Coffee on the Hoof

Coffee on the hoof - Tilly and Sarah take to the open road

Visitors to Altrincham market on a Tuesday will certainly have noticed a pale green horse box parked on the corner of Greenwood Street and Shaw’s Road. Tilly the Trailer  - I call her a horse box but to horsey types she is a trailer apparently – was originally made in 1998 and had a working life in Cumbria.  After a refit by Dave Pearce of Northwich, Tilly has now embarked on a second career as a mobile tea and coffee van.

Tilly’s owner is Sarah Nield and, until earlier this year, Sarah was following the corporate lifestyle of a IT project manager. However, she too was ready for a second career. In June, Sarah realised a long cherished dream by setting up her business,  Coffee on the Hoof , and taking to the open road with Tilly, a stock of home baked cakes and some excellent coffee.

So Altrincham is no coffee connoisseur but even I could tell that Sarah’s coffee is delicious. So many of coffee purveyors who frankly are BIG enough to know better serve sour and flat tasting coffee but this is in a different league. Sarah buys her coffee from Has Bean Coffee , a coffee roaster and blender in Staffordshire. The blend that she uses is Direct Trade and  has the great name of JailBreak . Sarah bakes a delicious range of cakes and biscuits including ginger cake, lemon drizzle cake, parkin and flapjacks – highly recommended.

The most difficult part of the job, according to Sarah is manoeuvring Tilly. It is a key skill to be able to be able to manoeuvre and park the trailer as level as possible even on unlevel ground as the coffee machine and the sink need to be able to drain.  Sarah has a spirit level which she uses to check that the trailer is level. Any rakish angles can be rectified by winding a hitch. Whilst I am in the trailer with her, Sarah becomes anxious that we are at an angle and the spirit level is employed. Sarah goes to check that the hitch isn’t slipping, politely reassuring me that this is nothing to do with my presence at one end of the trailer. I remain unconvinced.

Sarah has an operating space of one square metre in the trailer but everything is so well planned that it possible for two people to work side by side. Sometimes a friend does help out as some events get extremely busy.

Sarah is based in Peover Superior with her two ponies and an event horse. Her new career allows her to indulge her passion for horses in the name of work as she takes Tilly across the country to equestrian events. Sarah is delighted that she will be taking Tilly to a Premier League dressage event at Somerford Park, near Congleton on the Spring Bank Holiday next year. She will also be going to various heritage fairs and artisan markets over the next few months.

Sarah and Tilly are also available for private functions. The pair are self-contained, having their own generator. Find out more about Coffee on the Hoof by visiting

  or follow on Twitter @tillythetrailer.

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