Coffee shop on wheels: Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee Truck rolling through Shelby County
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
A mid-morning trip to the office break room for a caffeine fix isn’t unusual for many working people, but it sometimes involves settling for a lackluster cup of coffee.
The owners of a new coffee truck want to change that.
Shelby County residents Kevin and Karla Butler and their daughter, Taylor Spink, opened Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee of Hoover in June.
“It’s a coffee shop on wheels,” said Spink, who serves as the event coordinator for the business. “It’s just a big family affair.”
Although the coffee truck’s name mentions Hoover specifically, the truck serves Shelby County and other communities in the greater Birmingham area, Spink said. In addition, Travelin’ Tom’s commissary – a warehouse where they store supplies and park the truck when it’s not in use – is located in Alabaster.
“We go to places like events, festivals, offices, schools and farmers’ markets,” Spink said. “We serve hot and cold beverages, including lattes, cappuccinos, cold brews, nitro cold brew, frappes and nitro lemonade.”
A franchise out of Florence, Kentucky, Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee uses coffee beans from two different plantations in Nicaragua and Hawaii.
“Our beans are Travelin’ Tom’s patented beans,” Spink said. “Everything we brew is bean-to-cup. It’s fresh, and it’s really good.”
Travelin’ Tom’s espresso shots are ground from 12 ounces of beans, giving their coffee a kick.
“Our coffee is very strong,” Spink said. “If you want some caffeine, we have it for you.”
The truck also has a variety of flavors customers can choose from, and the family’s plans include adding a “flavor station” to the side of the truck for customers to utilize if they want to adjust the amount of flavoring in their drinks.
“The main thing we’re proud of is having our own coffee beans,” Kevin said, and added one of the truck’s best-selling drinks this summer has been the frappe, a frozen coffee drink.
Travelin’ Tom’s serves nitro lemonade, a caffeine-free drink made by pushing nitrogen bubbles through lemonade concentrate for a smooth taste.
The truck will soon serve peach lemonade and black tea formulated just for Travelin’ Tom’s.
Owning a coffee truck is not a foreign concept for Spink and her parents, who started operating a Kona Ice truck in 2009, when food trucks were just beginning to take off.
Kevin said they were chosen to operate one of the first 15 Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee trucks in the country.
Spink, whose husband Jack helps her with the business, said the coffee truck’s first 25 outings have gone well.
“Everybody has really loved it,” she said. “Everyone is on board. I haven’t really gotten any negative feedback.”
Travelin’ Tom’s offers corporate packages in which a company can pay for the truck to park outside of the building and serve its employees for a set amount of time.
Taylor said businesses or individuals also may gift coffee to a specific group, such as a hospital’s staff, teachers or first responders.
For more information and updates on Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee of Hoover, visit Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee of Hoover on Facebook or @travelintomscoffeebham on Instagram.
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