A Street Coffee Car With Heart
We talk with Anthony, the owner of Dear Coco Street Coffee, on his mobile coffee shop and the Linea Mini.
The Dear Coco Street Coffee car is a sweet gesture to Anthony’s six-year-old daughter, Coco, including her in the coffee business. With two older sisters (Lani and Malia) who put in hours stamping food bags and packing sweets, Coco often feels left out. Wearing her name on his apron, like a badge of honor, Anthony provides a visual love letter to his youngest daughter every weekend.
During the week, Anthony works a regular 9-5 job. When the weekend rolls around, he sets up his street car, stocked with baked goods lovingly created by his wife Emma, and Anthony takes off to the River Thames to sell to customers old and new.
Originally intended to be a passion project left for retirement, Anthony took the initiative and opened his street car coffee 20 years early during the pandemic. Dear Coco Coffee Shop intends to connect the barista directly with the customer; as Anthony explains, “I like the intimacy & purity of street coffee. There’s no barrier between barista & customer – you’re both in it together, rain, hail, or shine. Plus, being Australian means I love being outdoors. I walked past our London trading location for two years during the pandemic, thinking specialty coffee would be a great addition to the riverside experience.”
Anthony set out to provide a unique encounter for each customer by offering a “premium brick & mortar-style experience on the street.” Yet, creating a unique experience is never an easy feat and comes with its challenges. Anthony notes, “We went to great lengths to bring credibility to our operation. The knowledge, products & equipment reflect a boutique London coffee bar. “
His efforts were not in vain, as he comments, “As a result, the experience stops locals & river walkers in their tracks eager to experience something premium & unique, in an outdoor setting.”
Concerning Dear Coco’s connection with the Linea Mini, the entire street coffee car was inspired by this coffee machine from La Marzocco. Anthony explains, “We designed the entire business around the Linea Mini – there was no other machine we wanted. We needed a compact machine that can thrive in a commercial setting. Using La Marzocco brings quality to the customer & credibility to the business. Plus, if you want to attract the industry’s best baristas, you need to give them the best tools, and the Linea Mini is the best tool for our compact business.”
Dear Coco Coffee, Street Coffee exudes its innovative business ideas through multiple facets, including using the Linea Mini in creative ways. When asked what unique and cool ways Dear Coco has utilized the machine, the response was, “I’d say two things. Firstly, we swapped the steam wand and hot waterspout around. We serve customers from the left-hand side, so I wanted the grinder on the right side so it wasn’t between the barista & customer. As a result, we needed to move the steam wand to the left side, so it’s away from the grinder. Secondly, pumping out 335 coffees in a 6-hour session was a job I didn’t think the Linea Mini could manage – but it handled it like a champ – teas & Americanos included!”
Concerning the street car’s unique coffee setup, they chose to create their own path by avoiding LPG, like other mobile UK coffee vans. Instead, Dear Coco installed main power on the street where they trade. As far as what you’ll find inside the street car, Anthony notes, “We use a Mythos One grinder, Fellow Stagg EKG kettle for busy sessions, and have a concealed 70L filtered water tank under the countertop.”
You can find Anthony serving Australian-inspired coffee alongside the River Thames in London every Wednesday through Sunday from 7 am to 3 pm, rain or shine. Join him for his favorite pairing – a flat white with ½ teaspoon panela sugar with a piece of coffee and walnut cake from @mahaliandco. Or stop by for a “cheeky” conversation.
Find Anthony on Instagram: @dearcocolondon.