Coffee Vintage Co - barista coffee served from a vintage Citroen van
PUBLISHED: 15:32 29 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:32 29 September 2014
Jonathan Bayley has jumped on the coffee bandwagon to forge a new career. Jane Watson reports
It’s one of the food and drink phenomena of our time - suddenly, every high street is chock-a-block with coffee shops.
Ramsbottom’s Jonathan Bayley has jumped on the bandwagon – quite literally. He reached his 50s and found himself redundant after a career in the printing industry. He didn’t get on his bike. Instead, he bought a van.
Jonathan re-trained as a barista and converted a beautiful vintage Citroen van, had it kitted out with all the paraphernalia required to make posh coffee and went on the road.
He found the van in the French town of Neuillac, just south of Cognac. The 1980 Citroen, the same design as the original from 1955, was imported and lovingly overhauled before being sprayed jade green.
Jonathan then hooked up with Lancashire firm, Wilkinson Mobile Catering Systems of Darwen, which installed plumbing, electrics and the assorted catering ‘gubbins‘ required for a top-notch barista coffee van.
It was a challenging start and there were a few sleepless nights wondering if he’d spent his redundancy money wisely. Now though Jonathan’s business is growing just like the British love affair with coffee-culture.
Research shows that people will sacrifice many things but few forgo that daily treat of a proper cup of coffee, made just how they like it. Add that to a home-made ‘sticky’ of your choice, and its a great start to the day.
His 20-year-old daughter, Jessica, and her younger brother, Oliver, often join him on the road. Both dad and daughter are coeliac sufferers, an auto-immune disease which requires a gluten-free diet.
‘As a family, we’d be out and about at outdoor shows and festivals, longing for a decent coffee and a tasty gluten-free snack to go with it,’ he said. ‘We’d end up carrying our own food wherever we went. So my mission is not just about serving great coffee from a little vintage van that makes you smile, but also offering more choices for coeliacs with the message that gluten-free food can be equally as tasty and eaten by everyone.
‘My wife Sue is a brilliant baker. She makes delicious cup cakes, lemon drizzle and other goodies. We’re true to the gluten-free ethos - I’ve become a bit of an ambassador for it on Twitter. ‘
That passion has been noticed by Chris Hook, the MD of the Gluten-Free Division at mighty Warburton’s Bakery, and Jonathan is having discussions about taking his little van along to the Bolton Headquarters as they launch new products in their Newburn Bakehouse gluten-free range.
Where might you have seen le van so far? A couple of vintage weddings; Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival; Bury Artisan Markets, on the top of Holcombe Hill for the Lady Mayor’s charity Abseil; on the M62 as it ventured over the Pennines to ‘Le Grand Depart’ for the Tour De France. Lytham chef Paul Rowley was so taken with the van he booked it for the summer fixtures at Cartmel races.
Keeping it local, the coffee comes from the Lytham Coffee Company. Meanwhile, Jonathan is also encouraging his customers to donate their loose change toward his adopted local charity for dementia awareness ‘ Making Space.’ He said: ‘They do great work in the community and I’m happy to support them where I can.’
Last word goes to the final member of the team, family dog Bailey. You can’t miss him, a rather lively and lovely labrador/pointer cross, bringing his mix of doggie-joy to customers at most of the festivals and fairs alongside the van.
You can follow his adventures on Twitter @coffeevintageco.