When New Zealand barista Stephen Baker met his German wife Mandana five years ago, the couple fell in love – not only with each other but also with Australia, including its relaxed surf lifestyle, inspiring them to make a life for themselves on our humble Surf Coast.
It was during their time here, embracing the opportunity to live a slower pace of life, that Stephen was motivated to explore his passion for coffee by opening his own vintage, coffee trailer, serving up specialty coffee on Victoria’s Surf Coast in a unique, mobile fashion.
“We noticed that there weren’t many coffee trailers out there who are doing proper specialty coffee, just like if you were to go into a decent Cafe in Melbourne. We really wanted to recreate the Melbourne Cafe vibe and have a product that is consistently great and mobile at the same time,” explains Stephen.
With fifteen years’ experience behind him, Stephen first learned how to make coffee at one of New Zealand’s first premier specialty coffee places in Christchurch called ‘C1 espresso’ and has continued to refine his skills with some of the most knowledgeable baristas across Australia and New Zealand.
With a bit of research and a dash of luck, the couple sourced their vintage caravan via Melbourne’s esteemed Spitfire Vintage Caravans, and soon enough spawned their own mobile coffee haven (complete with hints of wood grain and warm auburn lighting), becoming the Coast’s most wholesome purveyors of damn fine cups of coffee, parked along the Surfcoast Highway.
As the newest and perfectly named coffee stop to grace our region, Little Things Big Things is created on the conviction that we need, more than ever, locals who support locals. While meticulously providing locals and tourists alike with consistently smooth Ocean Grind Coffee (hand-roasted in Torquay), Stephen has endeavoured to source products from the local region, stocking organic vegan and gluten-free sweets from Manuko and The Graham Family Pantry, tea’s from Tea Thief and a range of Good Brew Kombucha, which uses Daylesford Spring Water, naturally fermented without artificial fizz or flavours.
“Our sweets, teas, and coffee are from Torquay or the immediate area, and everything else is still from Victoria where possible. We love the idea of creating something a bit more sustainable and supporting local business along the way – what goes around comes around, right?”
Even their unique, wooden surfboard menu is locally-sourced, created at the hands of a local couple.
While you’ll usually find the van parked on the highway Friday to Sunday, it’s also used as a backdrop to vintage-themed weddings and is a no-fuss catering option for local events that require caffeinated beverages, from gym openings and farmers markets to weddings and music festivals.
With lyrical inspiration from the 1991 Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song, ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, this local modest, coffee venture is a welcomed addition to our coastal town.
“This is our first little family business together and we are planning to grow eventually and want to support people from the community who also run a small business. It has been a long journey for us to get here, and we want to encourage others that it is always worth following your dreams. Only when you start something (little), something bigger can grow…”
If you’re interested in having Little Things Big Things at your event, contact them via social media (@ltbtspecialtycoffee) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Mandana Baker Photography