It’s Your Business: Gourmet Coffee Truck Debuts

By Christine Des Garennes |

The beans are lightly roasted, chocolate syrups single-sourced, sweets locally made and the truck’s equipment powered by solar panels.

And the coffee’s hot.

Late last week the gourmet coffee truck Candide Roasteries debuted in Champaign-Urbana.

Owned and operated by recent University of Illinois graduate Seth Kelter, Candide (named after Voltaire’s book) has staked out a spot on Mathews Street by the University of Illinois Quad, near the Foreign Languages Building.

An English major who had friends studying computer science, Kelter said, “the joke was since I was a liberal arts major I’d end up working in a coffee shop after I graduated (in fall 2010).”

He loved coffee, roasted his own (in his Urbana garage), so, why not?

He shopped around a 40-page business plan and eventually received a Small Business Administration loan through Busey Bank.

Kelter serves up coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, pastries and baked goods from Sweet Indulgence Bakery and Great Harvest Bread Co.

Until he can buy his own commercial roaster, Kelter said he is buying beans from Hubbard & Cravens in Indianapolis.

“Their roasting style fits mine. It’s significantly lighter. … Many people are familiar with the classic Seattle-type roast, which is dark. But this is light-roasted, and that’s what I’m big into,” he said.

The chocolate syrups that will flavor some drinks are from Holy Kakow chocolatiers in Portland, Ore.

They’re single-sourced, meaning rather than combining beans from several different places, they’re from either Ghana or Ethiopia, Kelter said. They’re also vegan.

“We’re trying to be earthy-friendly and as low-impact as we can be,” he said.

The food truck’s solar panels hook into a 3,000-watt battery that powers the many appliances in the truck.

You can find Candide on Mathews from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and catering special events on other days. Kelter will be tweeting locations on Twitter, and you can follow him at @CandideCoffee. More information also is available at