The sun rises over the Tempe campus shining bright on the Blue House Coffee cart. It’s 7:30 a.m. and Sam Beger and Nick DiPastena have already wheeled to work, or rather, wheeled their work—a self-made bicycle cart—to the corner of College Avenue and University Drive.
The boys are ready to begin another day of serving up coffee and tea to the regulars on their daily commute.
“It opens a lot of doors to talk to interesting people I wouldn’t have met before,” says DiPastena. “Blue House is a part of a morning routine that’s always really fun because it’s meeting a lot of people you’ve never met before, talking to a lot of people and getting to hear their stories. It just makes college seem like a much smaller place. “
Blue House started in April 2012 as an online retailer selling coffee based in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“It really wasn’t like we were selling that much. It was more of an experiment to see if I could create a brand and then I was going to stop doing it,” says DiPastena.
DiPastena’s interest for craft coffee grew after he received a roaster from his cousin and started learning how to roast.
He transferred to Arizona State University where he met Beger and the two began to brew up more ideas about the business end of Blue House.
The two made the famous coffee cart, set up a small business plan and started selling at the corner of University Drive and College Avenue.
“I definitely have learned that there is a lot more that goes into a business than an idea,” Beger says. “There are a lot of legal issues that come up. It’s a lot simpler in your head and there are stages you go through. The initial stage of excitement and then you almost go into pessimistic realization, ‘This is going to take a lot of work to do.’ We had to go through the city, county and state. There are a lot of government layers.”
Their dedication and hard work paid off. After setting up their cart in spring 2013, Blue House began offering their specialty, cold iced toddies, and now have expanded to selling hot coffee and teas.
The coffee’s trademark is its attention to detail. The coffee is picked from around the world including places such as Guatemala, Ethiopia and Costa Rica, ensuring there is a little something for everyone.
The cold-brew coffee comes from beans out of a roaster using nitrogen-pressurized kegs. No coffee is brewed out of machine and each cup is hand poured cup by cup.
Selling coffee out of a handmade cart, DiPastena and Beger have had their share of interesting experiences.
Beger recalls, “We did an event at the train park where we rode the cart from Tempe to the train park in Scottsdale. The cart flipped over. It was a fun trip but definitely a little stressful.”
DiPastena says, “We get weird looks all the time. We’ve been asked if we sell beer or snow cones.”
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