HUGO — Earlier this week, motorists were happy to find another option along their Highway 61 route to pick up some coffee and breakfast.
The Espresso Base and Treats trailer parked in front of the Blacksmith Lounge (17205 Forest Blvd. N., Hugo), where it plans to remain for 30 days. But, don't worry, it’s the proprietors’ hope to stick around longer.
St. Paul resident Deb Johnson purchased the trailer from Maple Island Brewery in Stillwater about a year ago along with her daughters Arianna Johnson and Karissa Johnson-Schmidt. Despite some delays in opening due to a faulty generator, the trailer is now up and running from 6:30 to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday.
Buying a trailer offered some immediate benefits. “We can go wherever we want to go and sell coffee, dessert drinks and pastries,” Deb Johnson said. The family can also bring the trailer to Florida for various events and art shows from November or December through April.
It is not uncommon for Johnson to drink 15 cups of coffee a day. Coffee has long been a passion for her family. “We would go to visit my great-great grandmother on White Earth Reservation and she would drink her coffee with chocolate syrup. I really enjoyed it and was drinking coffee at 12 years old,” she recalled. “All the women in our family have always had coffee.”
Six years ago, the family owned a coffee shop/thrift store in Somerset, Wisconsin, for a couple of years. Johnson’s dream is to one day own a “brick-and-mortar” coffee shop of her own, hopefully in this area along Highway 61.
“We are trying to bring convenience for our customers,” she said. “There is nothing on this side except for Kodiak Coffee in Forest Lake, and then there is nothing all the way until White Bear Lake.”
The Espresso Base serves coffee, of course, but patrons can order an espresso specialty drink: Americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, café breve and macchiato. Specialty frappé coffees are also on offer, including salted caramel, java chip and strawberry. There are even selections for the kids — cotton candy or a unicorn (topped with whipped cream, Nerds candy and rainbow sprinkles).
“We have more than just coffee. We have something for everyone,” Johnson explained. If something is not on the menu, she encourages customers to make a request.
In addition to coffee, cream-based or dairy-free smoothies (mango, wild berry, guava) and frozen lemonades (cherry, raspberry, strawberry and lemon lime) are available. The Espresso Base and Treats has hungry patrons covered, too: in addition to breakfast sandwiches, it also carries breakfast bowls, pancakes, pigs in a blanket, yogurt parfaits, cereal in a cup and fresh pastries.
If customers want their order to be ready to go when they pull up, they can either contact Johnson directly by calling/texting 651-226-7574 or messaging her on Facebook or Snapchat, with payment via PayPal.
The Espresso Base offers concessions at corporate events, art shows, outdoor events, weddings, graduation parties and catering. “We can do any kind of party you have going on,” she said.
After the 30-day permit expires, Johnson said they will try to find another location in the area to park the trailer before they head to Florida for the winter. If the family does secure a building space for a coffee shop, she said they will stick around and stop being snowbirds.
For more information about The Espresso Base and Treats, visit www.facebook.com/theespressobase.
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.