When it comes to brewing up a satisfying cup of coffee on the go, Christine and Richard “are here to serve” – literally. The Nulkaba couple are the smiling faces and steady hands behind one of the Hunter’s most delicious mobile barista-made coffee enterprises, Lava Coffee.
Christine said it had been a joy to work alongside her husband in the successful side-venture, which they complete on top of their regular full-time jobs.
“I’m a fitness specialist, and this whole coffee van idea came to me when attending seminars in Sydney for the industry I work in,” she said.
“I often heard people say during the seminars ‘Gee I'd love a coffee’. Even though we were catered for at most of the seminars, you often felt like a coffee or refreshment during the lectures.
“I attend many sporting events as well and hear the same thing at these venues too, so I started to look into the coffee van idea.
“Many times, I discussed this idea with my husband and thought it would be good to do something together and still have my full-time job.
“It took a good 18 months of looking around Sydney and our local area, and I was actually buying hay for my horses when I found that a guy in Newcastle was interested in selling his van.”
After securing their mobile coffee headquarters, the couple set about fitting it out properly, while Christine also completed her barista training, as well as Food Authority and Food Supervisor’s courses.
Since then the couple have been popping up everywhere from schools and workplaces to auctions and sporting events.
For more than six years they have also been warming the hands and stomachs of visitors to the monthly Handmade in the Hunter artisan markets.
“We started selling coffee at Handmade in the Hunter Markets when Karen approached me at least six years or more ago ... and love this market,” Christine said.
"We meet so many beautiful people from all over and international visitors as well and have had so many come back on the day and tell us our coffee was excellent."
“This, to me, is a great way to continue to serve great coffee and not ever become complacent with the running of the coffee van ... after all, we are there to serve!”
Christine said the key to brewing up the best coffee was to start with the highest quality coffee (they prefer quality Arabica and their many beautiful blends).
Clean water, a correctly set machine and the perfect milk temperature are also essential to not only create the tastiest cup but also meet important Food Authority standards.
Stop by and taste the coffee for yourself at this month’s Handmade in the Hunter Markets, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines from 9am to 3pm on November 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.