Following our relocation to Walthamstow we have quickly forged new links with other young businesses in this dynamic part of East London. Chief among them is Perky Blenders, the small-batch speciality roaster and café team making waves on the London scene and right on our new doorstep in E17. Perky Blenders already have a couple of cafes and have done various pop-ups alongside their core roasting business, but were intrigued by the exposure and reach a Velopresso could offer them. As we are near neighbours we decided to begin a collaboration, kicking off by teaming up for the Birchbox x Oliver Bonas pop up in a central London gallery. We followed this up with some more local events, and then Rollapaluza’s fantastic Urban Hill Climb bike race in Highgate. Keep an eye on Instagram to see where we go next!
We made the decision to relocate earlier this year and have now completed our move, making a strategic split between our day-to-day office and our production base in the process. Over a three year period the Leyton factory unit had enabled us to develop and launch production and create the tools to do it, including our frame-jigs built in-house; get 30 Mk2 / Mk3 Velopresso frame-sets manufactured and 21 trikes out the door to customers in 12 different countries worldwide. It also doubled up as the design office and showroom, and we received visitors from all over the world in that space. It’s part of our history and will be missed. Space-hungry production has now moved out of London to Kent, where it’s business as usual. Meanwhile the new office is in a creative business centre in Walthamstow Central, London E17, which puts us much more centrally located in terms of dynamic local businesses, and with the London Underground just a few metres away we are much easier to find too! We have one or two Velopressos with us for demonstrations and hires, and a great café / bakery – Today Bread – on our doorstep. Come visit!
London-based Rob Popper is a triathlete, trainer, masseur and die-hard bicycle and coffee nut. He’s been experimenting with home roasting for some time now, has a real passion for traditional dark roasts prevalent in Italy – ‘black is the new black’ – and has been testing his blends on the public with a small mobile pour over rig until now. Rob felt it was time to take a step up to a mobile espresso rig and after a couple of meetings and a test ride at our factory took the plunge and placed his Velopresso order. Rob’s long-term plan is to return to his native USA (NY state) with his Velopresso, but for the time being he will be operating in East London and will be our nearest Velopresso operator. Welcome to the family Rob!
For several months now we’ve been busily manufacturing the next batch of Velopresso tricycle frames and stainless steel components (bumpers, steering units, jack stands etc.) As you will know all our welding is done in-house, here in East London, by our TIG welder Max – who has been working on the Velopresso frames since the three MK1 machines back in 2013. This batch takes us from VP021 through to VP030 and is technically the MK3 version of the frame: the changes are significant in detail but are being made mostly to assist us with production and assembly rather than any functional change for the operator, and there is full compatibility between models. It’s been a very industrious period, with various prototyping (new projects) happening in the background too, and also the settling of our newest team member, Hester the dog: a shy but beautiful rescue pup from Serbia – adopted by Amos and comes to work each day with him. You can see lots of images of our factory activity including Hester on our Instagram page.
Purely by chance we got two orders from two different businesses in Colorado at the same time! Full Turn Coffee is a Velopresso-based startup set up by James Swafford in Colorado Springs, while Red Buffalo Café run by Erin Young is an established community café a few hours up the road in Silverthorne who were looking to expand their reach by going mobile. When we say ‘up’ we mean up! … as Silverthorne has an altitude of 2750m (9000ft) meaning water boils below 90 degrees celcius which requires very particular brewing techniques. We put James and Erin in touch, and not only did they have an instant Velopresso community in the state, but they were able to save some money by coordinating the shipping. These two trikes were a real pleasure to build, great colours and really distinctive branding designs. We look forward to seeing them in action in some mountainous locations.
Back in February we had a visit from coffee entrepreneur Jakub of Kafekolo in Prague, Czech Republic. He and his partner Marek had started their business with a ‘traditional coffee trike’ imported from China, but soon realised it really wasn’t up to the job and set their hearts on a Velopresso. One flying visit to London and a factory demonstration later and any doubts were dispelled. Kafekolo placed the order, we completed their Velopresso in around 6 weeks, and it was crated and shipped off by road to Prague at the end of April. We’re looking forward to seeing this beauty in action and watching their ambitious pedal-powered business grow.
Amsterdam Coffee Festival was made extra special this year by the presence of the Brandmeester’s owned Velopresso. We built this trike for them in 2015 – just in time for the Utrecht start to the Tour de France – and earlier this year their FCL1-Velo espresso machine was converted to a dual-fuel machine running on electric or gas (see January story below). The ACF was the first public testing of the electric machine and it performed fantastically well as expected (operating on electric the start up time is cut by 2/3 to just 15 minutes and the return to pressure during coffee operation is lightning quick). Lasse made the trip to the Netherlands and shared operator duties with the team throughout the festival, and got loads of great feedback from the public.To Lasse’s delight Brandmeester’s had another ‘ace up their sleeves’ in the form of their truly excellent Sumatra IPA: a delicious fruity and floral pale ale with a distinct coffee flavour in the mix. Great tastes aside the beer also makes the link to the trading routes of old where ships laden with IPA went east and returned with cargo of coffee beans – two rather fine commodities!
