Bicycles come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some even come with kegs of cold-brew coffee attached to the front.
The founders of NU Student Coffee — Northwestern’s first student-run coffee shop — have changed gears and plan to launch BrewBike, an on-the-go coffee-dispensing tricycle, next fall. The team launched an Indiegogo fundraising page last week, which has already raised more than $7,000.
SESP freshman Lucas Philips and Weinberg freshman Brammy Geduld originally planned to collaborate with Northwestern Dining and Sodexo to create a student-run coffee shop in Cafe Bergson, located in University Library. However, the duo decided they wanted a real entrepreneurial experience, Geduld said.
“We really wanted the real experience of running our own business,” she said. “We felt that doing so within a large corporation meant that we weren’t really starting anything new. We weren’t really allowing ourselves to risk anything.”
The team decided to “scale back” from the original brick-and-mortar coffee shop by selling its coffee from a tent, Philips said. This idea transformed into a coffee-dispensing tricycle about a month ago.
Cold-brew coffee –– coffee that is brewed in room-temperature or cold water –– is the team’s chosen beverage because of its popularity among college students, Philips said. The tricycle will dispense coffee from Chicago-based coffee company Limitless High Definition Coffee & Tea.
“That image of cold brew as the student’s coffee — and then a keg and a tap — that’s very college,” he said. “Everything about the design, our branding, the product and how we’re serving it is marketed for the college student.”
By working independently, Philips said the BrewBike team is now faced with the challenges of figuring out payroll, filing taxes and developing its own brand.
But the team looks forward to tackling these challenges, Geduld said.
“There are things that are stressful and hard to deal with, but I know that I’m learning so much from it that they’re enjoyable complications,” she said.
Although the BrewBike venture is separate from the University, dining director Ken Field said the University still supports the project.
“We want them to have every opportunity to be successful,” he said. “There are a lot of dedicated individuals trying to see this project through.”
The team will have a stand at Dillo Day, where it will sell the same cold-brew coffee that will be sold on the tricycle.
Philips and Geduld said they hope to expand BrewBike to other college campuses and have a physical coffee shop in the future.
“Brammy and I came to Northwestern wanting to start a business,” he said. “We both have always been interested in service and hospitality.”
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