It's been a while since my last post to my Locality Series. Nevertheless, I've managed to put this one together and today I'm introducing Stefan Carlberg, a charming Swede who runs a popular coffee truck called Caffè Mobile, located outside Angel tube station in London. If you're a local in the area, you will know of him or have seen him there. Stefan has been running his compact operation for the last 12 years and is a regular fixture outside the tube station.
After spending a morning with Stefan, and drinking more coffee than I should have, it was easy to see why he is so successful. He is passionate, sociable, and full of charm and chat. He hands out free coffees to the homeless on a daily basis. All his customers are greeted like friends and most impressively, he can say hello in 41 languages. How impressive is that?
If you are in the area, drop by, grab a coffee and say hello to Stefan. While you're at it, you can test his language skills and you never know, you might teach him how to say hello in a new language.
// How did you get into this business?
I came across the job at the coffee truck with the original owner, started working as his assistant and after a year I was running my own coffee truck. I didn't always work in the food and hospitality industry and at one time worked in an office.
// What were you doing prior to running the coffee truck?
I used to work grueling hours as a trader, a job which took me abroad to Japan. It was in Japan that I discovered the clubbing scene, quit my job as a trader and became a full-time club promoter. I did this for a few years before moving to Amsterdam to pursue the dream of creating an internet start-up. I invested all my money into this venture start-up but unfortunately lost it all. It wasn't meant to be. I then had aspirations to become a film writer and spent a year writing scripts. It was during this time that I realised I needed a social job where I could be around people on a daily basis, rather than sitting at home on my own everyday day and in front of the laptop.
// How long have you been doing this?
I've been here 12 years and all the locals know me. I work closely with the florist stand next door and we help each other out in terms of looking out for the other person's stall if we need a break. I treat my customers like my friends and over the years I have learnt to say hello in 41 languages.
// What types of coffee do you serve?
The coffee I serve is made from a blend of 3 beans from South America, Central America and Africa. You can order any type of coffee and there is also a small selection of pastries to choose from.
// What are your working hours like?
I work six days a week. During the week I have an early start of 5:00am so it means I go to bed as early as 9pm. I have to be set up and ready to start the morning rush hour trade by 6:15am. This means I can't go out the night before. What time I close shop will vary each day depending on how busy I am. I also work on Saturdays but I start later at around 8:30am.
// What is the best part of your job?
Working for myself and being surrounded by people every day, seeing old customers and meeting new people.