If you have ever tried to take your life’s passions and mold them into a small business, you know it can be daunting. The learning curve is steep, getting seed money can be tricky, and the landscape of your field is often competitive with people who got there before you. Laura Bertelson, based in Cordele, GA, decided she would take a swing at molding her interests into a way to earn a living. This spring she opened the rolling cafe known as “The Cozy Camper” and Café Campesino is thrilled to be a part of it. Check out the interview below to find out more about her budding business.
Café Campesino: Where did the idea of using your sweet camper as a cafe come from?
Laura Bertelson: The main reason I chose to invest in a mobile coffee trailer instead of a brick and mortar is the ability to travel. I am not tied down to one city, I have the ability to go to the people. There were many other factors in the decision including being in the midst of a pandemic and the cost it would take to have a brick and mortar. Being a recent college graduate and only 23 years old, I did not have a ton of funds to pour into my dream. I saw my camper on Facebook marketplace and while I knew it was a fixer upper I had a vision to “love people & drink coffee”.
CC: Do you have a “go-to” spot in Cordele where you set up the camper?
LB: 1305 E 16th Ave., Cordele, GA is my semi-permanent location. This is where I sit when I am not at an event or exploring new towns. This location has given me the opportunity to bring high-quality coffee to Cordele, which growing up I did not have.
CC: Where are some other places where you take the camper to sell coffee?
LB: My 1964 Shasta did a lot of traveling before it was passed down. The previous owner collected stickers of everywhere they traveled and kept them on the front window. It think it’s kind of a coincidence that it had never traveled to GA but now it lives here. With that being said, I plan on continuing that tradition. So far I have taken my camper to vintage car shows, weddings, birthday parties, and baby showers. During the fall we have many trips planned to north GA for festivals and parades.
CC: How did you come to be a fair trade specialty coffee enthusiast?
LB: I have always had a passion for coffee and that continued to grow as I traveled to Africa for mission trips. I got to explore coffee farms and talk to farmers. In 2019 I took a jump of faith and attended Texas coffee school in Arlington, Texas. During the “Coffeeperneur” course I learned the business aspect of running a coffee shop and became a certified barista.
CC: What is your favorite coffee origin? And your favorite coffee drink?
LB: I have traveled several places along the “coffee belt” and have to say Ethiopia is my favorite coffee. I got to witness the whole process and roasted my own beans in order to drink coffee there, although their traditions of drinking coffee are a bit different than ours. They drink espresso and call American coffee “bean water”. When in America, my go to drink is a white chocolate latte. However, one of my favorite things to do is allow the barista to make me a surprise drink.
CC: How did you come to partner up with us at Cafe Campesino?
LB: Café Campesino was my go to coffee shop when I was living in Cordele. I did explore other roasters during the planning process of Cozy Camper Coffee, but Café Campesino has the best quality. Plus locally-roasted coffee has been very popular.
If you are in Cordele stop at The Cozy Camper and grab one of their excellent drinks. And if you are not, be on the lookout for the camper this fall– you just may find it set up and cranking out delicious caffeinated beverages at a festival or wedding near you.