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“Nomad Coffee”: the dream of owning a mobile coffee bar.

A man and a woman are standing inside a coffee truck

When Daniela and Enrique met each other, they started dreaming of selling coffee out of a truck. Their route took the young couple from New Zealand to Chile.

Getting to know each other under a kiwi tree.

The brown fruits of the kiwi trees hang high. Enrique is supposed to pick them. It is his first job here in New Zealand where he has gone in search of something new in his life. Two hours have passed when his work is suddenly interrupted. Enrique hears voices behind him. He notices an accent that he recognizes immediately because he has the same accent when he speaks English. He is still absorbed in his work when he feels someone touch his shoulder. Immediately he turns around. “Hi, I am Daniela,” a young woman says to him in fluent Spanish. “And my name is Enrique,” he answers in return. Not feeling uncomfortable at all, a seemingly eternal moment passes in which both of them remain silent and then, full of curiosity, smile at each other.

A man and a woman on a beach

The two South Americans met in New Zealand.

Falling in love unexpectedly.

“Back then, we had left our homelands to have new experiences and get to know new places, possibilities, flavours and cultures. And of course, each of us had expected to be left to his or her own resources,” relates Daniela. But neither of them will be alone in New Zealand for very long. When the Argentinian and the Uruguayan get to know each other better day by day during their work as fruit pickers in the picturesque Bay of Plenty, they fall in love with each other. Their trip to self-discovery quickly turns into a happy-go-lucky love story. After work they often sit down together to talk. And, of course, one of the predominant subjects is the time after the adventure they experienced in New Zealand. How are they going to proceed?

A woman and a man are standing in front of a truck

Daniela and Enrique are happy that they took the plunge and moved to New Zealand.

An idea has been born.

A very special idea keeps coming up again and again. “From an early age, Daniela dreamt of having her own coffee bar one day. I, on the other hand, am very interested in large vehicles,” relates Enrique. The two put two and two together: Why not start a coffee shop on wheels and thus build a future together? When – after expiry of their residence permits – the young couple returns to South America, they decide to establish their future home on neutral territory once again. Daniela and Enrique want to settle down in Chile, more specifically, in Puerto Natales. “The mountains, the climate – all that bears a striking resemblance to New Zealand and we have now reached the point where we simply need these breathtaking landscapes,” says Daniela. In Puerto Natales, where they are surrounded by huge glaciers, mountain ranges and the deep-blue Pacific Ocean, they decide to go off in search of what is a major goal for them: a shared mobile coffee bar.

A truck that makes you shiver.

“We found it without having searched for it. I therefore think that it found us,” relates Enrique. After doing some research, they came across an old Mercedes-Benz LO 809 full of character that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. “We went to see it the next day. When the engine was started, a shiver ran down my spine, it was simply magical,” says Enrique with a sparkle in his eyes. While the couple were still sitting in the vehicle, they took a decision: They would definitely buy the truck. “But as we were unable to pay the entire transfer money right away, we made a hand-written contract with the then owner and in the next moment held the keys in our hands,” Daniela remembers. They called their project “Nomad Coffee”, the name being an indicator of the direction they wanted to take.

A green truck is parked in a field

The Nomad Coffee Truck was originally painted in green and used as a passenger bus.

It pays off to keep going.

Unfortunately, the conversion was anything but easy. “As we have little know-how, we decided to delegate a good part of the work to others. However, many people abused our trust and that cost us a lot of time, money and energy,” recounts Enrique. Nevertheless, the young couple decided to keep going. One year later, they had finally reached their goal. “This truck is exactly what we wanted. A major highlight is the space distribution in the interior with kitchen, bar and seating area. In other words, it is really an authentic coffee bar on four wheels,” says Daniela with great enthusiasm. They are planning to get started very soon. “During the off-season in Puerto Natales, we are planning to drive along the Chilean coast and offer our coffee specialities there. During the peak season, we want to be a reference point for all those travellers who are driving along the promenade of Puerto Natales,” says Enrique. Arm in arm with Daniela, he is standing in their shared coffee truck. And once again, a seemingly eternal moment passes in which they look at each other happily without saying anything.

The interior of a truck during its conversion

Notwithstanding all the difficulties, the conversion was a major success.

A woman is standing at the entrance of a truck

Daniela is now the proud owner of a coffee bar on wheels.

A green truck is parked on dry grass

Even before its conversion, the Mercedes-Benz LO 809 was a feast for the eyes.

A black truck passes a church

The Nomad Coffee truck is at home in Puerto Natales, Chile.

A black truck is standing at a bay

Being close to the sea is extremely important for Daniela and Enrique.

A black Mercedes-Benz LO 809 is parked at the roadside

The desire to have a mobile coffee bar became stronger and stronger.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Daniela D’Angelo & Enrique Duarte

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