600 people getting a few thousand more for the weekend... wow.
    Should be a hoot Scoot.

    Enjoy!

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Good luck, if you get the right crowd and a bit of chill in the air you could be pretty busy. Get some customers to take some photos while your working away.

    Andrew

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Have a great time with it, Scoota. Remember its ok to swear at the fussy customers, as long as they dont hear you. :D

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Yeah, sounds great Scoots.... cant wait to see the piccies from this nice part of the world. It will be chilly in the evenings out that way at this time of the year Id reckon, much like Wee Waa I imagine.

    Have a great time :),

    Mal.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Talking about Coffee-on-Wheels..... Came across this series of photos in a newsletter from Steve Leighton of "HasBeanSteve" fame. Terrific idea eh?

    Mal.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1190888002/0#7 date=1190907276
    Talking about Coffee-on-Wheels..... Came across this series of photos in a newsletter from Steve Leighton of "HasBeanSteve" fame. Terrific idea eh?

    Mal.
    Hhhhmmmm.....Some seriously fun toys there!!


    Java "Wants to play!" phile

  10. #10
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    As promised...the story of the weekend!

    However, pictures first...please excuse the crappy camera phone quality. My digital camera wouldnt accept the card I took with me, dagnamit!



    The Saturday setup and below, the wheat paddock on Sunday.



    Let me start by saying that I hate, hate, HATE towing boxes on tiny wheels! Okay, so this would be fine round the city as you dont have to go fast to far. Whereas, out here, you really want to be able to travel at the speed limits and with this great big parachute behind my already aerodynamic house brick, I couldnt do that! Well, not without making the fuel bill bigger.

    So, lesson number one...Definitely set up on the back of the ute! Actually, these big American pickups were designed for the fifth wheel setup, where the weight of towing is over the rear axles. When I load up the tray with bikes and stuff, the car is really happy to sit on any speed and not chew through fuel. Anyway I rant! But I wont be caught dead towing a big box behind me again! >:( ;D

    I wont go into great gory details, suffice to say that it was a great learning experience for me over the weekend. I did get a bit shafted with position on the Saturday, as another coffee cart had been allowed to come and they jumped the spot that had been promised to me first. The woman even had the hyde to come over to me on the Sunday (after they tried the same thing) and said "Oh, we didnt get to come and meet you yesterday as we were so busy." Oh, and they were serving up Robert Timms.

    But not to dwell on that, because I did get looked after a bit better on the Sunday, where they were moved on from where they had set up under a tree not 50 metres from me! And since talking to the person that owns the cart I had, she knew of them and also agreed that good coffee was not really their main interest. If you ever come across them, Id say, stay away!

    Lessons learned...

    1. The power of heaps of advertising and lots of signage
    2. You do have a right to protect your business and object to other coffee carts being there (others have done this, I learned.)
    3. I dont like standing above people and serving hot drinks! (especially children!)
    4. Those big polyurethane eskys are absolutely brillant!! (only put ice in it twice over three days!)
    5. Patience, they will come!
    6. If you are generous, others will tell others! (I had given a coffee on spec to a lady who had locked her keys in the car. She then turned up the next day and proceeded to tell the small crowd I had that at the time how she was coming to me because I gave her a coffee without paying! She also had been shortchanging me but I didnt say anything about that and she came up later in the day, apologising and handed over the extra money as shed been thinking about it all night!)
    7. Being pleasant and nice is more than half the business!
    8. I hate towing big boxes on small wheels over vast distances!
    9. I can sleep across the front seat in the car very comfortably! (yes! it is big!)
    10. I should hook up with the Peters Icecream van more often and do iced coffees!

    There were a few other lessons over the weekend but in general, I enjoyed it, I want to do it again, in fact I got offered another job for next year (and closer to home too).

    Sadly, the machine actually broke down on the Sunday arvo. It stopped steaming, so Im guessing probably an element. Lesson learned there was make sure you get a machine that has an easy to remove cup tray! The one that I had has about a gazillion little screws which I just looked at and went... "Nah!" It was easier to pack up and get going so that we got home at a reasonable time.

    So, Im now on the journey to get set up properly. Expect lots of questions to come up here from me over certain issues! And dont be surprised to see Mr Mojo on the way to coffee nirvana! :D ;D




    Did I mention how much I hate towing big boxes on small wheels?? :D ;)

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Congrats scoota, your first event will always be your hardest, if you make a profit after rent/fuel and beans youve done well, if not well youve learnt from it. You most probably found the other food stalls to be a clicky lot?

