Taking their love for cycling, sustainability and espresso to a new level, Amos Reid and Lasse Oiva, two product design students from the Royal College of Art in London have built a belt driven, mobile espresso bar dubbed “Velopresso.”
The three wheeled bike uses a carbon belt drive system (grease free) to not only power the bike, but also a custom made grinder that shares a slight resemblance to the HG-1 hand grinder. With the change of a gear, five seconds of pedaling will grind enough coffee for a double shot—three if you’re doping.
Currently the Velopresso uses a camp stove to heat water and steam to power its leva espresso machine, but the designers have been experimenting with various ways of creating their own fuel from spent coffee grounds. The goal of making it even less dependent on carbon fuels—aside from the belts used everywhere else—would add to its sustainable caché. The project was recently bestowed the 2012 Deutsche Bank Award in Design and the creators are currently looking for ways to produce them commercially.
“Velopresso was conceived against the backdrop of a global renaissance in cycling culture that is being driven by the desire for more sustainable cities and lifestyles,” says co-creator Amos Field Reid, pictured below kneeling behind the machine. “The urban coffee scene is also expanding and diversifying, including a convergence with cycling culture. Velopresso engages directly with these cutting-edge urban cultures.” -Carbon Drive
Velopresso isn’t the first coffee bike that’s been featured on DCILY (Trailhead, Kickstand Coffee), but this is the first that takes advantage of the bicycles efficiency for powering heavy-duty equipment. This would be an appreciated addition to bike paths everywhere.
Doma Coffee is the first coffee roaster I’ve tried from Idaho. It may actually be the first thing I’ve tried from Idaho that isn’t a potato. Idaho is one of those places that never seems to come up in conversation and I’ve never had a specific reason to go there. However, I hear that part of the county is beautiful and if it’s filled with more people like the good folks at Doma Coffee, I won’t write off a future visit.
Doma sent some Idaho love my way and it was much appreciated. They’ve been roasting since 2000 and made it clear from the start that principles of social and environmental responsibility would be reflected by their business. From focusing solely on Fair Trade and relationship-based organic coffees, to roasting in a Loring Smart Roast—which is more efficient with its use of natural gas—the company has created a strong foundation for doing business right.
The design of Doma’s packaging and collateral all have a very tactile feel. The bags are biodegradable and letterpressed with veggie ink by Dreyer Press (who’s also responsible for the rad looking La Bicicletta illustration), and it all just looks and feels really nice in your hands. It’s the kind of bag you don’t want to throw out (or even compost), because they are individual pieces of art.
Aside from supporting coffee growers, the company also supports a variety of non-profit organizations as well as cycling advocacy—and after coffee and design, bikes are next on my list of things I love. Proceeds from their La Bicicletta blend go towards supporting competitive women’s cycling and the company often sponsors local cycling events.
Of the three coffees I received, the La Bicicletta blend was my favorite, a good balance of sugar and spice. Although all of them were roasted slightly darker than I prefer. I often found my palate contending with roast flavors while trying to discern the true essence of the coffee. This is not to say they were dark by any means, I know there are many people who would really enjoy them. The Colombia was comfortable, balanced, and would make for a fantastic “everyday” coffee for my parents.
Coffee can be very subjective and everyone will always debate what tastes “good” and what doesn’t. The industry continues to learn, experiment and evolve. However, coffee tastes aside, it’s clear that Doma’s heart for building a responsible company focused on supporting its community and providing a product that makes them and their customers feel good is honorable and much appreciated. Some coffee company’s principles are worth praising, while others most certainly aren’t.
The Betacup contest has come to an end with 430 entries! Yesterday, the jury selected winners were announced, and first place went to the Karma Cup! Karma Cup transforms buying your daily coffee into a game that can only be played by those with reusable cups. Every person who uses their own mug puts a mark on the chalkboard and every 10th person get’s their drink for free! This is a great idea and I really hope Starbuck’s implements it. This process of engagement is far more rewarding than a $0.10 discount.