Velopresso was conceived as a go anywhere machine with the most compact, simplest and robust machinery, and our bespoke espresso machine, the FCL1-Velo – manufactured for us to our design by Fracino of Birmingham – has until now been run on gas only, in line with that approach. But over the years we have discovered that there are some locations that will not permit the use of gas, and we had been frustrated by this at times. Brandmeester’s wanted to showcase their Velopresso at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival in March and the venue wouldn’t permit a gas machine, so this gave us a deadline. As the machine is a sister machine of the Fracino FCL1 which is ‘dual fuel’ anyway (running on electric or gas) it was a simple procedure for Fracino to re-introduce the electric element to the FCL1-Velo. Our own machines and the Brandmeester’s Velopresso will soon be operating on either gas or electric. The electric option will soon be available as an option on new trikes and as a retrofit option for existing Velopresso owners. Please email us for more details.
We were delighted when Munich’s Mahlefitz roastery ordered their Velopresso, as their brand values match perfectly to ours. With a deep knowledge and passion for coffee, from the fruit to the cup, the Mahlefitz team have a perfectionist approach to every step. They aim to deliver the best of the best, the most flavourful premium coffee experience to their customers in their café, at home via a bean subscription and now on the road! We shipped the handsome Velopresso trike to Peter and his colleagues in late November, and followed up with a visit to Munich to settle everything in. The Mahlefitz roastery is located inside their elegant and spacious café on Nymphenburger Strasse in the city centre, and the whole set up is very impressive and certainly lives up to the hype. If you’re in Munich you know where to head for an exceptional coffee!
A long time ago we received a fine gift from our friends at Londinium Espresso of one of their low and heavy tampers, in brass and wenge wood. Ergonomically it seemed very well suited to the straight-on, from-the-saddle barista operation of a Velopresso. We used it happily for a couple of years before it went AWOL. By then we had the sense that even more weight in the base and a quite different profile for the handle was the way to go. It was time to design the VP tamper:
As ever, we went through a range of design iterations, testing the prototypes ourselves, before honing in on the important elements that make it a pleasure to use: the VP tampers are CNC-machined for us here in the UK, have a stainless steel base and aluminium handle, and are 58.45mm in diameter (fitting standard VP baskets and VST). The low centre of gravity and high weight (510g) takes the effort out of tamping and the fluting on the handle gives great grip, so it won’t slip in your hand and makes for a great polishing twist at the end of the tamping routine, (plus it has echoes of the aesthetics of our grinder and espresso machine). There’s a lot of action in the world of tampers right now, but this simple but effective design is perfect for use on a Velopresso.
The VP tampers will be available with black, red or gold handles and can be customised with laser-engraved branding – our logo, your logo or (for the purists among you) no logo. Whether you love your Velopresso and want the complete experience, or you just like the tamper, drop us an email at email@example.com
We recently discovered the south London roastery Volcano Coffee Works by tasting some very fine coffees at a local café. A bit more research led to the discovery that Volcano already had a strong association with cycling, supporting various racing events at Herne Hill velodrome and elsewhere, so we set up a meeting with their team at the VP factory and begun trialling some of their delicious offerings. We were won over by their Full Steam Espresso blend, which consists of three varietals of pure Arabica beans, all organically grown at high altitude in the mountains of Chanchanmayo, Peru, and directly traded with the farmers. The roastery tasting notes suggest ‘almonds, stone fruit and a liquorice finish’ – what’s not to like! It’s a consistently delicious blend and we are looking forward to using it regularly for our coffee services and in the factory to keep us rocking along.