    I went foolishly into my first event with them asking 250$ rent and promising thousands of people at a car show, ended up being only a few hundred people and a other coffee cart despite GUARANTEES of no other coffee venders. Oh and the committee sold instant too. Ended up getting the rent down massively as I pointed out we had a verbal contract but ended up losing money on perishables e.g bananas, milk and other short shelf life items.

    Btw what did you do for power? You got a 10amp machine in there or did they have 15-20amp power provided?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Congratulations from me too Scoota. Wow, sleeping on the front seat...now thats dedication for you. The only thing you left out is whether or not it was financially viable, but dont worry, Im not thinking of going into competition with you ;D

    Looks like you parked in a crop that was recently harvested :)

  13. #13
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Quote Originally Posted by BrighterSide link=1190888002/0#10 date=1191395764
    You most probably found the other food stalls to be a clicky lot?
    Actually, I didnt have much to do with them as theyd parked me so far away! I had a laugh! However, the Peters van couple on Sunday were very friendly and we got on well together. They of course were doing a roaring trade too, especially as there were so many kids there from the Sydney Youth orchestra and a couple of Sydney private schools combined bands. I sold them some milk before I went home as they were going through so much for milkshakes! They also were only a month into their venture and were originally from Brisvegas.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrighterSide link=1190888002/0#10 date=1191395764
    Btw what did you do for power? You got a 10amp machine in there or did they have 15-20amp power provided?
    There was 15amp power points at the showground and the generator in the wheat paddock also had 15amp powerpoints.

    What do you normally do for power, Brighterside?

    The wheat paddock had been "mowed" where they had the marquee for the concert and for all of us including the huge "Kenny" style semi trailer toilets. They had baled the wheat into big round hay bales, if youve ever seen them. They just either roll them out into paddocks for stock or just dump them whole and let the cattle at them.

    I did actually make coffee for Don Burrows. He and another fellow were having a bit of a chuckle about the big semi trailers with "Rows-A-Loo" plastered on the side. I told him about how the Sydney kids had watched the movie "Kenny" on the way up. I thought it was a funny thing because when they got to the showground, they would have seen all of these big trucks with toilets and showers in them!! ;D Don Burrows and I then went on to talk about who the lead actor was in the movie, as he hadnt seen it. He probably will now! :D



  14. #14
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Theres a coincidence.
    I just got back from the Hunter Valley and thats where I last saw Don Burrows in concert.

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Luv the pics, but hope you werent driving through the paddock with the box wings open Scoota!

    My cafe is mobile, close to 5yrs, set crowd Mon-Fri, many diverse weekend events experienced over the yrs - both demographically, & event type.

    Big smirk on my face when I read your thread, because you learn as you experience these events, and over time know what to dismiss, & identify whats a go-er!

    Im selling my mobile Brizzy op currently to pursue a new adventure, but totally glad to give friendly advice re set-up (if you want to set something up on your Chev tray/chassis, I have a few qualms mate).

    Ill pm my website, to give you an idea of my op - commercial site posts on this forum are unauthorised unless youre a sponser, or a crafty blogger that can circumvent said policy!


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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    so if you havent got a generator what ya do for power if a site like that wont supply it?
    obviously dont go is first thing that comes to mind, Ive heard of gas powered coffee machines but what about grinders and fridges?
    Id love a coffee cart although itd end up in the newly in progress paved/patio/pergola area out the back of the house :D

    Steve "curious how these things work" Sullos

    quotation idea stolen from JavaP :)

  17. #17
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Quote Originally Posted by GrindOnDemand link=1190888002/0#14 date=1191411070
    Luv the pics, but hope you werent driving through the paddock with the box wings open Scoota!
    :D Definitely not! No, we just didnt bother unhooking from the rear of the car this time and just put down the boxs stabiliser bars to stop it from making me feel seasick everytime someone moved in it. That was also something I didnt like. Even though we had it very firmly in place, I still felt like it was moving around and I am a motion sickness sufferer! Hence why I always do the driving, takes my mind off the other... ;)

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Hey Scoota, nice ute, not sure about the kennel though, and I agree with you that ground level is far better and more interactive and personal. Did you get much feedback on the quality of your coffee, I would assume that you would have left an impression considering that you opposition was flogging robert timms. But alas people are very swayed by "position position position" and I guess one could possibly get away with serving up international gross in the right position.

