Not yet….but soon. At the time of writing (Dec 2012) we are working on taking the step from prototype to production with manufacturers in the UK. We will report on our progress at intervals via the News section of this site and our Facebook and Twitter accounts. The goal is for Velopresso production models to become available in early summer 2013, but in April we should be able to provide confirmation of pre-ordering options and anticipated delivery dates.
When we know we will tell you straight away! But at the moment it is too early to say exactly but we expect to have some guide figures in early 2013.
But please be assured that Velopresso aims to be a highly competitive solution for mobile coffee vending operations with unique and highly desirable features that make it quite different from other options.
But please do your own research about similar types of coffee vending operations currently available. They are usually composite in nature, i.e. consisting of an existing cargo tricycle, electrical based grinder and one or two group lever machines. If you consider what the cost of a professional class grinder, single group espresso machine and specialist vending tricycle there should be no misconceptions. Please see our MACHINE and WHY sections for further information on the benefits and features of the Velopresso machine.
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 underway we will work towards making global distribution possible.
No. Velopresso does not use any electricity to power the grinder or the espresso machine. 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. The water in the boiler is heated via a multi-fuel burner with the default fuel being bottled gas – butane/propane mix – as used by campers. Research is also underway to develop an ultra-low carbon biofuel from waste coffee grinds that could ultimately replace the gas and bring the operational carbon footprint of a Velopresso machine close to zero. As for the trike itself, in terms of the production model, we currently remain open to the idea of offering the option of an e-assist motor for help powering the trike pending further research into its suitability. See the VIDEO and MACHINE section for more information.
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 200 and 250rpm at the burrs. An 18g double-shot dose on an average handgrinder might take 1.5 minutes, but on Velopressoit 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 largest of the storage drawers are fully insulated on all sides. 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 espresso machine is a unique design produced by the Velopresso team in collaboration with an industry leading espresso machine manufacturer.
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 prototype currently does not have any built-in lights, but the production model is likely to incorporate some lighting, possibly including a backlight behind the logo on the front of the trike which after dark would draw in customers “like a moth to a flame”. Any lighting introduced would use very low power LED technology and run of either rechargeable batteries or charged on the trike via dynamo or solar technology. As a ‘bicycle’ on the road visibility is important, particularly after dark and bicycle lights can be added by the user in the usual way 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 drawer system on the production Velopresso will be lockable and incorporate a cash tray.