Trinity Commemoration Ball
The setting: Outdoor event, 2000 guests (est), Main entrance to the college with other vendors such as the champagne tent and shisha lounge
We provided: Unlimited Coffee, Tea and Hot chocolate to accompany their other vendors/ attractions for the evening
This is the biggest event we have tackled to date and was the best chance to really push the coffee bike to its absolute limits and see what its capable of… we certainly achieved this across the night
We’d been watching the set-up for this event over the week prior through the gates, to set the scene it was more like a festival than college ball, this was some of the extracts from the website:
Trinity’s past Commemoration Balls have hosted acts including Coldplay, The Streets, Jools Holland and The Sugababes, and ours promises to follow this legacy. we will welcome guests to Trinity’s beautiful grounds to enjoy the college as it has never been seen before. The famous lawns and quads will be transformed to play host to an evening sure to take its place in the college’s history.
As one of the original hosts of a triennial Commemoration Ball, Trinity has a long and distinguished history of hosting one of Oxford’s most prestigious events.
The main stage, in the impressive 1,600-capacity DuoSpan tent, will play host to the stage for the biggest acts of the ball and later in the night, where you can find the silent disco
Clean Bandit played the event, so here’s a little music whilst you read
I’ve lived in Oxford as a posed to studied so i always find it a privilege to enter college grounds and they are truly beautiful. Entering the Main gate of the ball it was awinspring i have to say
We set up in a mini gazebo provided by the college lined with fairy lights which had previously had the champagne reception in. We had borrowed a larger coffee grinder for this event as learning from the Kellogg Ball our small grinder would struggle but on set-up we couldn’t manage to find the right grind setting, it either was too fine and clogged it up to a standstill or ended up far to coarse so we abandoned it and crossed our fingers our little one would hold out again. We also brought speakers to this event to see how it would go down.
From here on in, we hit the ground running. We started at 11pm serving up our coffee, tea and hot chocolate and the queue just kept on building and didn’t stop. It was great fun, pumping out feel good indie tunes with our coffee going down really well with guests, one customer was so surprised with just how good it was, she came back for 3 more flat whites with another commending us on the heart-shaped latte art.
Coffee is one of those things that does take time, 25-30 seconds for the espresso, prepping hot water or steaming milk too. Our original model is to serve customers in between 30-60 seconds which we nailed, but due to such a large volume of people we could have done with another bike just to deal with the demand. At a rough guess we where coping with serving roughly 150 people an hour with only myself and colleague Harry.
2 Hour Mark (1am)
The queue got to 60 people long, This is why we didn’t get a chance to take some photo’s of the bike but the wait didn’t seem to fuss people with guests dancing/singing along in there black tie’s and colourful dress’s and most took to pulling up chairs, it was an awesome vibe and to the elder lady who said “so how was it in charm school? because you guys clearly went” we love you.
3 Hour Mark (2am)
We’d hit the 500 mark easily by this point, our grinder was beginning to over heat and is the main issue slowing us down but it held strong, Our water pressure began to play up but again held strong. Our bike was trashed with sugar, stirrer’s and alcohol cups at all angles so we took some time to clean up and all bar tents had run out of bottled water so we provided water via our tap, at this point we busted out the chocolate sticks which vanished in under 10 minutes flat, there that dam good.
4 Hour Mark (3am)
Our high pressure pump, which feeds water into the group heads of our coffee machine was the first piece of equipment to cave under the pressure of the demand, we won’t know till tomorrow what caused the problem officially. Normally coffee machines push water through the coffee at 9bar pressure. Ours jumped to 16bar but was stable. This requires takeing the machine apart to fix, and with all the internal components red-hot due to running on gas for the evening this wasn’t an option. We had a decision to make, we could close and disapoint the huge queue, or keep going and take the hit to our coffee quality, as most where a little tidily or just very cold and fancied some form of caffination, we marched on with determination and kept the coffee/tea/hot chocolate coming.
5 Hour Mark (4am)
Our high pressure pump went off the gauge and the thud from our three-way valve was enough to finish our machine for the night, we stopped serving at 4 after reaching 800-900 (almost half the guests who attended)
we didn’t stop there, we came up with a plan B, the college brought out the nescafe and hot water and we carried on still for another 30 minutes, ok so it’s no speciality cup but at 4am its like a cup of heaven to a sobering up guest. We served until this ran out too, by this point it was light outside and most where heading home.
We relaxed, ate our now cold pulled pork sandwich which the staff had kindly given us and packed up too.
One hell of a night, and if you’d ask me to do it all over again, it’d be a whole-hearted yes. Good people, Good music and just Good fun.