Possibly the UK’s only double decker coffee rig has opened this week to help residents get their caffeine fix amid a stunning backdrop of Ely Cathedral.
Silver Oak Coffee has unveiled its brew-ti-ful coffee rig to coincide with the launch of Ely Mini Markets today.
Susanne Stent, who runs Silver Oak with husband Bruce, told Spotted in Ely that since they first starting roasting their own coffee, residents have become a lot more discerning.
“The coffee market has really changed over the last five years. People have become a lot more knowledgeable and expect great coffee.”
To celebrate the growth of their business, the couple commissioned Chris Bonwick, of Masters in Sevenoaks, Kent, to design and build the two-storey coffee rig.
Seating 15 people upstairs, it measures 6m by 2.4m packed down and about 9m by 3.5m rigged.
Chris said: “We’ve built all sorts of units but nothing of this scale and nothing on two storeys. As far as I know this is the first two storey coffee trailer.
“One of the biggest challenges was being able to set it up quickly. It had to be under three-and-a-half tonnes so it’s keeping everything lightweight.”
The mobile cafe features artwork by Steph Thelwell, from Ely, who regularly sits in the coffee gazebo on a Sunday, sketching scenes from Ely Market. It shows Bruce roasting coffee beans at Silver Oak’s micro roastery in Black Bank Road.
The Stents started off roasting coffee at their garage but decided to rent out a business unit in 2016. Their roastery is based opposite Three Blind Mice Brewery and next door to The Ely Gin Company and Gourmet Brownie – all highly successful local businesses.
Susanne said: “We’ve gone from roasting once every two weeks to sometimes roasting twice a week. The demand in Ely has really grown.”
Despite being a regular fixture at bustling Stamford and Cambridge Markets, Ely Market holds a special place for the couple as this was the first market they traded at.
When East Cambridgeshire District Council asked them to trade in Ely six days a week, they jumped at the chance.
Susanne said: “The concept of the mini market is a great one. You don’t have to buy lots of food every week with all the packaging – it’s better to buy little and often. It’s the same with our coffee. People can bring bags back to us and they get recycled in Huntingdon. All the spoons, cups and lids are biodegradable and compostable.”
As well as trading ecologically, the Stents try to operate in an ethical manner, sourcing their coffee beans from small farms and co-operatives with a good track record in their communities.
“Not only is it ethical but it’s good quality as well.”