One of the most rewarding aspects of making Velopressos is the many talented and creative people it brings us into contact with around the world, and seeing what they get up to with our machine. Toronto-based Brian Leonard (aka Barista Brian) has been taking Tokyo Smoke’s stunning Velopresso trike out for spins around their metropolitan city, delivering his inimitable hand-drawn coffee art to a delighted audience. Over the summer he teamed up with roving photographer/filmmaker and fellow coffee lover Brodie Vissers (aka the Nomad Barista) to make this super-cool film in the Toronto sunshine, with Brian providing the soundtrack too. It really captures the ethos of Velopresso and the freedom it brings our pedalista-baristas around the world, and also shows how well the Velopresso fits into and stands out in a contemporary urban landscape like Toronto. We love it!
photo © Brodie Vissers
Over the years we’ve had a lot of requests to provide coffee services for events – something a Velopresso excels at wherever they are in the world, bringing great coffee, entertainment, and design and sustainability kudos to the occasion. Previously we’ve just said yes to the ones that we could fit in around our busy design and manufacturing work but managed to do some pretty special gigs in that period including Eurobike (for Brooks England), Tour de France Fan Park, 4th Plinth opening (Mayor of London), Richard Rogers exhibition (Royal Academy of Arts) to name a few. Now that production is established and running smoothly we can devote more time and energy to building up the hire side, starting with our new HIRE page including a detailed Coffee Service Hire guide pdf. We’re also looking to team up with a London coffee roaster too, so watch this space for news on that. Of course whenever an event is outside of our area we direct the enquiry to the nearest Velopresso operator via our COMMUNITY page.
Once again Velopresso was represented at the worlds biggest bike race, the Tour de France. As is long customary the race visits other countries along its route, and this year’s edition saw stage 16 finish in a bunch sprint in the beautiful city of Bern, Switzerland. Charles Mayor of Zurich-based Café Cycliste was there to serve pedal-powered coffee to all the cycling fans, as the racers flew by (it was World Champion Peter Sagan who took the win ahead of Kristoff and local hero Cancellara in 6th). Café Cycliste’s presence at the Tour made it three years in a row for Velopresso following on from us – Velopresso Ltd – in 2014, (stage 4, London) and roaster and café team Brandmeesters in 2015 (prologue time trial, Utrecht). We’ve been lucky with the route so far, but hopefully as we expand the opportunities to take part in ‘le grande boucle’ will continue… We wonder whose turn will it be to ‘fly the pedal-power flag’ in 2017?
Even if it involves a 1500km road trip it sometimes still makes most sense to deliver a trike in person, this delivery to Rennes in Brittany was a good example: Matthieu Penet’s young company Ludik Énergie use bicycle technology to educate, entertain and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy in Brittany and around France. Since first seeing the Velopresso on our website, then visiting our factory last year, Matthieu had set his heart on buying a Velopresso for his company. With no background in coffee we proposed that he seek out a local roastery to supply beans, training and general guidance on the coffee side. We delivered the new Velopresso (trike VP014) to Rennes and spent a day training the Ludik Énergie team on operation and maintenance. The session was also attended by local roaster Felix from Les Cafés Felix and we all enjoyed his very delicious coffee made by first-time barista Vincent Marchand. The transition from dynamic animateurs to artisan baristas involves a steep learning curve, but with their passion for cycling and excellent beans and guidance from Felix, and our one-to-one introduction to the Velopresso, the Ludik Énergie team had already made a great start on that journey by the time we were heading back across the sea on ours.
Clerkenwell is ‘home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else in the world’, and Clerkenwell Design Week has grown year on year to become one of London’s premier celebrations of architecture and design. Swedish architecture practice White Arkitekter created a beautiful pavilion – The Museum of Making – for the occasion, that presented the history and social side of craft and design in the area to the visitors of the festival.
Working with Claire Curtice PR and regular collaborators Look Mum No Hands! Velopresso provided delicious Square Mile coffee for White Arkitecter’s guests on a brilliantly sunny morning. As industrial designers with furniture and product design backgrounds it was a pleasure to be immersed in the heart of London’s design community again.
Waltham Forest is one of the three London Boroughs so far to have been awarded the £27million funding from Transport for London to implement a borough-wide ‘Mini-Holland’ infrastructure regeneration scheme, which aims to encourage people to take up cycling and walking and reduce car use in the borough. Velopresso were selected by the Waltham Forest’s Mini-Holland team as the perfect promotional partner for a series of events over the year from the opening of new cycle ways and hubs, to mass rides and festivals planned in the borough. Our first event was the opening of one of their many new cycle hubs (providing secure bicycle storage for commuters) at the just opened new Lea Bridge overground train station (right on our doorstep!), where we served pedal-powered coffee to the Mini-Holland team, council leaders, London Cycling Campaign members, and local residents. Our Velopresso trike has been rebranded in a smart ‘Cycle Waltham Forest’ livery for the season, and we’re looking forward to supporting this pro-cycling agenda again later this summer.
Today The Break Lever trike we just built was collected by its new owner, Matthew Tucker, a school-teacher from the Isle of Wight who is about to embark on a new adventure with coffee and bicycles: Matthew was looking for a change of career, and Velopresso offered him the chance to combine his two big passions for coffee and cycling in his own new startup business, while also helping to spread the fledgling artisan coffee scene emerging on the island. The Break Lever will start trading later in the Spring, in its smart two-tone livery, a very cool design directly inspired by Matthews’s VW campervan that carries right through to their website.
