Tastemaker: San of The Coffee Trike
We are excited to share the first in a new occasional series: the Tastemakers! These posts will highlight people that are changing the way we eat, drink, taste, and cook in Boston! (Also keep an eye out for our Stylemakers.) Today I would like to introduce you to San Bellino, the owner of a very special bicycle – you may have seen him around town on The Coffee Trike! Behind the bar of this wonderful contraption, San made me one of the best lattes ever (and I really like lattes). I was intrigued – who was this charming guy and how did this whole coffee trike thing happen? Find out below…
Laura Chassaigne: Hi San! So where are you originally from, and how did you end up in Boston?
San Bellino: I’m originally from Brisbane, Australia and came to Boston in 2007 to study at Berklee College of Music.
LC: Why coffee?
SB: I’ve always liked coffee. My parents are coffee drinkers and I’ve always loved the smell of it around the house. Ever since I was about 17, I used to think how cool it would be to have a coffee shop one day. My first job (in 2002) was at a cafe in Brisbane where I learned my way around an espresso machine. Also, I used to drink espresso with my dad almost every morning while I was studying at the Queensland Conservatory back home and that is always a nice memory.
LC: How did you come up with the idea for the coffee trike, and what was involved in getting it running?
SB: The trike idea came about after I competed in the United States Barista Championships Regional Competition in NY in 2011. I wanted to open a coffee shop, but couldn’t find a space. While I was searching I kept seeing how interesting this growing mobile food scene was and decided to look into having some sort on mobile specialty coffee.
The trike took me a good year and a half to get up and rolling. What was involved is a hard question, there were so many things to work out. From permitting, researching and finding a trike, designing the build in, finding someone that could execute the build in, making sure everything would work etc., etc.
LC: What is unique about your coffee?
SB: The most unique thing about my coffee is I think the way it is served from both the customer’s stand point and my own. I think that the service format for the trike is cool because I have a chance to engage with every customer. We talk about the coffee and catch up as I preparing a drink. Then I finish it up, take payment, ask how it is and they’re off on their day. That’s my favorite thing about the trike : :) The coffee itself is roasted by The George Howell Coffee Co. out of Acton, MA. They are my favorite coffee roaster. Their work and commitment to sourcing, cupping and roasting etc. makes my life as a barista a lot easier and a lot of fun.
Also, from an espresso preparation stand point, I use a piston lever machine that no one used anymore because it’s essentially an antique espresso preparation method. I totally love it though and think it produces really delicious espresso.
LC: What is your favorite thing about Boston?
SB: Wow, hard question. I love the sense of community that Boston has. I’ve noticed this more and more since I started the trike and I really think it’s great. I also love that it’s such a bike friendly city. (I mean the bike lanes could be much better, but I love the fact that people bike everywhere)
LC: Where can we find you and your trike?
SB: You can find the trike and me Sundays at SoWa Open Market in the South End from 10am-4pm and Monday thru Thursday at Dewey Square, outside South Station from 7:30am-3:30pm.
Image Credit: Calin and Bisous.