On Sunday I met the lovely Keshia and Hema from Kesh’s Coffee Cup to find out more about their new mobile coffee and cake business. Although they only started in January this year they’ve already secured a regular customer base, traded at this year’s Emerald Village event at the Custard Factory, hosted a coffee morning, and been booked for several private events in the next few months. The beans are freshly ground for each cup of coffee, they use chocolate drops in both their milk and white hot chocolates, and they’re cakes and biscuits are all lovingly homemade each morning.
I’ve never ordered a coffee for myself before, and on the handful of occasions that I’ve tried my mum’s coffee when we’ve been out I’ve never liked it. But I thought I’d try their coffee to see if I could be converted, and I’m pleased to say that I was!! Keshia made me a delicious Latte and I’m no coffee expert, but surely the fact I didn’t need to add any sugar to my first ever cup of coffee is a sign of how good it is too?! I’m actually craving one of their lattes now as I sit here writing about it, and I definitely think I’m going to be a coffee drinker from now on!
They also gave me a mini Lemon Drizzle Loaf and mini Apple and Cinnamon Loaf to take home too, and I eagerly tucked into them for supper on Sunday night. The Lemon Drizzle Loaf had a wonderfully lemon, tangy flavour and was light and airy. The syrupy topping was sticky and sweet and it had seeped into the rest of the cake, dispersing the fantastic lemon flavour throughout the cake. All in all, a very good lemon drizzle and I can see why it’s their most popular cake!
The Apple and Cinnamon Loaf had so much flavour and was absolutely delicious! There was a pleasant hint of cinnamon, extra texture from the dried fruit, and small pieces of soft apple that added to the already moist sponge. I loved the addition of the sweet drizzle of icing on top too. It was definitely my favourite out of their cakes that I tried, which surprised me as I don’t normally like cinnamon either! So Kesh’s Coffee Cup have managed to convert me into liking two things in one day…coffee and cinnamon!!
Anyway less about me stuffing my face with lots of their yummy cake, and onto the interview…Tell us a bit about yourselves and Kesh’s Coffee Cup – why did you set up the business? And was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Keshia: I went to university at Nottingham Trent and did fashion and textile management and I spent a year of it in London, where there is a really cool coffee scene and every morning I’d get a nice coffee from one of the independents. As a family we went on quite a few trips to Paris and Italy and had really nice coffee there too, and on one trip to Paris my Dad got a real flavour for coffee and when we got home he bought an espresso machine. So that kind of just got us as a family into coffee, and we haven’t bought instant ever since.
I then finished university last year and I didn’t want to go back into London to have a career in fashion and marketing. So we looked into opening a coffee shop, but the initial costs were horrendous and we couldn’t afford to do it. Then we looked at opening a franchise with a company called Really Awesome Coffee, which was set up by a really inspiring guy called Kevin. The conversions he did were excellent, but the vans were a little bigger than we wanted. We kept looking and looking, and we just couldn’t find the right van for us. So in October/November last year, we took a step back and decided to leave it until the New Year as we didn’t want to rush into anything. Then just a few days later, Kevin rang up telling us that a van he had converted last year was up for sale (it was used by coffee shop for festivals but they were now moving out of the country). We went to see it and it just felt right…it was like it was meant to be, and we had found our perfect van (the one we have now!). We decided to use the rest of the year to sort out our branding, find suppliers, do some research, and think up our name. We wanted to make the name personal and memorable, and my sister Aleena came up with it. Then in mid January we went out for the first time to businesses and started from there.
What was your first ever event?
Keshia: We had a stall at Emerald Village in The Custard Factory for St Patrick’s Day. We took along our Chocolate Guinness cake, Victoria Sponge and lots of Cupcakes, and we also did an offer of coffee and cake for £3.50. We didn’t know what to make in terms of cake, but luckily we seemed to get it just about right. It was a really busy day, and at one point I don’t think I even turned around as there were so many coffee orders coming through! It was really fun and lovely having people asking about our business and saying they liked our van too.
Tell us more about the drinks you sell…
Keshia: Our blend that we’ve got is from a company in Yorkshire called Limini Coffee and we serve their Limini Blend which is a blend of beans from Brazil, El Salvador and India. We first tried it at Really Awesome Coffee and unlike other coffee that normally leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, we found that the Limini Blend had a lovely rich caramel flavour, without any bitterness. The grinder we’ve got grinds fresh for every cup too. Our coffees start at £2 for a regular and £2.50 for a larger one. We stock three syrups – caramel, hazelnut and amaretto – which are all sugar-free and really popular.
Our hot chocolates are £2.50-£2.80 and they’re made with real chocolate drops rather than a powder, which we get from the same company who do our coffee beans. We stock Teapigs tea and do the morning breakfast tea, earl grey and green tea. And we do a Chai tea latte which is caffeine-free which is a good alternative as we don’t currently serve decaf coffee.
What are your most popular products at the moment?
Hema: Our lemon drizzle and brownies both always go down really well. I only started making the brownies a few weeks ago, and the first time we took them out they were still warm and they all sold out so we had to come home and grab some more cake! We have people who come out just for the brownies and lemon drizzle now. In terms of drinks, our most popular coffees are lattes, americanos and flat whites, as well as our hot chocolates.
Have you got any new flavours of cakes that you’re working on and hoping to introduce?
Hema: I made a Cherry and Almond cake the other day that Keshia really liked but I didn’t. It’s difficult gauging what customers will like too…like we loved the banana and chocolate chip cake that I made once, but it doesn’t sell as well as our others cakes. I want to try doing bakewell slices, orange and raspberry cakes, and red velvet cupcakes too. I never tend to follow recipes as such; I’ll look at them and be like I don’t really want to put this and that in it. But I’ll give them a try, and sometimes they work out and other times they don’t.
Are you doing anything special for Easter?
Hema: Yes we’re hoping to make cupcakes with little Easter nests on them. And a nice fruit tea loaf too, which is nice in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee. At Valentine’s we did heart-shaped shortbread, and shamrock shaped cookies for St Patrick’s Day too.
Where can we find Kesh’s Coffee Cup over the next few months and during the Summer?
Hema: From this week, we have a morning pitch for a trial period at Blythe Valley Business Park in Solihull (7:30am – 9:30am), and we also do a daily ‘afternoon tea’ round of local offices. As well as the office workers there, they have designated walking paths that the public can use and also often have school trips there too, so it’s been really nice to be given this opportunity.
Keshia: We’ve got a stall at Moseley Festival on Saturday 5th July that we’re really excited about. We’ve got a wedding booked and they want us to make cupcakes and coffee for it. And we’ve also got a birthday party and an event in a school coming up too. It’s nice to be involved in a variety of events and exploring avenues that we hadn’t originally thought about. We really want to push private events and parties, like for birthdays and baby showers, as well as trying to get a regular pitch at a local farmers market.
What are your plans for the future of Kesh’s Coffee Cup?
Keshia: Our immediate goal is to get a good regular pitch somewhere and build up our own little community around the business. Further down the line, we would love to have a couple of vans and it’d be so nice to expand in that way and have a little fleet of Kesh’s Coffee Cup’s!