Have you ever seen a great product and thought about how you could improve it? So many people do, and then do nothing about it. Rod Murphy isn’t one of those people. This is a story of an idea, an inspiration, innovation and action.
In April 2017 Rod was in New Zealand for the World Masters Games. While he was walking back from the dawn service on Anzac day, Rod saw a canopy with a small coffee machine on it. He looked at it and saw that it was solar powered. Rod thought to himself “What a great idea!”.
Immediately Rod thought of his son Grant, who was developing his career in the hospitality industry. Rod thought that this would be an ideal business for his son to start up and get into.
But there were problems with the model that Rod saw on that Anzac Day. The coffee machine could only make 1 cup at a time and the battery only lasted 3 hours. Never being one to shy away from a challenge, Rod looked at it and thought to himself “I’m going to make one of these things”.
Already thinking about how to improve on the product, Rod wanted something bigger and better. Rod returned home to Australia and thought about how he would build a coffee cart that was more functional, innovative and practical. Seeing a model that he liked in Holand, Rod reached out – but was met with poor customer service with emails not being returned and generally making the whole process quite difficult.
So when faced with an obstacle, what did Rod do? He looked for alternatives and found a model that he liked in China. So off we went and sourced his first prototype. Rod bought the bike back to Australia and was then faced with the challenge of how to design his concept and manufacture it.
Having many decades of experience in metal manufacturing helped! Rod and his son wanted to enhance the concept significantly. They wanted to add a 32 litre fridge, hot and cold water, a twin coffee machine and a grinder all to run off the solar system.
Rod and Grant sourced a coffee machine to run off gas and electric. Their next challenge was to ensure that the solar system could get enough power to run all of their add-ons.
For further innovation, the model Rod saw in New Zealand had plastic containers for the water to feed the coffee machine and a plastic container for waste. Rod and Grant came up with their own own water tank, waste tank, sink, coffee machine and milk jug cleaner. All were self contained into the waste tank fitted to the unit.
“We’ve developed a drainage system to flush and empty into a plastic container or drain”, says Rod. “We’ve also installed a gauge to view water levels”. There is a canopy that folds down and gas struts lift the canopy up. In addition, Rod and Grant have made the wheels solid, fitted hydraulic disc brakes and an accelerator to make the battery power run straight away instead of waiting until it is a certain speed. They’ve even developed an esky!
Rod’s idea is to sell cold drinks, prepackaged cakes, chips, and perhaps install a slushy machine for kids. Essentially it would be like a coffee shop on 3 wheels all run on solar.
R&R Muphy design, manufacture, and create Cartya Coffee bicycle carts and already has 3 in production. Grant is already taking orders for Cartya Coffee to provide coffee, drinks and snacks at all sorts of events including weddings, festivals and private parties. And it’s not just B2C customers or one off events that are interested in Cartya Coffee. Pickles Auctions have already ordered Cartya Coffee to attend once per week for auctions and once per month for their triple auction.
Rod is already thinking of expansion. He is planning to build one of the carts to make a beer cart to rent out to functions. “Part of our diversification is to look at other industries and develop another company off the side of R&R Murphy to supply hospitality carts built exclusively by R&R Murphy” says Rod.
With this kind of innovative thinking, and Rod’s ability to design and build, the sky is the limit with Cartya Coffee.