Biking baristas cruising a street near you
Cafe on wheels brings European flair to American city streets.
Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 08:56 PM
Imagine sharing the bike lane with a mobile coffee shop, its driver pedaling along and drumming up business from the Monday morning rush. The idea will soon be reality for many U.S. cities. Bike Caffe, a British business providing Joe on the go, has made its way stateside. The mobile cafes are already popular in Denver's pedestrian mall and cities like Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh will soon see the four-wheeled, geared bikes pushing old-world-style espresso machines while other franchises are eagerly awaiting the construction of their bike businesses.
The name pays homage to the Italian spelling for the lever-operated, Italian-style coffees the carts provide. The four-wheeled, geared bikes are full-service cafes that can roll from location to location to bring the java to the people, unconstrained by operating hours or rent. Each station has all the stuff your favorite sit-down cafe offers (think Chai, lattes, smoothies, the works) and can serve up to 500 cups per day with a fun, eco-friendly twist.
According to the Village Coffee Cafe, similar businesses have been springing up around Europe for a while now. The blog mentions fresh espresso on the streets of Copenhagen, with barista Ole Skram bringing the steaming fresh beverages straight to the people who crave them as they leave the train station or office building. The business model seems ideal for an American audience that loves fancy coffee — and the more convenient, the better.
The Bike Caffe franchise, whose motto is "High in flavor, low in guilt," puts workers who crave the outdoors and exercise behind the wheel of a cart filled with free trade coffee beans, biscotti, and a dedication to recycling 100 percent of waste. The website says the company aims for "a footprint that leaves no trace except satisfied customers."
The bikes themselves are a bike geek's dream come true. They come with internally geared hubs, GPS, an alarm (to notify police of any potential trouble), a propane tank, fenders, awnings, and everything needed to blend and prepare custom drinks.
Where other businesses may view the bike as a means to deliver their products from a permanent home base, Bike Caffe creates a model of endless freedom. The business offers baristas a great opportunity for adventure, since the work day can begin conveniently across the street from the long lines at Starbucks, progress to lunchtime hotspots, or pack it in and head for home if business isn't booming.
Also on MNN: 10 eco-friendly food trucks