French bread trucks are so hot right now, and you better believe they’re heating up in Jersey City. Modcup Coffee Roasters is taking its roasting expertise on the road and into a vintage 1972 Citroën H van in this very special entry in our Build-Outs Of Summer series.
“The truck features two lever pull espresso machines, one designated for single origin espresso, the other for blended espresso and popular milk-based options,” owner Travas Clifton tells Sprudge. “It has nitro-introduced cold brew being poured as well as a Marco Eco Boiler for our brew bar. The kicker? The truck also features an Ambex YM-2 roaster.”
That’s right, folks. This summer, Modcup Coffee Roasters goes mobile.
As told to Sprudge by Travas Clifton.
Can you tell us a bit about your truck?
The truck is a 1972 Citroën H van. We had been on the look out for a vintage truck to convert into a mobile roaster/espresso bar for a while. Initially we had a Grumman 52 but that didn’t work out for various reasons. When that truck didn’t work out it made us focus on the exact nature of the truck we were after. And as the focus of our company was the delivery of freshly roasted coffee (hence a roaster onboard) we decided we needed a truck that had a lineage in the delivery of fresh product. And as a company we often say coffee and bread are similar in that both go through the Maillard reaction when roasted, or baked in the case of bread, and both go stale quickly. So we focused our search on a vintage bread truck. After a long search we found our truck in Normandy, France where it had once been used as a bread delivery truck
What’s your approach to coffee?
First and foremost, freshness is critical. The general public/coffee consuming public has been lied to for decades as to what constitutes “fresh coffee.” So first up our mission is to educate the consumer to buy coffee like they do their groceries and demand a roast date from the big multinational coffee companies, not a “best-before” date.
Secondly, our approach is to educate consumers away from dark roasts. We don’t even like to talk roast levels and prefer to shift the focus to origin specifics. We attempt full interaction with every consumer we encounter whether its at our cafe, our espresso cart or any of the farmers markets we do.
Our approach is to showcase origin characteristics through both the roasting process and brewing process. We want our customers to walk away with a piece of knowledge in each cup and an understanding in what they are drinking.
Tell us more about taking roasting on the road. How will that work?
To roast in challenging conditions on the truck and outside we expect it to be…well, a challenge. The purpose of having the roaster on the truck was more for the visual impact of making our sell on the very nature of fresh coffee that much easier. I don’t for see us using the roaster 8 hours a day on the truck and I don’t actually see us selling that much of the coffee we roast on board right there and then. All of our retail bagged coffee will still be roasted in our temperature controlled warehouse/roastery. But what we will offer daily is a 20-minute roasting class from the truck where our master roaster can explain the process and talk about the nature of fresh coffee.
What’s your hopeful target opening month?
August. We are booked for the PGA Barclays event in NJ end of August [August 21-24] and I think that will be its official launch.
Are you working with craftsmen/women, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Frank Pfisterer has been the mad scientist behind the truck. Frank is a partner in New York culinary design and consulting firm TINE. He was responsible for the design and fabrication of the truck. They focus on projects in the food service industry from restaurants and bars to gourmet mobile food projects.
Are you going to be parked someplace specific? Do you have an address?
We’ll be based primarily in Jersey City, but since we are a mobile operation we hope to take the truck on the road and share our passion for freshly roasted coffee to any audience. That’s the beauty behind the truck… it has an engine, four wheels, and a lineage of delivering fresh product.