It doesn't matter how hot it gets in Austin, Texas, the coffee scene is always hotter. And it's been no different this summer; we've had multiple entries into the Build-Outs of Summer from the Texas capital this year and we're not done yet. Today's entry comes from LeverCraft, a converted 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion travel trailer that looks like anything but. Bringing vintage Italian espresso machines into a modern setting, LeverCraft is the latest destination to join the ever-expanding far east Austin coffee shop list. So let's pay them a visit, shall we, and check out the coolest converted permanent travel trailer coffee shop you'll ever see.
As told to Sprudge by Eric Mann.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
I started this company two years ago restoring vintage espresso machines that I was buying from Italy and converting for resale here in The States. I wanted to control the whole process of espresso, so we also started roasting our own coffee commercially (I have been roasting for myself for four years), and we now wholesale high quality coffees that we source from all over the world. Our company's focus is on education, quality, and community. We want to spread our passion for coffee to everyone and share the knowledge we have learned over the years.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
This is the fun part of the business for me. We get to be as creative as we would like in the space, which was built from a 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion travel trailer. It is 43 feet long and was built to feel like a brick and mortar coffee shop when you step inside, not a trailer. I tore the entire shop down to the frame and rebuilt it into what you see today. It was an intense project, but it was very rewarding. I love working with my hands and really enjoyed the process. I also know exactly where everything is so if there is ever an issue, I know how to fix it.
I love serving others so having a shop was a must for me. It allows me to meet incredible people from the community and share something that is very personal for me. We made the counter tops very low to stimulate interaction between the people behind the bar and our customers, and the rest of the space is very welcoming. We also added a mini bar in the back that will allow us to have date nights where people can come and share coffee and dessert with a barista. It will allow us to do a bit of education about coffee in a more intimate setting.
Inside the trailer, we have vintage espresso equipment to look at as well as many different methods to brew coffee. We want people to come in and expect to experience something they have never experienced before. I think it really shows with our two signature drinks, the Freddo, and Espresso Lemonade.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Coffee is incredibly complex, and it is our goal to simplify it to the point that everyone can enjoy it. Our espresso drinks will be consistent, and our specialty drinks will be unique. With that being said, we are bringing in some incredibly rare and delicious coffees to the table that people are really going to enjoy. It is our goal to show the world just how unique coffee is and that the possibilities within coffee brewing and tasting are limitless.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are using vintage lever machines to brew coffee during the week, and have many other unique methods to make coffee as well.
On bar, we are using a new machine called the Decent Espresso Machine. It is one of a kind and allows you to adjust every single variable that might affect espresso one way or another.
For one of our specialties, we have a vintage milkshake mixer that really opens up the possibilities with milk-based drinks.
We also created a new way to make very strong coffee, similar to ibrik coffee, but with lab equipment.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We just launched our packaging for our whole bean coffee. They are glass medicine bottles that are reusable, washable, and will protect the coffee from harmful UV rays.
We are also doing our part by using paper straws and trying to minimize the amount of to-go paper and plastic cups. We offer discounts for those who bring in their own mugs and cups, but we are working on a stronger solution at the moment.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We opened in July of 2019!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
I have had a lot of help from Open House Austin, which is a female owned realty team that has graciously allowed us to use their space. Many of my friends came and helped piece the project together as I built the trailer, too many to mention here.
Thank you for considering us!
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.