Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Pourover- why so slow?

An element of coffee brewing that is near and dear to our hearts here at Caffe Bellezza is the pourover.  It's how we make our coffee at home.  It's simple in essence, yet takes a level of skill and precision that many baristas can appreciate and not all do well.  But every week we get at least one or two customers who go: "Why is this taking so long?"  and "Why would you introduce this brewing process into your mobile cafe?"

There's a few reasons why we do it, despite the fact that it takes longer than most people have been trained to wait.

First, there are problems associated with "batch brewing."  This is the process that allows customers to just come up and grab a quick cup.  Baristas have to brew the coffee ahead of time despite knowing how much coffee to make- so the result is often waste and a lack of freshness.  Coffee is precious!  The other problem is when you brew in a large batch, you miss out on the opportunity to tailor your brewing process based on the coffee itself.  Not all coffee is the same (we're talking size of bean, variety, species, density, roast level, processing method, WOW!)!  Yet in a batch brew, all coffees are treated the same (and abused the same!).  The biggest problem with batch brewing is the wrong expectations that it creates in our customers.  Coffee should not be cheap and ready whenever I want it.  It has taken many skilled hands months to grow, harvest, process, roast and brew- and acting like it's simply a warm version of a Red Bull is so sad!  Coffee should be savored and appreciated, respected and adored for all the love and effort that has been put into it.

Thank you to all of our talented farmers and roasters who have worked so hard to bring us the best coffees they can.  May we always treat coffee with the respect it deserves!  Try a pourover of our rotating single origins the next time you see our truck!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Homemade caramel!

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, Tim and I started brainstorming a special drink. Tim thought it would be fun to feature a drink with caramel sauce in it, and I thought it would be fun to try making the caramel sauce myself. And also a little scary. So, I found a recipe with only four ingredients (simplicity is the best!) and jumped right in.

My first batch turned out great—it didn’t even turn into a gooey, burned, stuck-to-the-pan mess like I was a little afraid it would! Tim taste tested it, we tried it in some drinks, and decided the recipe was a success.

Since we’re featuring this caramel-y deliciousness at the Hunt Street Market tomorrow and at the Rodeo on Sunday, I made a second batch this afternoon, and I snapped some photos of the process! We can’t wait to serve this awesome drink, which we’re calling Daddy’s Day Delight! It combines our unique espresso, cold milk and caramel with ice and gets shaken until frothy.


Sugar warming up

Sugar at 350 degrees with butter and cream

Finished product: caramel masterpiece

TA-DA! Caramel!  Make sure to try it out in our new Daddy's Day Delight and after Father's Day we'll call it our Caramel Cocktail.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Paint job!

I've been talking about it for awhile now, but it finally happened: we got a paint job.  It was long overdue and now it's BEEEEAUTIFUL!  Check out the progression...

The sketching started at 11:30 pm with a finicky old projector.  We display the logo up on the trailer and Erik Leighland, our talented artist, sketches around the lettering.

 This is what the sketch looked like the following day.  I told Erik to make a cheesy grin.  Mission accomplished.

 Here's Erik putting on the final coat of paint- every letter freehand!
I have had a lot of people come up to me and ask "where's the flair?" in terms of the outside of our trailer.  I usually try to draw their attention to the inside-- the crown molding, the tiled linoleum, the handmade countertops, the energy star lighting... but now I can proudly say that we have the whole package.

Huge thank you to Erik for working through the night and a thank you to all of our loyal customers that stay committed to drinking delicious, sustainable coffee.  If you'd like to hire Erik to do some kind of fantastic art or craft project for you, send him an email at

If you see us driving around your town, give us a shout out ("Bellezza!") and book us for a special event.  (What's that? Caffe Bellezza does weddings? Yep!)

Here's to every beautiful cup,


Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring is here! ...Almost!

Sunny weather has sure been dragging it's feet around these parts.  Yesterday it was a beautiful 70 degrees and today (Sunday) it's rainy and cold. I think Durham needs to reevaluate which season it wants to be in.

