BEANS BY BIKE
Casa Brasil Coffees delivers jolts of java directly to downtown residents withAustin’s newest bike delivery program
If you’ve ever dreamed of having your favorite coffee delivered directly to your doorstep, consider Casa Brasil Coffees your fairy java-mother.
Starting this week, the six-year-old coffee company is launching a new bike-based coffee delivery program for downtown businesses and residents. Customers can sign up to receive weekly or monthly shipments of Casa Brasil’s beans as well as growlers of iced coffee.
Until now, the five-person operation has only been a wholesale business, selling its beans and brews directly to local grocers, companies and restaurants, including Whole Foods Market, East Side Show Room and Franklin BBQ. The company has thrived on its mission of simplicity, streamlining the journey from coffee farm to consumer. To do this, owner Joel Shuler (who runs the company with his wife, Lisi) travels to Brazil two to three times a year, working directly with the farmers who grow the Arabica beans (considered the best among coffee connoisseurs). Once they’re milled, the beans are then shipped back to Austin, where the rest of Casa Brasil’s team roasts, packages and delivers them.
Keeping in line with this "few-steps-as-possible" process, bike delivery was the company’s next logical move, Shuler says. “The bike delivery…gives Austinites the chance to have some of the best coffees in the world delivered directly to their door,” he says. “Between the bike delivery and direct trade, we are able to minimize our carbon footprint while offering unique, directly-sourced coffees.”
Trade the wings for tattoo sleeves and the magic wand for a Surly Cross Check street bike, and Matt Johnson, 27, is the closest thing to a coffee fairy there is. As Casa Brasil’s one and only coffee courier, Johnson will make bike deliveries on Mondays and Tuesdays, pulling a trunk-size, coffee-filled trailer made of aluminum and fiberglass that took him and his dad six sweltering summer days to build from scratch. Despite the trailer’s sturdy construction, Johnson says navigating Austin’s narrow streets with the heavy load is, in a word, “tough.” Still, in his first week, Johnson was eager to power up his pedals for his first official deliveries—to Wheatsville Co-op and Clown Dog Bikes.
In addition to its multiple wholesale clients, the company plans to target residential customers within the delivery zone, which extends east to west from Chicon Street to Mopac and north to south from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to the river.
Eventually, Johnson says, the goal is to grow this one-man mission into a fleet of bean-toting bikers and expand the delivery zone to include all of Austin. He doesn’t even mind if other companies pick up the practice.
“We wanted to pioneer something new here, and hopefully other people will do it, too,” he says. “It would be awesome if downtown was full of people delivering coffee. The more people out there delivering stuff on bikes, the less gas is used. It’s better for everybody.”
Prices start at $15 for an initial growler and $16 per pound of coffee. For more information and to purchase a coffee subscription, visit casabrasilcoffees.com. Or, sign up for a subscription in person at Casa Brasil’s official bike delivery launch party. The shindig kicks off at 9 p.m. this Friday at The Volstead, featuring live music, raffles and plenty of—what else—coffee.
You can also catch Casa Brasil Coffees at the HOPE farmers market every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at select bike shops such as Clown Dog Bikes.
Casa Brasil Coffees , 512-407-9887, www.casabrasilcoffees.com