The all-new production model of Velopresso will be built to order for each customer, and we will be open to orders in August 2014. For up-to-date information check the NEWS page on this site, sign up to our Twitter feed or follow us on Facebook. Or you can register your interest by completing the form on the CONTACT page, and we will keep you informed by email.
Velopresso machines will be made to order and pricing will be announced in spring 2014.
At this time we will also announce the full specification and ordering process for the production model – which represents a further 18 months of design development from the prototype currently shown on this website.
Velopresso will be a competitively priced solution for mobile coffee vending operations – if you consider the cost of a professional class grinder, single group espresso machine and specialist vending tricycle with unique aesthetics, transmission, plumbing, storage solutions, there should be no misconceptions. But Velopresso also has unique and highly desirable features – described elsewhere on this site – that make it quite different from other options. We advise you to do your own research about similar types of coffee vending operations currently available, remembering that they are usually composite in nature, i.e. consisting of an existing off-the-shelf cargo tricycle, electrical based grinder and one or two group lever machines – and likely to be reliant on batteries, inverters and/or mains power, as well as being twice as heavy and far less mobile (rideable) than Velopresso.
We have had a great deal of interest from individuals and businesses from all five continents and right across the globe. We believe Velopresso can be a success in many different environments and so once production is fully established we will work towards making global distribution possible. But in the period before overseas distribution is set up, the machine will be able to be purchased directly from us and shipped overseas (in a Velopresso shipping crate) as a private import.
No. Velopresso does not use any electricity. The grinder is powered directly (mechanically) by pedalling, and the espresso machine uses a spring-lever group to draw the water from the boiler and generate the 9 bar of pressure for extraction. For heat the espresso machine is fitted with a gas burner and it runs on standard cylinders of LPG (propane or butane)*. The new lightweight gas cylinders with fibreglass/composite instead of heavy steel, work very well and are widely available. This is a highly efficient, reliable and robust system, as there are no electrical components to breakdown.
*the prototype machine shown in the video is different: it used a multi-fuel burner with the default fuel being bottled gas – butane/propane mix – as used by campers.This worked well in the prototype but is not suitable for commercial use.
In the future we hope to continue our initial research into alternative fuels and to develop an ultra-low carbon biofuel from waste coffee grinds, which could ultimately replace the gas and bring the operational carbon footprint of a Velopresso machine that much closer to zero.
No, not at all. The pedal force involved (torque) required to grind coffee beans is nothing like the effort of riding a bike because you do not have to overcome ground or air resistance or gravity. You are stationary – parked – and simply pedaling a very smooth, geared transmission to directly turn the grinder burrs. Without the beans there is no experience of resistance at all. When you dose the grinder with beans you feel some resistance but it is very light. Grinding by hand is slow because the burrs in hand grinders are about half the diameter of commercial burrs (less surface area for grinding) and you turn the handle to turn the burrs at about 60–80 rpm. The Velopresso pedal-grinder is a totally superior experience. The burrs are full size commercial burrs – 71mm – and legs are much more suited to the job than arms (and leave your hands free too). Pedalling at a steady 80–100 rpm generates speeds of between 250 and 300rpm at the burrs. An 18g double-shot dose on an average handgrinder might take 1.5 minutes, but on Velopresso it takes 8 seconds or less! Working on a Velopresso machine throughout a working day gives the barista some gentle exercise which is good for your health and keeps you happy on cooler days, but it would not replace a real exercise regime! If you want real exercise go for a swim, run or out on your bike! Pedal-grinding is too easy!
Simplicity is the key. The four larger storage drawers are designed to accept a fully insulated Velopresso cooler unit that with the addition of multiple ‘freezer blocks’ of the kind used by campers inserted at intervals between the milk containers milk is kept cool. In testing so far we have found this to be very affective throughout a long day. The blocks are then simply put into a domestic home freezer overnight to be “recharged” and ready for use again the next day.
How good is the barista? Do you mean an espresso or latte, a double or two singles? These elements all affect the “speed” of course. But lets start with grinding – please first watch the video on our site to get a good idea, as although it is edited the grinding sequence is in real time: dosing and grinding a double shot takes a total of about 10 seconds, then there’s tamping, loading the portafilter in the group and pulling the shot. The pull itself – including the pre-infusion pause of around 6 seconds with the lever down – is of course a standardised timing of around 25-30 seconds, so for that first double espresso, or two singles, it would take around 45 seconds. If you include steaming and pouring milk, taking payment from the customer, etc., this might go up to 60-90 seconds, but ultimately this would depend on the skill of the barista. Based on initial testing with an experienced professional barista we estimate that the Velopresso operation to be able to achieve around 40-50 drinks per hour, i.e. an average of 1.5mins per drink, allowing for serving, steaming and pouring milk, taking change etc. Do not confuse this with stats about machine production capacity found on other sites. i.e. technically if only producing single espresso’s (the normal reference) and just handing them out the output would be more like 120-150 shots per hour. But with Velopresso the emphasis is on quality – of the whole experience but particularly the freshness of the grind – and with it’s single group will never compete for “speed” with multi-group cafe setups. Please see the MACHINE and WHY section for more about the features and benefits of the machine.
The Velopresso espresso machine is a unique design produced in collaboration with the design team of award-winning UK espresso machine manufacturer Fracino, who have just celebrated their 50th anniversary. Fracino manufacture this commercial single group gas-fired lever machine exclusively for Velopresso at their factory in Birmingham.
The grinder is a unique design produced by the Velopresso team built around industry standard conical burr sets.
No. Due to the specialist nature of the whole Velopresso machine operation, in particular the pedal powered grinder and the ergonomics required to operate a grinder and lever machine whilst seated on the bike saddle total bespoke solutions are required. If there had been machines on the market that could do these jobs as well as we feel Velopresso can, then we would have used them!
The production model does not have any built-in lights, but there are a number of mounting positions to which front and rear lights can be attached. As with all ‘bicycles’ on the road visibility is important, and bicycle lights should be added by the user to meet local road safety and legal requirements.
The trike, grinder and espresso unit all share the goal of being as robust and as simple to maintain as possible and not having any electrical elements certainly helps with this goal. Simple daily routines for the coffee machinery will keep the machine in good working order. The grinder could be maintained by any experienced barista as part of their daily routine. Similarly the tricycle will use mostly standardized bicycle components to make sure it can be repaired locally. However, it is possible that certain specialist parts may still have to be ordered from the Velopresso team.
No. There is a clutch mechanism that allows the pedal-drive to be switched from powering the front wheels to powering the grinder. You cannot do both at the same time for good reason! At the core of Velopresso is the goal of the highest quality ‘made-on-demand’ coffee. In terms of freshness this means the shortest possible time between grinding and pulling the shot, so grinding is only ever done immediately prior to pulling a shot….no pre-grinding, no stockpiling of grinds, just grind and pull, bespoke coffee. Besides, riding a bike (even moreso an espresso trike) and making high quality espresso coffee both require and benefit from your full attention!
This is really down to the individual cyclist-barista/vendor but the storage drawers on the production Velopresso have built-in key-operated locks and you can store your cash tray there.