Coffee is a staple on any college campus. Meet the startup that decided to make it a mobile business.
As an adept coffee drinker and astute observer of the beverages in my surroundings, I can safely tell you that the “cold brew craze” is a real phenomenon sweeping the hearts and minds of a rising number of college students at Northwestern.
Walk through the library on a warm Sunday afternoon and it won’t be long before you encounter the tiny pools of watery condensation coming down the sides of ice drinks sitting on study tables. The cool, refreshing taste of the brew is a result of its superior production process when compared to standard iced coffee. Iced coffee is simply coffee that is brewed hot and then is chilled down by mixing it with ice to serve cold. In the case of cold brew, coffee grounds are soaked in room temperature or cold water and placed in a refrigerator for an extended period of time. The lack of heat at any point in this process cuts out any acidity from the final product and allows for a more full, more intense tasting coffee.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to sit down with Northwestern students Lucas Phillips and Brammy Geduld, the co-founders of BrewBike, Northwestern’s first mobile coffee shop that specializes in serving cold brew. Geduld and Phillips are both freshman from NYC that met through mutual friends in high school. When they arrived at Northwestern, they noticed the lack of student-run food ventures present on campus. These ventures have been successful at other college campuses, yet Northwestern’s food services are currently run by either the French food services giant Sodexo or major American chains such as Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.
Initially, Geduld and Phillips thought to start a stationary coffee shop, partnering with Sodexo to deliver their coffee from a location within University Library. However, they quickly realized that such an experience was not what they desired. Partnering with Sodexo would have allowed for a number of entrepreneurial shortcuts from a legal and operational perspective, that both founders wanted to experience and manage on their own. This appears to be quite a commendable choice, as partnering with Sodexo and being the “Next Lisa’s” is not quite as ambitious as being “Northwestern’s First Mobile Coffee Shop.” From an entrepreneur’s perspective, it takes a lot of courage to have an idea, start going down one path, and then have the recognition to backtrack and decide to take a potentially more rewarding and challenging path. That is exactly what BrewBike has done.
Instead of partnering with Sodexo, Geduld and Philips sought the mentorship of a successful entrepreneur in Protein Bar Founder, Matt Matros. Matros is helping BrewBike on the supply side, providing nitrogen canisters, coffee beans, and other components necessary for running a mobile cold brew business. With Matros’ mentorship, BrewBike is positioned to have smooth and professional product delivery.
In addition to its two founders, BrewBike has added six additional student employees to its team and has raised a total of just over $10,000 from 109 backers during its Indiegogo campaign. The project blew past expectations, doubling its initial fundraising goal of $5,000. The funds will be used to help BrewBike purchase its first bike, permits, and potentially more bikes in the future.
With plans to be up and running in time for Northwestern’s Welcome Week in September, BrewBike held a free sample tasting on Monday, May 16 at The Rock. I was able to attend the event and I am happy to report that in terms of quality, the brew is definitely amongst my favorite cold brews in Evanston, with Coffee Lab still occupying the top spot. I look forward to seeing the company continue to grow and I will certainly be keeping my eye out for that bike in the future.