The story behind that Boquete Coffee truck that’s always parked on North Davidson Street

Photos by Alex Cason

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Every good drug dealer knows the first one’s free — and coffee roaster David Haddock is no exception. Ask him for a cappuccino when you show up at his roastery, and he will make you one — complete with latte art and all — for no charge.

Of course, at this point you will not be able to tear yourself away from Boquete Mountain Coffee’s beans, which you have had before if you’ve been to any of these places: The Ballantyne Hotel, Crepe Cellar, 5Church, Le Macaron, or the Renaissance Hotels at SouthPark or the airport. You can even still get the beans that were created for Block and Grinder (RIP, our farm-to-table friends).

It’s a coffee tour of Charlotte inside of Boquete’s unassuming warehouse, nestled in a strip of industrial buildings along North Davidson Street. In fact, you’d never even know the space existed if it weren’t for the coffee truck that always sits parked out front.

You can find Boquete at 2113 N. Davidson St. Beans begin at $14.99 a pound.

Officially, while Boquete Mountain does have a retail operation, their main business comes from supplying area hotels, restaurants and bakeries. The little-known fact is that anyone can walk in off the street and buy a pound of their beans. In fact, if you want to drink the same coffee you had last night at Rooster’s, just ask for it.

If you want to just learn how to brew the perfect cup of coffee at home, this is the place you want to visit.

“We are open to the public, and we want people to come in to have the best experience with coffee that we can,” said Haddock, who is the director of coffee and a managing partner. “We will stop everything; we’re out there roasting and we’ll say, ‘All right just shut it down, we’ll come in here and we’re going to talk about coffee for a while.’”

The coffee truck billboard

So what’s the deal with that coffee truck, anyway? If you look inside the windows, you’ll see that it’s all burned out on the inside. It was the coffee truck with big dreams that now serves as a billboard.

“We started this whole business based on that coffee truck,” Haddock said.

It’s a long story, but the coffee truck went from being repossessed by Haddock in Saint Petersburg during a tropical storm, to hanging out on the Homeland set (Claire Danes frequently padded over to it in pajamas and slippers to order a drink called “Sex in a Cup,” which is cold brew, caramel and milk, Haddock said) to smoldering in the warehouse one morning after having an electrical circuit issue. The truck is down for the count, but it serves as a sign for the city to come on in and get some beans.

Pro tip: Just whatever you do, don’t ask for a “cup of joe.” In fact, Haddock said, “If you use the words ‘cup of joe’ or any euphemism for coffee, I’ll demand a retraction.”

Boquete Mountain is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s not the worst idea to call ahead; since retail is not their primary customer, they often take off early if all their work is done.

If you can’t make it during those hours (or you think you might accidentally let the words ‘cup of joe’ slip out), look for their coffee beans for sale at Pasta & Provisions on Providence, Royal Cafe and Creperie, or online.

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