Summertime, and the building is easy! Well—building out a new cafe concept is never easy, let’s be clear, but as we settle in to the 2023 edition of our annual Build-Outs of Coffee feature series, there is a certain sense of ease, and a glorious comfortable familiarity, to this annual survey of new cafes under construction or recently opened. Specialty coffee continues growing, build-outs continue building, and we’ll continue telling these stories here at Sprudge.
Today we’re checking out a totally mobile, totally micro coffee shop in Santa Barbara, California housed inside a vintage 1965 VW bus! Gas up, hide your stash, and get ready to groove with Considered.
As told to Sprudge by Pia Beck.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Considered is a micro, mobile coffee shop. We serve espresso-based drinks, curbside, out of a converted 1965 VW Bus.
Why “Considered”? We love coffee. It might be our one true love, to be honest. But our favorite side chick we can’t seem to kick is the desire to consume things that are truly exceptional. Things that make you want to linger longer. That make you feel seen and understood in all your utter humanness. That make you wonder, why aren’t more people doing it like this. That make every single person feel considered. (Coffee is just the vehicle we chose to deliver that experience).
Can you tell us a bit about the bus?
Our owner, Pia, bought the 1965 VW Bus on Craigslist after a months-long search for a brick-and-mortar space. She was “window shopping” and came across the listing. She grew up with a 1979 VW Bug Convertible, and was drawn to the sentimental nature of the listing. She went to go see it, fell in love, and learned that the guy selling it converts sprinter vans for a living (see Campo Vans). She agreed to buy the bus at his asking price if he agreed to turn it into a coffee shop. He did (and probably now regrets it). We did work on the engine and breaks and installed air shocks. We replaced upholstery and installed food-grade flooring. We built a cafe: complete with a state-of-the-art espresso machine, hand-washing sink, ware-washing sink, rinser, fridge (including the electrical and plumbing for all this) into the 80-square-foot cab of the bus. Pia painted the exterior herself, because we couldn’t find anyone who wanted such a big project. Her mom, Rory, an interior designer of 20+ years, helped design the drawer-based setup.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Coffee is calling for something different. What does this mean? We think it means radical humanity, really (really) good coffee, and changing food service standards that just don’t make any sense. We think it means disco balls and big hugs and remembering your name. We think it means *sexy* systems and being stubborn enough to fight the status quo. We think it means every person, process, and product feeling considered. Yeehaw.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We use a La Marzocco Linea Classic two-group semi-automatic. Many people have put espresso machines inside of mobile vehicles, but to my knowledge, no one has been able to do this with a similar machine. It’s an engineering feat, and one of the main reasons why we’ve become known as one of the best coffee’s in Santa Barbara.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We repurpose all of our pucks: we use some as fabric dye and sell coffee-dyes merch. We also donate a large amount to local gardens, farms, and composting programs. Finally, our customers can take grounds home with them whenever they want! We’re also solar-powered (everything except the espresso machine in our bus is run off a battery powered by solar panels on top of the bus). We partnered with a local ceramicist to custom design mugs so our customers can enjoy their drink “for here” if they choose!