Visitors for years thanks to its panoramic view over the South-East corner of Tasmania. However, the scenic spot is set to get a whole lot busier now that Laurie Trower and Fabienne Ganz’s mobile coffee van has set up shop.
The Cubed Espresso Bar Owners have established their own “destination coffee venue”. “We live in the middle of nowhere and our van’s location is a bit off the beaten track, but when people find us, it’s worth it,” Laurie says.
The husband and wife team always dreamt of starting a small, boutique coffee business that reflected their respect for the environment, and now they have.
To make that happen, for the good part of a year Laurie sourced recyclable products to complete the van’s transformation from a tin shell rotting in a backyard paddock to functional espresso bar.
The 1957 Australian built van was restored using polished aluminium. The interior furnishings include a 25-year-old commercial kitchen stove, and sustainably grown hoop pine timber and recycled celery top timbers for the cabinetry and bencthtops.
“We have a strong sustainable ethos and try to carry that through in all aspects of our business. The water is harvested rainwater and the van runs completely off the grid – using two 180-watt solar panels,” Laurie says. “It’s a good thing we’re leading into summer.”
Laurie says his decision to produce an eco-espresso bar cost him twice the time and money compared to setting up a normal mobile business, but he wouldn’t have done it any other way.
“In so many ways we’re poisoning the planet around the world. This is our way of giving back to the environment and minimising our carbon footprint. We wanted to show people it could be done,” he says.
Cubed Espresso Bar serves customers its own house blend, a seasonable single origin, and an extensive range of tea and hot chocolates.
It took Laurie six months of trialling and testing to perfect the beans and roast for the house blend, which he produces on a fully-restored retro 1-kilogram Has Garanti in a purpose-built micro roastery located at his home on the Tasman Peninsula. Laurie takes an artisan approach to roasting that relies on good old-fashioned sight, touch, and smell.
“Our green beans are fully traceable and ethically sourced. Everything we do is labour-intensive but we’re passionate about producing a quality product and being transparent,” he says.
At time of print the house blend combined Costa Rican, Brazilian, and Indonesian beans to produce a blend with caramel and fruit notes.
“I’m a third wave roaster but roast classic espresso-style for our house blend. I let the roast drop on first crack or just after and the result is big bold flavours. A lot of people tell me it’s one of the best coffees they’ve ever had – even some customers from Melbourne, so we must be doing something right,” Laurie says.
There were few options when it came to selecting an espresso machine without power as its energy source, but Laurie is happy with his two-group Fracino gas machine from the UK.
Food is Fabienne’s forte.
Family recipes of sweets and savory items that have been passed down from generations come to life in the couple’s semi-commercial kitchen, and delivered straight to the van each day. All items are gluten-free and organic where possible, using locally sourced produce. Nothing costs more than $4.50. A must-try is the raspberry and chocolate fudge brownie.
In the short time that Cubed Espresso Bar has been operating, it’s made a strong impression in the local community, and has even been nominated for a Tasmanian EPA sustainability award.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved,” Laurie says. “We encourage others to come enjoy a friendly and personal experience with a quality and value-for-money product – and you might even spot a whale on the horizon too.”