Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Best Coffee On Wheels

Rick Wilson only managed to glance my way once or twice while I snapped some pictures of his business this morning. I should have introduced myself, but he looked pretty busy. He and his three employees had lines of people waiting for their coffee. Besides, he’s probably used to seeing lots of people just like me, dumbfounded, wondering how he's done it. Cafe Velo. I stood there, wanting somebody to tell me I was seeing this correctly: Ride Bikes...Sell Coffee?

It’s a great story. Every Saturday morning when the Portland Farmers Market sets up their tents in the South Park Blocks by PSU, somebody (I presume it’s Rick) pedals the entire business into place. A heavy-duty cargo bike from Amsterdam called a "bakfiets" is all it takes to take his business wherever he wants to go. Well, that plus a whole lot of pedal power. He’s got a Flickr page worth checking out. On it he describes the business-on-wheels this way:
“Coffee gear, awning and such folds up and is stored in the box - the entire booth rolls away under pedal power at the end of the day...” 

Before you dismiss this as some kind of gimmick or an only-in-Portland-could-you-do-this novelty, let me tell you, Portlanders are too savvy and wa-a-ay too finicky about their java. Their secret to success is simple: the coffee is outstanding. Why?
“We feature a single origin drip bar - each cup is individually brewed to order in porcelain filter holders from a constantly changing selection of six Stumptown coffees. We're also making fresh French press for those who prefer fuller body press coffee.”

I would love to have talked with Rick and learned more, but I’ll have to find a time when business is slow.
That could take a while.


Jessica said...

This is in P-town?!?! Would you look at that... I'm not doing anything next Saturday morning!

Kelly Carlisle said...

Perfect! You'll love the atmosphere, and the coffee! The produce is amazing too.