caffe velo verde: getting it right
From cycling to ‘Men in Sheds’, from coffee to marketing tips, we meet Paul and Jane Green, business owners, entrepreneurs, and all round fantastic hosts to discuss the ins and outs of life at Caffe Velo Verde.
Because they are from the cycling community and have opened a café aimed at this particular niche, all of their visitors have something in common, something to talk about.
A bit about Caffe Velo Verde….
CVV first opened their doors a little over a year ago and it has been a whirlwind ride ever since. Their passion for coffee, avid love of cycling and their knack for target marketing have proven a recipe for success with their business being rated number one on TripAdvisor for places to eat in Nottingham. Paul explained that because they are from the cycling community and have opened a café aimed at this particular niche, all of their visitors have something in common; something to talk about, this adds a very interesting dynamic to the vibe you experience when you enter Caffe Velo Verde, there is something a bit special about the place. As owner Jane described it “it’s a really good vibe, everyone’s happy, everyone talks to each other”, it’s not hard to see why Caffe Velo Verde has been so successful.
So what’s on offer?
It is very clear that quality is the aim of the game here, as Jane explains “the quality of what we serve is great, we struggle to get the same quality anywhere we go”. “People work hard all week to come and give me their money and their time and that is a big thing for me, if we’re not friendly and welcoming and don’t provide quality products, they aren’t going to come back” The menu at CVV as relatively small but packed with wonderful items such as the “legendary” bacon roll, award-winning sausage cobs and homemade soups, these guys cater to all dietary needs. Their cake selection is definitely something to behold, with non-gluten containing and vegan items, and their famous Granolajack bar which is heavenly, all of which are very reasonably priced.
Paul spoke enthusiastically about the runner and cyclists app called Strava, which connects athletes and enables them to track and analyseevery aspect of their performance. The app allowed them to monitor footfall in their area, Paul was also able to name some of the routes local to him in order to make cyclists aware of the location of the cafe. Whilst Caffe Velo Verde caters to a particular market, everyone is welcome here. If you’re not big on two-wheeled travel, you may well leave with a new found interest in cycling, the team’s passion is infectious.
What about the Coffee?
Caffe Velo Verde uses a pulped natural processed Brazilian Yellow Bourbon bean in all its coffees and it has proven a big hit with their customers. Paul spoke about the launch of their new coffee brand ’49’ which will available soon, 49 being Pauls racing number which appears on the racing jerseys which are also available to buy through pre-order. The ’49’ coffee range will see the guys selling retail bags of specialty coffee from different origins which will rotate throughout the year, they will also look at adding a rotating guest coffee to their house Brazilian to boost their coffee offering. The team are in the planning stages of their ‘Home Brew Courses’ where the aim is to educate customers on making consistently good coffee at home – this will coincide with the launch of their homebrew equipment range which will be available in store, there are lots of exciting things in the pipeline for these guys.
The fit out of this shop is predominantly upcycled materials from the barns opposite and furniture that was already there, the coffee shop cost an amazing £3.49 to kit out! Paul worked with a fantastic association called ‘Men n Sheds’ in the farm workshop where activities are held in community spaces for men to connect and utilize their skills, like carpentry for example, and take part in projects which help reduce loneliness and isolation. For more information on this amazing association visit Men in Sheds.
It’s safe to say that as well as being a destination for many cyclists across the country, Caffe Velo Verde is a social hub of the community, a little-hidden gem with the best atmosphere in a coffee shop environment I’ve seen in a long time, head down, grab a coffee and cake and show your support.
A few questions for Paul and Jane:
What did you do pre-coffee life? We owned and ran office supplies and office interiors business – no experience of hospitality just a passion for coffee (and cycling).
What do you consider your job to be now? Well it’s not quite what I expected and difficult to define but its elements of cleaner, barista, planner, strategist, host, odd job man, and cake taster all rolled into one!
What do you like about it? I love and really appreciate the instant appreciation for a job well done and a coffee well made. The social element and talking to so many different and interesting people each weekend.
What gave you the inspiration to start a coffee shop aimed at the cyclist/farm lifestyle? I never drank coffee at all until my mid 30’s, but from 2012 onwards got more into cycling and ‘proper’ coffee – always searching out independent coffee shops by preference. After selling my previous business wanted to mix coffee and cycling with a mobile business covering cycling and other events. I found our site by accident looking for a coffee shop on a cycle route. The building was empty and available with a huge help from the farmer so I took a 6-month option to put a toe in the water. Put simply I wanted to create a coffee shop I would like to cycle to with everything I would want.
Have you got plans for a second site? NO – Jane would kill me – but the mobile van still appeals.
How do you take your coffee? Coffee of choice out is flat white but at home drink more V60 filter and Aeropress. A little milk – no sugar. It’s surprisingly hard to get a really good well-made coffee in many coffee shops.
What coffee do you sell? Coffee Central introduced us to Ipanema Yellow Bourbon which is our main espresso. We have our own CVV branding profile of course.
What is next for you in terms of your coffee evolution/offering? We are introducing ‘49’ which will be a coffee aimed at the home user to make in V60 filter or cafetiere. We are going to run some evening courses ‘How to Make Consistently Good Coffee at Home’. We want to educate more people into accessible specialist quality coffee and this is a good way to do it. We will also introduce a V60 offering in the coffee shop. We are well down the track of launching a coffee subscription service for 2019 too which will tie in nicely.
What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you started your business? How physically hard it is for sure – but I’d also add how hard it is to make big profits, it’s not a license to print money.
What do you believe is the secret to the success of your business and great coffee shops and cafes in general? Without a doubt, I think it is having a definite plan and strategy from your menu to your marketing. That is something I brought over from 30 years of running award-winning businesses. But on a day to day basis it’s how you welcome and interact with your customers and have a definite offering that they want which can only come from knowing your target market.
Ensuring you have great support from trusted suppliers and cheerful staff who want to be there doing their job is often underestimated.