Doctor Coffee’s Cafe

February 2013:

The last time I edited this page was apparently in early 2010. It is now utterly, ridiculously and embarrassingly out of date. So outdated is it, that I have decided to leave some of it up here, for posterity, and for the amusement of hindsight.

Doctor Coffee’s Cafe has actually happened. So has the Move To Canada. We packed a lot in to the last few years!

A few words of explanation. In 2009, I bought a little Ape van, and espresso machine, called it Doctor Coffee’s Cafe, and trundled about serving coffees out the backside of an ape on local markets and at various events. It was a lot of fun and I loved my Ape a great deal, but when my daughter Miranda was born, it just proved impractical to keep it going since I couldn’t take her with me when I went out in it.

So, I reluctantly sold it, and instead, leased a commercial unit in Darlington, and started my own cafe (with an actual roof!!) in the winter of 2010, with two friends who had their own ‘complementary’ projects that were supposed to operate within the confines of my cafe. It was called Afternoon Tease, but I then changed it back to Doctor Coffee’s Cafe when one friend left. There are many blog posts about all this!ย 

Then, despite my love for the cafe, my hatred of Darlington won out. A need to make a decent living, to provide for Miranda and to make sure she didn’t have to grow up in Dreary Darlo were also contributing factors, and I finally took the plunge and started job hunting in Canada seriously. I did manage to find something and begun the tedious process of work permit applications, which eventually took ten months. So long, complicated and stressful was the process that I devoted a whole other blog to it, over at But we got through it eventually! I would like to say I “sold” Doctor Coffee’s Cafe, but sold is the wrong word. More like, ‘forced to give it away’ to a very undeserving person, after a truly epic betrayal of trust and friendship.

But moving swiftly on, I am in Canada, but not in Vancouver, and I am still working in coffee, partially self employed but not in a coffee shop. Doctor Coffee’s Cafe will rise again in Canuck form someday, I’m sure, but for now I am very happy here, and I will leave you with my vague ramblings and original ideas from so many years ago…..


Original Page:

This page really ought to be subtitled “The Grand Canada Plan”

Carl and I have been planning on emigrating to Canada for years now, but somehow life always seems to get in the way. As I am finding out to my annoyance, the process can take three years, and the Canadian embassy in London is only open for three hours a day, and it is impossible to actually talk to a human about your application…. but that is a different story.

I would love to move to Vancouver, and open

This is my beloved cafe plan. ‘Doctor Coffee’s’ because of the PhD. Whereas I’m sure I don’t actually need a doctorate to run a cafe, my research is teaching me a hell of a lot about coffee, and I’d like to put it to good use!

I’ve been looking up coffee shops businesses for sale in Vancouver, and I cannot quite believe how far our money can go over there, as opposed to in the UK. And it’s not just cafe businesses, the more I read up on emigrating, the more it becomes obvious you can just get a much better quality of life outside Britain. But anyway….

Doctor Coffee’s is going to be a Latino cafe. Most coffee shops tend to be Italian, but coffee does not come from Italy. To remedy this, my coffee is going to be bought in direct from the producers in Latin America, and I shall sell it as Latino coffee, exactly what it says on the bag in fact.

I am also going to continue with Cyberllama, which was my online shop selling fair-traded jewellery, giftware and clothing direct from Peru. I’ve had to take a bit of a break from Cyberllama since starting the PhD, but we shall reinstate it and sell Cyberllama goodies in the cafe as well.

Overall, I want Doctor Coffees to offer the best coffee I can get hold of, and the best, authentic Latino food I can cook. Hopefully I can get as many fair trade ingredients as possible as well. It’s going to be a fun, funky and colourful place, and I can’t wait to get started!


Why wait until I’ve finished the PhD and moved to Canada? I don’t want to actually open a permanent cafe where I am now, but that is no reason to postpone the idea entirely, right?

One morning in Costa Rica I woke up voluntarily at 6am, thinking “I want a coffee van!”

After a little further research, I found these:

The Coffee Ape

The Coffee Ape

They are little Piaggio Ape vans, tiny little 50cc things, which can just about fit me driving it in the front, and a 2-group espresso machine in the back, along with a water tank and mini-generator to power it. I can then take it where I want and serve espresso on the go! Better still, you can drive them on motorbike licenses (I don’t have one of these either, but I’d MUCH prefer to learn to ride a bike than have yet more car lessons. Bel does not do cars.). I am more interested in getting the Ape’s big brother, the Ape TM, which does 40mph so I can I can actually go further than Darlington town centre in it, but worry not, they are still just as cute!

The more I think about this, the more plausible it sounds. It is not insurmountably expensive to set up. It is a good excuse to get my license. And, given I won’t have permanent premises to keep up, I can do it part time around university initially, and go full time when I am done. Hopefully it will also be a good basis for the bigger cafe in the future too. I am seriously going to try.

I made some very useful friends and contacts in Nicaragua and Costa Rica as part of the Spilling the Beans research, so I can get my coffee directly from the farmers in Central America, no middlemen, and complete traceability. So, Central American espressos, my own brand signature drinks (UBER-COFFEES return!), hot chocolate made with 75% cacao from Nicaragua – and my infamous cakes if there is room in the back of the van!!

Watch this space – t’will be coming sooooooon! [edit: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!]



11 responses to “Doctor Coffee’s Cafe

  1. Mikus Phillips

    July 2, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Wow great site! great ideas too. Will visit for food and coffee often, since I may be living in Canada too by then ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. drcoffee

    July 10, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Mike, if you get out to Canada before us, I will have to kill you.

  3. Caz

    January 24, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I would love to go out to Canada too, but fear I am too integrated in the system now…. I can just imagine building my own timber ranch out there, living amongst horses and other animals. I could supply the milk for your coffee from my cows and goats!

  4. Paula Jackson

    April 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Leaving Britain is definietely and always a good idea!!! Canada does indeed take years to get in, we had a friend who went and they started planning and doing forms, getting certificates checked etc and saving about 5 years before hand!!!!! Like the coffee shop and van idea, good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. LeriWarve

    May 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm

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  6. drcoffee

    May 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    hey all,
    I have decided that the above comment is going to stay, since it is so amusingly and unashamedly blatent. If you are gonna spam people’s blogs with irrelevant comments, at least be obvious about it.
    Still wouldn’t recommend clicking those links though.

  7. Tony Brown

    September 24, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚ I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

  8. Gia

    April 22, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Maybe you should combine coffee and swinging. There might be some nasty skin burns in indelicate places! Cracked me up…
    Leriwarve you are what we call in the US a hot mess!

  9. AB Hansen

    July 20, 2010 at 5:45 am

    Love the idea of Doctor Coffee, good luck.
    btw , I’m in Vancouver, and busy with tea. If you’d like to promote some of the best certified organic tea in the world, at the best possible prices, have a look at this for drinks and herbs that you have likely never heard of –

  10. peter

    November 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Hi there,

    Just wondering if someone could advise as to the difficulties that I have encountered in trying to obtain a Piaggio Ape Coffee Cart. Is there anyone who deals with them specifically online or abroad. The cheapest option appears to China at present. Any feedback would be appreciated?



    • drcoffee

      November 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      We were lucky, there was actually a dealership (called “protruck”) in Darlington who imported them from Italy, but they converted ours for us, and then went out of business!! Very sad. However, I know there are others: try Big Coffee in Hull: or Coffee Latino who I think are still up in Newcastle. Of the two I’d recommend Big Coffee, they were very friendly and helpful, and we were actually warned off Coffee Latino by friends in the industry.


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