How Coffi Dre all started, So around April 2021, I visited my father’s new café in Penrhyndeudraeth that was about to open it’s doors for the first time the following day. He asked if I wanted a coffee and told me to make one for myself, “you know how to use that machine don’t you?”. I hadn’t used an espresso machine for a long time. Close to 10 years, when I used to work at a well-known Ice cream shop in Porthmadog as a Barista. Whilst making myself a Cappuccino I realised how much fun I used to have working there and stated to wonder how I could go back to doing that job but without having it impact my finances. Being employed by a corporation for 8 years really does get you comfortable on that financial treadmill and makes it feel quite hard to get off without falling on your face.
A few days passed and all I could think about was how fun that single cappuccino was to make. It sounds so basic but that’s genuinely all I was thinking about. That’s when i had the idea! Why not open my own coffee shop in Caernarfon? I was buzzing with excitement. Over the next week I came up with the name “Coffi Dre”, created a logo and signed up to Pinterest. For those who don’t know me, this was quite out of character for me. I don’t have a creative bone in my body, but I felt that I needed to get this idea out of my head. The café was as clear as day in my head. I created a few mood boards on how the café would look, even down to the styling of the toilets!
Reality hit when I started to look for potential buildings in the Caernarfon area. Rent was expensive and I didn’t feel like any of the buildings that were on offer made any justice to the idea that I had in my head. I then thought I’d make it in to a portable venture. “How cool would it be to renovate an old Citroen HY Van?” that idea quickly took a turn when i saw the price of one was the equivalent to a deposit on a small house! “What about a horsebox?” I thought to myself. Off I went to the magical land of eBay where they were everywhere! Bingo. This was it, Coffi Dre would be a coffee trailer.
It was at this point I mentioned it to a couple of friends to see if the idea had any substance. Haydn a good friend of mine that had been running his own businesses for a few years and was also a skilled carpenter, thought it was a brilliant idea and he asked if I wanted to start a partnership with him to build the Idea in to an actual business. I thought brilliant! Someone that loved coffee, had experience with business and someone to share my ideas with. Shortly after another good friend of ours, Tom, replied and also thought it was a great idea. Tom being a radiographer at the local hospital didn’t have any experience in business but was willing to put in some savings and do the leg work. Turns out he had a lot more to bring to the table that any of us originally thought when it came to thinking outside the box for innovative ideas plus he loved coffee more than any of us!
We met up to talk the idea through and we all kept an eye out for a potential horsebox to convert. We found the perfect one in St Helens (or that’s what we thought). Squashed in Haydn’s van, we headed on the two-hour trip to St Helens. When we arrived, we were met by a couple that apparently “did horseboxes up for a living”. All I can say is that their painting skills were on par with a 5-year-old and their “restoration” abilities were non-existent. The trailer was a rust bucket on wheels, it had holes in the floor, every panel had some form of rust on it and it came with its own pile of manure inside! Needless to say, we left there trailer-less and a bit downhearted as we genuinely thought that it “was the one!”
A couple of weeks passed when I found a potential candidate located in Welshpool. This one was a newer style horsebox, a 2005 Ifor Williams HB505, not what we were originally looking for but the price was right, it had good heritage and we thought that it would be a good base for our coffee trailer. So off we went again in Haydns trusty van. We met the sellers in a Tesco carpark slap bang in the centre of Welshpool, the second we entered the car park, there she was.. being pulled by a 4×4 covered in mud. This was the genuine article. A couple came out to greet us in their Hunter wellies and Schoffel fleeces. We had a quick look around the trailer and thought it was an absolute steel for the price so we promptly paid them the asking price and took off home with the trailer in tow! We were ecstatic. Coffi Dre was real, the ball was rolling and it was actually happening!