We always wanted to do make a time-lapse film of the process of building a Velopresso and finally we’ve made some time to do it. The process of welding the frames is done in a more production line manner so not so easy to condense, but the final assembly of the finished powder-coated frames and all the components that go into a Velopresso can be done in one continuous assembly, and it is this process that we have now captured in an entertaining time-lapse video. Click here to watch the film that distils an 8hour build into just under 3minutes. We’re looking forward to building many more Velopressos in 2016 and beyond, now that we’ve got it down to a fine art! Happy New Year!
We are honoured to be chosen by a judging panel made up of 16 leading UK manufacturing professionals for inclusion in The Manufacturer magazine’s TM Top 100 report 2015:
‘The Manufacturer Top 100 provides a platform for the recognition of exceptional individuals in UK manufacturing’. We were placed in the ‘Young Pioneer’ category, as individuals who have ‘…made an impact disproportionate to their years, providing inspiration for the future of manufacturing in the UK.’
Big thanks must go out to all our great customers, suppliers and supporters who have helped to make the launch of production this year possible.
We’ve just delivered Café Cycliste’s new Velopresso to our shipping agents’ holding depot and secured the trike in its bespoke wooden crate ready for delivery by road to Zurich, Switzerland. Last week we crated The Milk and Coffee and The Coffee Bike Company’s Velopressos for shipping to Barcelona and Queensland, Australia respectively. Next week it will be the turn of new lifestyle and coffee brand Tokyo Smoke and Café Movil going to Toronto and Puerto Rico respectively. Velopresso really is going *global! We will shortly be represented in ten different countries across 3 continents.
*see the interactive map on our Community page for more info
Velopresso is delighted to be part of David Byrne’s 22nd Meltdown at the South Bank Centre, partnering bicycle café pioneers look mum no hands! and Infinite Crema barista Jamie Strachan, bringing pedal-powered coffee to the riverside for the summer (serving Tuesday – Sunday through till end of September).
We think Velopresso is a perfect expression of the humanist cultural ideals that underpin the festival, and being invited is a tip of the cap towards curator David Byrne’s love of cycling, urbanism and innovation.* As long-term Talking Heads and David Byrne fans, it’s cool to be associated with this maestro. Just hope we get to make him a coffee! Photo courtesy of and © Victor Frankowski.
* see David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries for more on this
A few weeks ago, Velopresso trike 004 was crated up ready for its long journey to Adelaide, Australia, while trike 006 took to the Atlantic heading for Fort Lauderdale, USA, where their respective owners – The Bean Peddler and Coffee Hub Cafe – eagerly await their arrival. Trike 005 was delivered by road to Luxembourg city, where new startup Coffee Rocket will operate. Meanwhile back at our London factory, work continues on the next mini-batch, with trikes 008, 009, 010 and 011 being prepared for shipping in early September to Spain, Switzerland, Australia and Canada – just as soon as the new batch of grinders arrives from our Kent-based precision engineers. When those trikes are put into service there will be 15 Velopressos in action in 8 different countries around the globe, and more on the way. For a small startup in the middle of its first year of production, this feels like great progress!
For the second year running Velopresso made it to the Tour de France, this time the ‘grand depart’ in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Premium micro-roastery and leading Dutch coffee company Brandmeesters, who have an HQ and roastery outside Amsterdam, and cafes in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Utrecht, bought a Velopresso to expand awareness of their brand, beginning with the biggest event of them all – the Tour de France. We made the trip to Holland, delivered the trike in person, meeting the team and ensuring a smooth handover and training. Brandmeesters’ baristas loved the mechanics of the Velopresso and were quickly making delicious coffees with a lovely rich crema. Since we were there, it seemed rude not to stay and watch a bit of the cycling…
Velopresso was proud to be asked to represent the Made in Britain campaign organisation at the Best of Britannia show in Shoreditch, London. Trike 001, decked out with illustrations by Daisy Hirst, ‘was a great talking point and got lots of interest’ from visitors and exhibitors alike. When we say Velopresso is conceived, designed and made in Britain, that doesn’t mean every single part is made here, but around 90% of them are. Local manufacture hits several buttons for us: we’re using and supporting the incredible skills of the UK engineering industry; we’re making the most of the quality, price, and control this gives us; we’re paying back – in small part – the generous support and expertise these same engineering companies gave us while we were prototyping; and we’re reducing the carbon footprint of our production process. For us, the Made in Britain marque testifies not only to the provenance of Velopresso, but also to the strong relationships we’ve built with all those involved in its design and manufacture.