Students of Coffee Turn Their Passion into a Business

Espresso that comes from a bike. Need we say more?

By: Ben Brachfeld and Sara Merg

The first thing you need to know about Students of Coffee is that it isn’t run out of a shop. This student startup moves all over the city: bringing coffee to their customers on a bicycle — technically a trike — that’s equipped with an espresso machine and grinder. NYU Local spoke to the founders, Mia Jacobs (Gallatin ‘19), Arnold Byun (SPS ’18) and Carlos Santos (Stern ‘18), about how they turned their love of coffee into a business on wheels.

The bike came to students of coffee from their “first investor,” a man named “Tony, who’s very passionate about coffee,” said Santos. “He had commissioned the bike to be made, but didn’t have the time to run a full business with it. So he reached out to us asking if we’d like to take the bike and try something ourselves.”

The three students first met when they founded NYU’s Coffee Club, and now they bike around the city to cater events at NYU and businesses outside of the university.

“Our most recent clients have been Carnegie Hall, Air France, and KLM,” said Jacobs. “We also collaborate with the NYU Coffee Club for events [at school].”

The philosophy behind the Coffee Club is to “start a conversation and create a community around specialty coffee.” Jacobs, Byun, and Santos have carried this over into Students of Coffee. “[We] always had a desire to expand the Coffee Club and spread coffee education to include not just NYU students but involve the community of New York as well,” explained Santos.

Through this philosophy, the students want to create a specific culture around their business. An essential part of that comes with sourcing their products locally. They partner with Sey Coffee and Bushwick Tea, both based out of Brooklyn.

“We all aim to make coffee an enjoyable, friendly experience for people who come across our bike,” said Jacobs. “We’re all about community at Students of Coffee, and we hope to foster it through our events around the city.”

Perhaps the most important aspect of Students of Coffee is its founder’s genuine passion for the drink.

“Coffee, specifically, is a topic and food matter that all three of us are passionate about,” said Byun. “Without coffee, we all wouldn’t have met. Coffee is a ritual that many of us share and historically has been a driving factor in creating societies and building communities.”

If you’re interested in seeing the bike in action, Students of Coffee will be at Lightfoot Market in Chelsea from December 9 -10, and are also available for hire on their website.

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