It's about the journey not the destination, or at least that's what they say when the destination keeps moving around. For Lemma Coffee Roasters, the destination was a Denton, Texas filling station that they planned to convert into a roastery/cafe. But when that fell through (in between writing their original Build-Outs of Summer feature and the one you are about to read no less), the destination became unclear. So Lemma did what any industrious person going on a journey would do: they bought a van.
But just because their space is smaller doesn't mean they are making any concessions (get it? Concessions?) on their vision. They've stocked their 18′ roving cafe with a brand new Slayer Steam X expresso machine, multiple Mahlkönig grinders, and a full-blown FETCO batch brew system. They even had to install extra power sources just to keep up with everything they are running. This is no ordinary van. Lemma is putting their own new twist on an old saying: It's about the journey not the destination, but make sure you are riding in style.
As told to Sprudge by Daniel Baum.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Lemma is a specialty roaster based in Denton, TX. We're all about pushing ourselves to do things to the best of our ability. Our philosophy is to offer delicious coffees in the most welcoming way possible. We do our best to be easily accessible to our wholesale partners by pushing communication. We believe this helps us all succeed and keeps things dialed for our customers.
Like any business, our first year was all about establishing Lemma. It's been a lot of offering samples at local markets, cold calls, and walking into cafes, grocers, etc to introduce ourselves.
The coffee truck is our first step into retail. We love the flexibility of establishing a consistent location for every day use while also being able to work events of all kinds.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Definitely! It's a Freightliner with an 18′ box on the back. In order for us to build the kind of truck we ultimately wanted, we needed a ton of power and water. We lucked out when it came with some solid electrical equipment that only needed a little reconfiguration. We've got a 12kw generator that is built into the side of the truck, so noise level is quite minimal. We've also got six 6v deep cell batteries and two power inverters totaling 3,500 watts. For plumbing we added a 40-gallon fresh water tank with a pump that can push 5.5 gallons per minute with a two-gallon accumulator tank. Dialing in consistent water pressure for a mobile coffee bar is a little tricky, so we're really excited to see how this setup performs.
The truck, like all others, has wheel wells to deal with, but this one also has some boxes from the generator and electrical equipment; we really had to design our bars around them. We basically bought a ton of 2x6s, created a 90° jig and went to town on building legs. Some cross bracing and 3/4″ plywood bar tops made it nice and sturdy.
For the exterior, we wanted a vintage feel with hand lettering and illustration. The concession window is gigantic which provides an open feel and allows us to easily communicate with our customers.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We look to source sweet, clean, and balanced coffees with delicious flavor profiles. We look to offer as fresh crop as possible from East Africa and both Central and South America. From a roasting standpoint, we approach each coffee unbiased and roast it to a degree where it's hitting on all aspects. This tends to be in the light to medium range.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We'll have a two-group Slayer Steam X paired with a Mahlkönig K30 Air. For batch we'll be using a FETCO XTS paired with a Mahlkönig GH2. Batch will be setup with three liter airpots. We like the idea of brewing often so our customers drink a lively cup.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We're hoping for this month! We've got a few more details to finish up, but we'll be going for the inspection asap!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
This truck was a project we took on ourselves. With a passion for turning wrenches it was something we knew we could knock out. Huge thanks to my brother-in-law Zeb and amazing friends Corey and Chase. Also have to thank my pregnant wife for letting me practically live at the shop recently.
We worked with James Lafuente for the exterior design. James handled our package design that we're stoked on, so it was a no brainer to get him on board for this.
Thank you! We love the content Sprudge puts out and greatly appreciate the feature!
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