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Three Shops, Three Wheels: Philly’s HubBub Trikes Take Cold Brew to the Streets

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The HubBub Coffee company served its first cup to the City of Brotherly Love through the window of a food truck back in 2009. Since then the company has gone brick-and-mortar three times over, with permanent locations in University City, Center City and the nearby suburb of Radnor.

Such proliferation generally signifies success, although one of the ironic challenges of brick and mortar is that from these fixed locations, with all the attention they require, it can actually be harder to continue spreading word around town of a shop’s existence and products. Therefore, this summer HubBub Coffee has returned to its asphalt roots with a fleet of two custom Philly-made cargo trikes loaded with kegs of cold-brew on tap.

On Sunday, July 12, in 90-degree heat, the first of their two three-wheelers made a celebratory maiden trek clear across the city, dispensing free samples, taking photos and posting about the adventure at #HubBubTrikeTrek on social media outlets.

HubBub Director of Production and Quality Control Sean Rosner was the wheelman for the inaugural ride. “It went really well. We were passing out free products, everyone was really enthusiastic about that,” Rosner told Daily Coffee News. “It was really hot that day, so everyone was very thankful.” Rosner said that it was not only a nice riding day and that everyone enjoyed the coffee, but it was also a great for ironing out logistical quirks of the three-wheeler service system, such as how and where to park.

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The tricycles are designed and built by Philadelphia’s own Haley Tricycles, a company that specializes in customized cargo trikes for various business or personal use. HubBub’s trikes are designed to carry two kegs apiece, plus a cooler for ice and another cooler to chill the coiled line through which coffee passes on its way to the tap. They received their first trike about two weeks ago, and the second trike is still receiving its finishing touches.

Originally a Stumptown account, HubBub now operates more independently and works closely with Philly’s ReAnimator Coffee for a custom house drip and cold brew blend. Reanimator roasts the HubBub blend in two different profiles for its dual applications of hot drip and 24-hour-steeped cold brew. Rosner told Daily Coffee News that the cold brew profile is “a little bit more developed, to bring out more sweetness.” The drip profile roast is packaged for retail, although the cold brew roast is currently only sold in beverage form — by the cup, or by the growler. As of last week, HubBub has also launched its cold-brew growler-fill program, selling 64-ounce branded glass growlers for in-house fill-ups as well as through a cold-brew growler delivery subscription service. Said Rosner, “We’re really excited about the opportunities there.”

HubBub’s trikes will pop up in different neighborhoods around Philly a couple times each month, primarily for promotional purposes, offering free samples to spread awareness of HubBub’s brick-and-mortar locations. “We have three shops in the city, but I feel like a lot of people are kind of unaware of us,” Rosner told Daily Coffee News. “We wanted to battle that a little bit by putting our name out in the community, meeting people, and putting our product out there.”

The trikes will also come into play for private events as well as weekly or monthly recurring spots, plans for which are still in development. The original HubBub truck is also undergoing a bit of refurbishment amid plans for a more concerted return to the road. “Now that we’ve got this mobile thing going, we want to have a resurgence of the truck, so it’ll be back in action at some point too.”

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