Warm weather for us coffee addicts means COLD BREW... and we have an unbelievably sweet Ethiopian Yergacheffe "Z" that takes delicious to a whole new level. The "Z" stands for "Zero Defect"- because of the intense level of sorting and processing- we can create the closest thing to heaven in a cup!  For those unfamiliar with Cold Brew, you won't believe the difference in flavor.  Instead of just brewing a super strong batch of drip coffee and then pouring it over ice, what we do is let the coffee steep all night long and then in the morning filter out the grounds.  The extraction process is gentle and smooth and draws out all the sweetness while leaving harsh notes behind.  (It's also easier on your stomach if you have a bit of a tummy reaction to coffee)

We've also got a delicious Jasmine Blossom Iced Tea and a Spring Delight Latte (with our homemade vanilla and fresh orange).

Also, have you noticed that all of this sun is powering your house and lowering your bills?  What's that??  You don't have solar panels on your roof??  Well, you're in luck!  Yes! Solar Solutions (based out of Cary, NC) is offering discounted pricing on solar panels based on how many people sign up!  It's a part of the movement called "Solarize Durham."  Call them and tell them that Tim from Caffe Bellezza sent you.  The owners, Stew and Kathy Miller, are great people and they helped us become the ONLY SOLAR POWERED FOOD TRUCK on the East Coast!  The number is 919-459-4155.

And lastly, our truck is getting painted!  The talented Erik Leighland will be putting a sweet sexy logo all over our little trailer!

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Here's to another beautiful cup,

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weather, whether you want it or not!

There's something magical in the air when the weather changes from cold winter to warm spring.  In the case of Durham, NC, it's more like a bad magician suddenly throwing freezing cold water on you and then scorching you with a heat lamp and then back to the cold water again.  The reason I bring up the weather is because of how drastically it affects business for food (and coffee) trucks. It also affects how much power we can draw from our solar panels.

On Friday, Bethany and I enjoyed a lovely cool morning of serving coffee and tea to folks at One Renaissance Center in Raleigh only to be barraged by gail force winds and vicious rain all the way home.  There were several times that we wondered if our trailer would be able to stay on the road!

The following day the sun came out and so did the people.  Durham Farmer's Market and Hunt St. Market was PACKED and we did our best day of business there to date.  We started serving Iced Beverages as a trial run and it went over great!  Our iced mocha is devine- made with real Videri Chocolate!  Soon we will have a very unique COLD BREW and a nice selection of Iced Teas.  We also have introduced a new special drink: the Irish Cream Latte and Irish Coffee.  Both are made with a REAL WHISKEY REDUCTION to make every Irishman and Irishwoman proud to be living in America.  

Lastly, we've already started preparing for our second Durham Food Truck Rodeo that will be on March 9th, from noon-4pm at Durham Central Park!  Don't miss this awesome event!  There's live music, 4 beer venders and 48 different Food and Coffee Trucks! We will be streamlining our truck to make sure that Durham doesn't have to wait too long to get its Specialty Coffee and Tea from the Triangle's only Solar Powered Mobile Coffee Bar. Check out for more information.

Thanks for the photo, Fran!

Thank you to our loyal fans and neighbors!  We'll see you soon!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reflections after our first Food Truck Rodeo!

SO much has happened since my last post!  We have been busy keeping the trailer running smooth, trying out new locations, and making delicious coffee memories!

At the rodeo we served over 200 thirsty customers!!  WOW.  Big thank you to Julie Morris and Cam Kinch who swooped in and saved the day by getting us milk and cups when we ran out and helped brew coffee like pros!

Some of my favorite things that I have heard about us lately:

"This has got to be the nicest food truck I have ever seen"

"Oh my god, this hot chocolate is amazing."

"This smells incredible."

"Best latte I've had in years.  And I'm not just saying that!"

So a HUGE thank you to our supporters and small group of loyal followers!  If I were to say that it is tough starting a business I would be understating it by about a billion. There's so much uncertainty, politics, and grundgy work!  But the trade off is that we get to make our own schedule and be our own bosses!  

In other news, we had our first catering gig on Tuesday night on Duke's West Campus!  Tim got to talk with coffee-craving students about the pourover method and then hand out free cups of fresh-brewed coffee and loose leaf tea!  Big thank you to RA of the year Jeff Nelson and the Kilgo Quadrangle.  If you are curious about having us cater your event, email INFO@CAFFEBELLEZZA.COM.

Here's to every beautiful cup!

Caffe Bellezza