This month we meet barista, Christian Pitocco, The Devon Coffee Traveller; a business born out of the Coronavirus pandemic. Local folks will know Christian as a talented, charismatic solo artist and the headline singer of Mafia 4, but with the lockdown, Christian saw his thriving trade disappear overnight.
Although he is back entertaining us, things will not be quite as they were for some time yet.
Hi Christian, can you tell us about you and your journey to date?
The journey has been nothing short of bonkers. I’ve been a professional musician for over 20 years now, and in the last 7 or so years my passion for coffee has become more of a profession than a hobby.
How was lockdown for you?
Lockdown has been tough for me (as it has for everyone). To see my profession and business disappear in the blink of an eye was soul destroying. However, as a father of 2 young children the time we have had as a family is something we will never forget.
That was certainly an upside to the pandemic!
Why and when did The Devon Coffee Traveller came about?
The Devon Coffee Traveller came about from a Facebook post I published because I knew that live music wasn’t coming back anytime soon. Plus, if a second wave hit, we would be in a lot of trouble.
Coffee is my second passion, so I tried to think of a way to make my hobby into a business. I basically asked if someone had a coffee van I could borrow while I wasn’t gigging.
I was lucky enough to find ‘Trixie’ up in Hereford. She’s a 1956 Citroen HY van that was already converted… The Devon Coffee Traveller was born!
How fortunate am I? I get to make money from my two passions, so I never feel like I am overworked – despite the gruelling hours. Plus, I get to interact with people and entertain them!
How long have you been impressing us with your coffee skills?
I’ve been a barista now for about 6 years. I started at the Boathouse in Preston, and with the help of Voyager Coffee barista training courses, my passion evolved, and I am now a barista trainer. I’ve been fortunate to train at local restaurants; Hamilton’s, Below Decks, Pier Point, and Dartmouth Eats, to name a few.
Can you tell us about your personal style and how it’s evolved?
I approach my work at The Devon Coffee Traveller like I do being the front man of the band! Serving the best coffee in the Bay with a smile and banter.
Even though I’m just a small mobile coffee van, I take pride in knowing my customers leave with smiles on their faces.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from everywhere, but my family are my biggest inspiration. We all have a love of decent food, especially Italian food (my dad owned an Italian restaurant for years), and the whole family like to cook.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about everything!
Whether it’s singing a song or making a swan in a cup of coffee… if you don’t give 100% in all you do, then I feel you are cheating the people who are coming to see you!
What are your favourite ingredients? And are there any products or suppliers you would like to shine a light on?
My wife Charlotte… the work she has also put into the business is just amazing! Juggling two kids under 5 and still finding time to bake pastries and cakes for the business is incredible. I couldn’t do this without her.
Locally, I have to say Ash Hamilton from the Curious Kitchen – one of my favourite places for brunch. The menu is just awesome; locally sourced food which tastes amazing! And the coffee isn’t bad either. We sell Ash’s donuts at The Devon Coffee Traveller.
Where and when can we find you?
You can find me at Wall Park Touring and Centry Road Camping in Brixham, Devon. Open from 8am till 1pm, 7 days a week. And yes, we are open to the public.
How can we as a community support you as a local business?
Social media is such a powerful tool for small independent businesses, so please head to The Devon Coffee Traveller on Facebook and Instagram (@devon_coffee_traveller), like and share our pages, share photos, and leave your reviews.
Also, come up and see me, grab a coffee, and eat your body weight in sausage rolls and cakes!
The support I’ve been shown so far has been nothing short of mind blowing. I can’t thank everyone enough; It’s been truly humbling. For that, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.