A latte to love from Welcome Coffee Cart | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

Although I’ve freelanced for the Independent since 2016, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the office. When June Haupts offered to roll her mobile coffee installation, Welcome Coffee Cart, to the Independent offices so I could see her in action for our interview, I jumped at the chance. Under the shade of a jacaranda tree, Haupts brought her state-of-the-art La Marzocco espresso machine, a blend of beans she roasts herself, Mizuba matcha, lavender syrup made with flowers from her own yard, music, a beautiful bench, and perhaps the most important ingredient: buoyant community-feeding energy.

Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

“Being in the private events world means I get the unique privilege of being a fly on the wall for big moments in people’s lives,” Haupts said. “I love meeting all types of humans, from families celebrating at weddings, and students finishing up finals week, to hardworking people taking their coveted coffee breaks. Everyone is stoked to have the coffee cart, providing an alternative to alcohol, energizing the party, or bringing camaraderie to the workplace.”

Whether you’re a freelancer or just recovering from COVID isolation, Welcome Coffee Cart provides that perfect caffeine-infused watering hole to bond with colleagues. The coffee beans are meticulously sourced, the velvety foam and detailed latte art is on point, and the espresso is smooth and robust, but even if all of these aspects were at a different cart, I doubt it would be able to stir the same conviviality that Haupts’s genuine kindness and joie de vivre seem to inspire.

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and created jobs for myself. … I come from a family of farmers where honesty and work ethic has been something ingrained in me since I was young,” Haupts said about her childhood in rural Iowa. “As I grew up and started exploring different fields of study or careers, I knew I wanted to create something from the ground up with my own bare hands.”

Haupts’s love affair with coffee began while working on a yacht in the Mediterranean. The owner of a coffee shop in Croatia made her a Chemex pour-over and she was transfixed.

“I loved the ritual of it and how passionate he was about explaining where the coffee was sourced and farmed,” Haupts said. “This aligned with my intersecting interests, having come from a family of farmers. From that moment on I became the ‘barista on the boat,’ sourcing the best coffee wherever we sailed to.”

Haupts’s journey eventually landed her in Santa Barbara at Dune (The French Press at the time), where she became the educator for new hires and taught the public about where their beans were sourced. 

Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

A gregarious nature and entrepreneurial drive led Haupts to start Welcome Coffee Cart in 2016. She now pops up at weddings, corporate or celebrity productions, and at all kinds of companies, including locals like Procore and LinkedIn, and she also travels to L.A. and Napa for events. 

Haupts has also helped most major coffee-cart businesses across the country start their engines, thanks to her consulting.

“I get a lot out of talking to people with the same passions and helping out their honest businesses,” Haupts said. “I’ve also consulted at large tech companies and restaurants to build out their coffee programs, which has been a fun challenge.”

With a second cart she built last year, Haupts’s business is thriving, and she’s looking to build a team to have multiple events going at once.

“At the end of the day, my love of creating and building something positive and unique for other people has stuck with me over the years,” Haupts said.

As I finished the last drop of a luxurious lavender latte in the sun, hugged old co-workers and new friends goodbye, and as the staff headed back to their desks and I to my kitchen table, a buzz filled my body, not just from the caffeine, but also from that warm spirit of community that Welcome Coffee Cart cultivates so well. 

See welcomecoffeecart.com.

Author Rebecca Horrigan, right, with the Welcome Coffee Cart crew. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom


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