When you need coffee, and you go to the effort of going out to buy it, you want it made just right.
I usually order a soy, flat white. Sometimes decaf. Simple right? No.
I’ve been presented with coffee so bitter the beans were obviously incinerated; scalding hot, and frequently with more froth than coffee. Once at a flash cafe, after being assured by the waitress who relieved me of $7, that the soy was certified organic(not that I cared), I got a shock.
I gagged when I took a sip. It tasted of billy-goat. (A little explanation here: The buck pees on itself many times over many years to attract the does. You get the picture).
It took me a long time, but finally, I found salvation.
I was towelling off my au de chlorine, straw-like hair after a drown-I mean swim, at the Melville Aquatic centre as I walked out into the warm sun and there it was; a chocolate coloured Coffeeville van.
I blinked my bloodshot eyes and took a deep sniff of coffee scented air. It smelled good. Very good.
I allowed myself some wary hope.
I asked the usual questions of the tall coffee man with the big smile. Yes he had soy. Yes he had decaf.
“Decaf, soy flat white,” I whispered.
“Can be done!” he said.
I waited with my $5 note, for which I’d get change, as this tall, smiling man, I now know as Rock, created my coffee. Yes created; he didn’t burn or blast it, he was gentle, smooth and confident, and he used a thermometer to get the temperature right. A thermometer!
The van was, and is, always spotless(he has a mini-vac). There’s nothing to spoil the aesthetics of the sacred creation of that perfect cup.
I wasn’t disappointed. It was good, very good. Perfect in fact.
“Thank you,” I said, slightly teary. “I needed this.”
Rock; a former carpenter, good humoured and with a ready ear, has had this response before. Harangued mothers, sweaty, fatigued gym-goers, walkers, cyclists, passers by, gym staff, and desperadoes who’ve driven 15 minutes to get their fix(did not. I was on my way to Bunnings for a spanner) all flock to his window.
So how does a carpenter end up serving coffee?
In 2007, after working in the building industry for 20 years, Rock sold his business and went travelling with his wife.
He was too young to retire. He wanted to do something different, something that made him happy.
Rock had fond memories of working in his mother’s deli serving coffee when he was fifteen.
Then driving in Louisiana, he saw a sign that said: ‘Coffeeville – 20 miles’.
Rock turned to his wife.
“That’s the name of my new business,” he said.
In October, Coffeeville turned two.
Wanting a retro feel for the van, Rock planned to have white walled tyres(like the ones on vintage cars). But obtaining these tyres ended up being a challenge. After searching high and low, Rock had to order the tyres from the USA. Their arrival a few months back was a real highlight.
Aside from coffee, Rock sells biscuits and Muffins made at The Cookie Barrel, O’Connor and has picnic blankets in case his customers want to sit on the grass. Seriously.
Rock says the best part of the job is the people. And the kids who yell out as they pass; ‘Morning Mr Coffee Man!”
Coffeeville is available for hire for events and private functions.This cafe has wheels, white walled ones, and it has Rock. What else could you possibly need?