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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on December 31st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 43

Spotlight on: Coffee a la Cart

Pam Rowan, owner


Santa Maria resident Pam Rowan serves up steaming cups of coffee, smoothies, and more from her mobile business, Coffee a la Cart.

After playing a long game of soccer in the mid-day sun, most kids are in the mood for a treat. Well, if Pam Rowan’s mobile coffee shop, Coffee a la Cart, is nearby, they’re in luck. And if they know the “secret menu,” they’re in for something extra special.

In a recent interview with the Sun, Rowan said she makes smoothies for the kids using flavored powders.

“Cotton candy is popular, and cake batter. I also have root beer float,” she said. “We did cheesecake once, too.”

She does traditional fruit smoothies as well, and then there are the more adult beverages one would expect to find at a local coffee shop: cappuccinos, lattes, Caffé Americanos, various teas, and more. She also serves bagels and other pastries, which she picks up fresh at Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo.

“We use all high-end items; our baked goods and coffee, and I have Italian syrups,” Rowan said. “It’s comparable to, if not better than, Starbucks—and we come to you.”

She said her most popular coffee-based beverages are “my Chais, and then we have something called Magic Mocha, which is white and dark chocolate mixed together.”

The mother of five has been selling happiness in a cup from her custom-made trailer for about three years now. She started in the coffee business about 13 years ago serving drinks from the kitchen of her parish, First Christian Church of Santa Maria.

“I knew I wanted something mobile, to take it out to the public,” Rowan said. “It took a couple of years to pull together, but we get a lot of positive feedback. There’s nothing around like it.”

At her website,, Rowan keeps a calendar of her mobile schedule. From about 7 to 10 a.m., she makes the rounds at several local schools and businesses, including Alice Shaw Elementary School, Valley Christian Academy, C&D Zodiac, Smith Electric, Hardy Diagnostics, and Atlas Copco Mafi-Trench.This year, she started serving drinks at Santa Maria and Righetti high schools’ football games on Friday nights.

“And it was crazy—a line to the fence every night,” said Rowan, who manages the cart with help from her five children and an occasional friend. “We can plough out hundreds of drinks in an hour.”

For those who aren’t big football fans or can’t make it to one of the aforementioned locations, Rowan also delivers.

“People pre-order their drinks [via the website], we make them and then we take them into people and they pay at their desks,” she said.

The cart is popular for special events, too, including weddings and company parties. Last month, Rowan served coffee at Central Coast Distributing’s Christmas party.

“It’s just a really great addition to any wedding or party,” she said. “Some people don’t drink [alcohol], so having coffee is a great option.”

When she’s not working a wedding, Rowan can still be found on Sundays serving coffee at First Christian Church from about 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. as a form of ministry.

The mobile business, she said, was “just moving what I had for so many years out into the community.”

“It’s a homegrown business,” she said. “We love what we do, so that’s kind of what it’s all about.”

For more information about Coffee a la Cart, including a menu and schedule, visit or contact Rowan at or 598-9128. m


Managing Editor Amy Asman wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.

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