Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Brewed Boy interview - He's back with a new New York Style coffee trolley

Brewed Boy is the second person I see every morning.

Or, more to the point, Brewed Boy is one of only 2 people who have the misfortune to see me before my morning coffee. Yes, the gods smiled upon me one day, and Rob of Brewed Boy set up his excellent coffee trolley just moments from my front door.

I first blogged about Brewed Boy's welcome arrival on the Soho street scene, back in March 2010. Since then, the cute little grey van has gone, and a larger New York style coffee trolley (making room for excellent chilli choc brownies) has taken its place. Rob's great coffee and ever friendly nature have won him legions of happy customers, and mentions in both Time Out (London's Best Coffee Carts) and The Independent (on British Street Food).

And just when he thought the accolades couldn't get any higher, now he's being interviewed on the Greedy Diva.

So, here it is folks - the interview you've all been waiting for. Greedy Diva and Brewed Boy go head to head on Rupert Street....

So, Brewed Boy, what inspired the move to make us your wondrous coffee brew?

I lived in Australia for a number of years and coffee is the only thing they take seriously. It became a big part of my life so when I came home I realised having a coffee cart was the only way I could guarantee getting a good brew.

Why Rupert Street - was it the red light, edgy vibe or the proximity to Prowler?

All of the above. Plus there is a place just round the corner where they attach electrodes to your nipples.

How did the snazzy New York style trolley cart come about?

I found a lock-up just around the corner and while my old van was cute it wasn't a great work space. Plus now I can take advantage of SoHo's many drinking dens after work.

What coffee and machine do you use?

Coffee is by Square Mile. They roast in Bethnal Green and they are at the top of their game. My machine is a Bezzera - one of Italy's oldest espresso machine brands. The logo is a snake eating a child. Not sure what that has to do with coffee.

What's the secret to the perfect brew?

It's never perfect. To be honest half the time I'm thinking "what the hell is it doing now!". All you can do is care, use the best beans and milk you can find, grind fresh for every cup and be reactive to the constant fluctuations that come with working outside. Piece of cake.

In the early days, there were some underhand high jinx from some local traders, desperately trying to curtail Brewed Boy's world domination. Have you found the local Soho community to be more supportive since then?

Those guys were definitely a minority. Trying to remove the competition with threats rather than the quality of their product says a lot about the way they approach their business. Meow! The sense of community has been one of the most surprising things about SoHo. Whether it is an invite to the local primary school play or the peep show girls kicking arse when I got robbed, there is definitely a sense of family.

Who's your most colourful Rupert Street customer?

There are a few but Billy springs to mind. He is a rather large homeless chap with an impressive beard who writes compulsively in binary. I give him a coffee most mornings but when he has cash he pays and often guards the cart when I dash to the loo.

How many coffees do you drink in a day?

Today I have had five. It is usually more. When my eye starts twitching I know I have had too much.

Is tea just for old ladies?

It's also good for people with twitchy eyes.

Will you be in your wellies and hat winter uniform again this year?

I'm already in a camo deer-stalker but the wellies will definitely be back. I love walking through SoHo looking like a farmer. It is very disturbing for the city folk.

What are your favourite places in Soho for food or drinking shenanigans?

I eat from the stalls on Rupert St most days. They are all good. But I love Polpetto. Great sharing food and lively vibe. I quite enjoy sinking a few breton ciders downstairs in the French House too. And I've been known to munch on a bagel or pastel de natas from the bread stall on Berwick St.

Where else can the astute Londoner find you when you're not lighting up Rupert Street?

I have recently joined a great street food collective called Eat St. We go all over with most of the destinations being announced via the eat.st blog or Twitter. The next one is in a rubblely carpark by the canal opposite the Towpath Cafe in Dalston.

Are there any other exciting events/changes/offerings in store from the Brewed Boy coffee cart this year?

I don't even know what is happening next week! But it will be exciting.

Oh! I'm about to put out the first edition of a short story magazine called Pitch 1202. It has free adverts in the back for the street traders and stories, drawings and articles from SoHo residents and workers. Including a nice one from Billy.

Most embarrassing/shocking/horrendous Brewed Boy moment?

I was having a bad day and had been getting some hassle from some of the local crackheads. I could feel someone hovering behind me so when they asked if I had any change I snapped. I spun around and said: "can you please just fuck off!". My eyes settled on a twenty pound note in the poor bloke's raised hand and I realised he was just checking whether I could split it. Service with a smile.

I swear, he's not normally that scary. In any case, the coffee's worth the risk...

Brewed Boy - you can catch him on Rupert Street, Soho, London - Monday-Friday. See Rob's blog at www.brewedboy.wordpress.com


  1. Do you think attaching electrodes to your nipples improves the taste of coffee yet further...

    Sounds like a man dedicated to the art of a good coffee. And he obviously knows his stuff. Now, can you convince him to pop his art round to Clerkenwell at lunchtimes?

  2. When will the Greedy Diva next be in Melbourne reviewing our coffee/cafes/restaurants?

    But we do thank you for your London reviews as they make us very 'home sick'.

  3. Hi Grubbie - Absolutely not. I hope he's staying put!

    Well hello there ZParker! - I'll be making a Melbourne trip in March and very much looking forward to a coffee crawl with you. x

  4. What a cute interview! He sounds very dedicated to his art which is just lovely :)

  5. You are so lucky to have him on your doorstep. Great interview GD - I have coffee envy!

  6. How can I convince BB that it's way cooler to be in East London, Soho is soooo last week! ;)

  7. Lorraine - BB's great.

    Gourmet Chick - Thanks GC. You'll have to stop by next time you're in the 'hood.

    Winesleuth - Don't even try it.

  8. Awesome - I would happily just read interviews of great cooks/ coffee brewers/ people who make the stuff all day long!

  9. TomEats - Thanks, yes me too!


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