A former actor and coffee connoisseur from Tring has set up his own mobile business driven by his love of a cup of Joe.
Darren Queralt - who has toured with shows in London’s West End - bought an old French delivery van in January and, together with his dad Maurice, breathed new life into the rusty old shell. They kitted it out with a state-of-the-art coffee machine, and Joe’s Vintage Coffee Van was born.
The charming 1978 Citroen HY is now available to hire for anything from weddings and festivals to parties and corporate events.
Darren, in his early forties, describes his life-long love affair with the bean. He said: “I’ve always loved coffee since I was a little boy, and I’ve always wanted to share that.
“I worked as a barista when I was a struggling actor, but after that coffee and me somehow drifted apart.
“Then I saw the old van by the side of the road one day and it was love at first sight.”
It’s a left-hand drive model and reaches top speeds of 50mph. With only three gears, Darren says it’s a challenge to get it over the speed bumps on Tring’s high street.
Darren has been in Tring for 11 years and now lives in Longfield Road with wife Harriet and their two sons 11-year-old Joe - the van’s namesake - and Sam, nine.
The dad-of-two was keen to keep things local, so opted to use Amber Signs in Berkhamsted for the van’s signage, Miswell Lane-based Serendipity Indulgence for the homemade cakes and Smiths Coffee Co in Apsley for the coffee itself.
To get the right blend, Darren’s friends and family lent a hand by holding a tasting session which left them in no doubt that Smith’s Fairtrade offerings were the winners. But those not so keen on coffee shouldn’t fear, as Darren serves up speciality teas, too.
Satisfied customer Ian Manthey said: “It’s just so cool, I love it. It’s so great to see an independent business doing so well, rather than a Costa or a Starbucks.
“I travel a lot, and I drink a lot of coffee and I can tell you - this stuff is decent!”
To get regular updates on what Darren and his vintage van are up to, search ‘Joe’s Vintage Coffee Van’ on Facebook and follow @joescoffeevan on Twitter. For more, call Darren on 07989 940078