    Anyway "its all good" it truly is......... Ray.

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    One tip Scoota...Get a Dodge Ram 1500 :P At least you could mount the coffee "house" on the back of it.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1190888002/15#18 date=1191417237
    One tip Scoota...Get a Dodge Ram 1500 :P At least you could mount the coffee "house" on the back of it.
    You couldnt pay me to take one of those off you either... ;D ;D :P :D ;)

    Why do you think I drive a Chevy! 8-)

    As they say...

    If you want to drive a truck, buy a Ford. If you want to drive a car, buy a Chev. If you dont want to go anywhere, buy a Dodge...theyre not called Dodgey for nuthin! ;D

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Never been a fan of Ford trucks. Dad and I used to both have GMCs. Now hes moved on to Dodge, and never looked back. I on the other hand, have moved back to an old Camry :P

  22. #22
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    GMCs eh? Theyre just a rebadged Chevy! ;) :P

    Out here, an American grower once told me that the joke in the US is if you dont want the banks to take your farm from you, buy International tractors and Dodge trucks, because the banks dont want those! ;D ;D

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Rebadged Chevys with stouter suspensions. Better for hauling and pulling. You can generally say that a 3/4 ton GMC is closer to a 1 ton, minus the dual on the rear axle.

    I certainly like the look of Chev/GMC over the Dodge, but the new gen rams are well worth it. I remember a short trip with dad where we had a camper on the back of the truck, and pulling a 23 foot boat. We were overtaking cars uphill.

    To each their own. Im not allowed to drive trucks anymore. Especially in Sydney, where theres just not enough room for them.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Quote Originally Posted by scoota gal link=1190888002/15#16 date=1191414947
    ...put down the boxs stabiliser bars to stop it from making me feel seasick everytime someone moved in it. That was also something I didnt like. Even though we had it very firmly in place, I still felt like it was moving around and I am a motion sickness sufferer!
    Try putting down a small piece of plywood or dimensional lumber under each stabilizer foot. Once each bar has been firmed up have the heaviest person stand on one end of the trailer while the bars at the other end are firmed up again and repeat for the opposite sides bars. :)

    Ive found that many of the standard stabilizing bars have enough flex in them that no matter how firmly theyre set into place youll still get movement. To eliminate that youll either have to get over-built heavy-duty stabilizers or as an alternative I used to bring along a set of 4 jack stands that I would place on an appropriately sized piece of 2x10 at each corner under the frame and then use a small jack (hydraulic jacks work great for this!) to get the trailer up high enough (it doesnt take but a cm or two above resting height) to take some of the weight off of the trailers springs so that the weight of the trailer was solidly on the jack stands. This gave a nice solid support for the trailer. The softer or more uneven the ground is the higher Id jack the trailer up so as to avoid having to redo it on following days as the stands compressed or sunk into the ground under them.

    The method I found that worked best with trailers was to unhitch the trailer and with the floor level, lower the tongue 2-4cm. Then place the rear jack stands in place tightened up against the frame. Then jack up the front of the trailer until the floor is level and place your jack stands under the front corners. In general the higher you jack the trailer up the more stable it will be. The best height for stopping any rocking tends to be when about 1/4 of the suspensions travel distance is taken up.

    As jack stands go up by set distances if you need an exactly level floor either due to personal preferences or to having an LP fired fridge or other device that needs to be exactly level youll need something to fill in the gap between the jack stands and the frame. I found the wooden wedges used to level/square up door frames to be perfect for this job. Theyre small, cheap, and readily available and because theyre wedges you dont have to have 10 different thicknesses of material to fill the gap exactly. Just use the wedges in sets of two pointing in opposite directions and slide them together until theyre tight. :)

    This sounds like a lot of work but once youve gotten the hang of it it only takes a couple of minutes more than using just the built-in stabilizers and you end up with a rock solid floor. Ive used this technique with great success not only on trailers but on large (13m) RVs. :)


    Java "Mostly stable!" phile

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    Re: Scootas Adventures in A Coffee Cart

    Good thread scooter...... but you know what they say about dodges and fords dont you..... "You cant afford a ford, you dodge a dodge and buy a chev" or in my case a bike.........

    Ray



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