Imagine not having to sit in drive-thru lines for that next cup of coffee. Still imagining it?
Perfecto Coffee, a mobile coffee unit out of Perris, has come up with that very solution.
After 15 years in the Marine Corps, Bruce Long sustained a back injury that required back surgery twice before a neurosurgeon told him he should consider pursuing a new chapter in his life.
Long and his wife agreed, and Long was sent to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for a year where he had his third back surgery.
“I was able to utilize programs at the Wounded Warrior Battalion to go ahead and start kinda linking up the next process, the next chapter of my life,” Long said. “I did some studying, and coffee was something that I always was passionate about.”
Years before, Long put in a patent for a coffee kiosk machine, not knowing if he’d ever use it.
“Monday, Wednesday, Friday, as Marines we would work out and so I was pressed for time in the morning, so I would stop by 7/11 to get coffee but I could never get it consistent,” Long said.
“On Tuesday and Thursdays, when we did not work out, it allowed me a little bit more free time in the mornings,” Long said. “I would go by Starbucks, and I would endure the lines there, the drive-thru or go inside and so on and so forth.”
Long said that it took a long time to get a consistently good cup of coffee.
“There’s gotta be a better way to get consistency more quickly, and I want to have my coffee the same way I like it regardless whether I get my coffee on main street or I get it on south street,” he said.
Long said he did some research on a machine that could create that same consistency, every time. And he found a machine in Switzerland that could do it.
“I can take essentially the ingredients – the same ingredients they have in Starbucks – where it’s soy milk or whole milk, beans, whole beans and also syrups, real syrups that they use, the pump syrups,” Long said.
Long said he decided that people could be their own baristas and make their drinks by manually typing the ingredients into the machine.
“Who am I to tell somebody else what they like?” Long said. “I can adjust the temperature. I can adjust the bean that I want. I can put whole milk or soy milk. I can put an array of flavors in it from marshmallow to pumpkin spice to hazelnut, and I can set it.
“I hit save, and now every time I go to that machine, it’s a line of code. My recipe is a line of code, so it’s gonna do exactly what I want,” he said.
The mobile coffee unit can be brought to any business. Perfecto Coffee is currently displaying their product for customers, so they can go up to the machine and touch it, add what they want and hit send.
“Eventually that screen will become your phone, and that’s what we want,” Long said. “For you to have access from your phone to the machine.”
He said they’ve also done some community outreaches recently as well.
“I was a military policeman in the Marine Corps,” Long said. “And so, service is something that’s near and dear to me.
“Our policemen and hospitals, they go 24/7. For them to have something like our product, our services within their compound, within their facility, it would only make sense,” he said.
Perfecto Coffee could show up at the local gym; Long said they’re working on it.
“People go to the gym in the morning and that way they can grab their coffee after they finish their workout and then head to the workplace,” Long said.
He said he wondered what life would be like with less drive-thru traffic, if people didn’t have to wait so long to get their coffee.
“I came back from Japan and I would sit in these lines over here in the drive-thru, and it was one morning I was behind a Ram truck,” Long said. “This big exhaust was just coming in, and I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m gonna die sitting in this thing in the drive-thru line.’”
Long said he did some research and talked to Starbucks customers about why they go to Starbucks for their coffee, and he was surprised by the answer he received.
“When I spoke with 92% of the people they said that Starbucks quality isn’t great at all, that’s not why they come to Starbucks,” Long said. “They come to Starbucks because they know what they’re gonna get essentially, and that it’s close by.”
These same participants added that if they wanted quality coffee, they usually tried finding a smaller coffee shop with that aspect in mind.
Perfecto Coffee is all about quality, he said.
“I wanted to make sure that we had a quality cup of coffee, and that it’s made from real ingredients,” Long said. “That the customer really walks away saying that this is a great cup of coffee.”
Jessica Batres, a Redlands resident, was visiting the area when her sister introduced her to Perfecto Coffee.
“I ordered a mocha, and it was the perfect temperature to drink immediately and had great flavor,” Batres said. “The beans tasted like they had been roasted perfectly and not overdone.”
She said that she’d love to have their coffee if she lived closer.
“I highly recommend giving this place a try,” Batres said. “My initial reaction to their coffee was ‘Wow!’”
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.