Here at Earth911.com, we love biking. We also love our coffee. That’s why we were psyched to find out about BikeCaffe, a company that puts full-service, eco-friendly coffee shops on wheels.
Residents of Denver, Boulder, Pheonix and Philadelphia can already pick up a coffee from one of BikeCaffe’s mobile espresso bars.
Baristas cycle the coffee bars around busy pedestrian centers, or simply set up shop in any well-trafficked area, like the lobby of an office building, or outside courthouses, train stations and libraries, says BikeCaffe President Ralph Massetti.
The mobile cafés are mounted on quad bikes and deliver a full-service coffee menu with an eco-friendly kick. The company’s motto is “high in flavor, low in guilt.”
Because the franchises don’t require an indoor space to be heated and maintained, the coffee bars carry a lower environmental cost than traditional coffee shops. BikeCaffes serve Rainforest Alliance certified coffee, and bikes based in Boulder, Colo. also collect used grounds for composting.
“Everything we can recycle, we do,” says Massetti. “Our sweeteners are pump sweeteners, and we pour cream from large containers,” in order to cut down on packaging waste. Patrons can also return their coffee stirrers for recycling.
Unfortunately, Massetti hasn’t been able to find a biodegradable cup that passes BikeCaffe’s taste tests. Sometimes, he says, hot beverages can cause eco-cups to start degrading, negatively impacting the coffee’s flavor.
BikeCaffe baristas can whip up pretty much any coffee-shop concoction, from lattes and cappucinos, to chai teas and smoothies. ‘Caffe’ isn’t a typo; it’s the Italian spelling of ‘café’, a branding detail that highlight’s the company’s passion for espresso.
BikeCaffe began in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, but the company is now based in Boulder. In addition to franchises in Britain and France, 20 bikes have been franchised across the United States, and more are in the pipeline.
As well as independent franchisees, existing businesses can purchase a BikeCaffe and take their in-house coffee shop products on the road. That is, so long as they meet BikeCaffe’s ethical and environmental standards.
Want to check out a BikeCaffe near you? Starting this month, you’ll be able to download apps for iPhone and Droid that help you track down the biking baristas.