Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Café Pedestrian™

Portable café steps over competition...
  [vote for,

Nov. 30 2004 © 2004 HalfBakery Future News Service.

Neil Shotman's second day on the job went far smoother than his first. He'd managed to cinch up the straps on the backpack tank to reduce sloshing and found the nozzle length adjustment clamp so the dispenser now felt like an extension of his left hand. Gone were the noisy, spilling freshman efforts of his first day. Were it not for his caffeine induced grin and generally friendly mien he might be a scary sight with his large back pack and wide pants. But by now, the city dwellers were accustomed to Neil and the small army of other Café Pedestrian™ entrepreneurs just like him that appear every morning all over town. They can be found at the exits of train stations major buss terminals and the main doors of large office buildings before the earliest shifts arrive.

By week two, Neil's regular customers had stopped asking about his predecessor on this corner and instead resumed the random, pick- up-where-you-left-off style conversations Neil was quickly becoming known for. When pressed about the business as a business, Neil would say, "The suit is the business." And right he may be. The "suit" is made up of: A backpack mounted insulated coffee tank An insulated dispensing tube and valve (to user's non-dominant hand) An old-fashioned belt mounted change dispensing machine A personalized hat featuring a jaunty coffee cup and saucer A pair of spring loaded cup sleeves (pant-leg mounted, ironically) A tank top warming oven full of pastries. A chest mounted serving/condiment table.

No flavored coffees here, only serious coffee drinkers need apply. Tea is, however, available since the tank pack does have a "clear" section that carries and produces the very hot water Neil uses to simultaneously heat and "temper" the coffee. This tempering is needed since the coffee is brewed quite strong and then held at a warm but not hot temperature to preserve the aromatic volatiles for the drinker. This approach keeps the coffee from becoming bitter in transit and creates a side business in tea as well.

To complete the package there is a warming oven atop the tank that dispenses fresh baked croissants. In keeping with the simplicity of the business there are only croissants. Strangely it dispenses them one half pastry at a time... Even if Neil sells a whole croissant he must reach in twice and extract two halves. While Neil and the regulars have become used to it, new customers sometimes balk at the convention. But tasty as they are, Neil has had to place a per customer limit on the confections: two and a half...

DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

Chai Wallah http://www.dancingm...es/Pushkar/chai.jpg
[DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Chai & clay cups http://www.pacificc...om/chaihistory.html
(Apparently not all chai wallahs are peripatetic.) [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Oddly enough, baked in India, where chai wallahs patrol train stations and elsewhere, offering cups of tea, not coffee, in disposable clay cups that resemble homemade flower pots without the hole.
DrCurry, Apr 05 2004

       Do they serve Nan with the chai? I need a nan walla for sure...
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       Baked in the US also, where at sporting events you can buy coffee from a guy with a big tank strapped to his back.
cocktaillouie, Apr 05 2004

       Ok I need to get out more... dang.   

       do you have a linky for me cocktaillouie?
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       i don't even remember the brand of coffee they carry, sorry. it's the one with green and red vertical stripes, i think. starts with a b-something. Any american football or baseball stadium would have these guys, in particular during cold weather.   

       er, on second thought, i found a link to something similar.
cocktaillouie, Apr 05 2004

       cocka! cool link. Now this device is less romantic than mine but there it is fairly well baked...
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       just to clarify, i like this idea, even though i don't drink coffee. Btw, in that mongolian pizza idea you mentioned Oakland? I live there too.
cocktaillouie, Apr 05 2004

       A well-brewed narrative, anyway.
FarmerJohn, Apr 05 2004

       bp: it's a sanitary precaution: by smashing the cups, the vendees are making sure no one else drinks from them. It's kinda fun, too.
DrCurry, Apr 05 2004

       [Cocka] the mongolian AIY pizza joint lasted maybe a year. It was on Piedmont Ave about two blocks up from MacArthur.   

       The same folks went on to start the much loved Spettro on Lakeshore Ave. (3355 to be exact) and, as a kind of vestage/ memorial, they will make a pizza with any combination you like.
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       DadMan: your choice of sauce, too?
cocktaillouie, Apr 05 2004

       if you take look at cocka's link it seems there are some lovely economics to be had. I pictured this as a side business one could engage in on the way to work or as a subsidy to some other, less lucrative career. Those numbers don't promise a Jack Welch lifestyle but as a sideline it might have a place.   

       Oh and DrCurry tell me there is a Nurse Nan who goes with. please?
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       [Cocka] sauce... It has been a while but I seem to recall that if they had it in the kitchen they were game.   

       Back to Café Pedestrian™... I imagine a smaller scale could be achieved by just concentrating on going to where you know there will be lines: ticket counters, conventions, Department of Motor Vehicles etc.
DadManWalking, Apr 05 2004

       My dear baker friends... you should come to México and find out the huge variety of things sold in football stadiums in devices like the one described here. From beer to a pineapple liquor. Yummy!
Pericles, Apr 05 2004

       Yes, this exists, sort of, but not in a cool cafe aesthetic. I've seen it at the ballpark in San Francisco, and it's just an insulated plastic tub, with a cheap beer keg style hose to dispense. Too bad. You could design it to evoke similar feelings as any of the many styles of espresso machine to complete the transformation from cafe to cafe pedestrian. A friend of mine did a pretty detailed design along those lines, with a decent business plan, and in the middle of it patent searches that had been clear turned up this ugly plastic version. Tragic.
oxen crossing, Apr 07 2004

       hey oxen crossing!   

       I've been at reduced capacity with sciatic pain for a few weeks so I only now found your annotation... It did strike me as a possibly cool looking back pack. Either Victorian or "rocketeer" or otherwise interesting to look at.   

       I wonder how much patent protection you could get or need for such a thing. Weird. we should talk again. I am not 100% but headed in the right direction.
DadManWalking, Apr 21 2004


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