Two musicians and an aspiring baker pour their hearts and souls into a new coffee concept by the Walkway Over the Hudson.
There’s always room for more coffee. So why not launch a roastery on wheels? Enter Mercurial Coffee, a mobile coffeeshop stationed at the Walkway Over the Hudson (Highland side) seven days a week from April to November. Passersby can not only grab a cup of joe or an espresso before they hop on their bikes or head onto the bridge for a walk, but order beans to be roasted and picked up post-trek.
Longtime musicians Dean Mahoney and Harry D’Agostino have had a lot of bad coffee on the road. Nevertheless, when they did find a brew they liked, the often-unpredictable world of being a musician became a little bit better. When the pandemic hit and their performance schedule came to a halt, they went from “What do we do now?” to “How do you like your coffee?” in just a few months. “It seems many musicians become brewers of booze or coffee,” laughs Mahoney, quickly naming three he knew of. “We like mornings though,” adds D’Agostino, so coffee became the clear choice.
The business began as a one-pound roaster and a cart, but as it grew, they needed something larger. As a sort of jack-of-all-trades, Mahoney began retrofitting a trailer for the world of grounds and grinds. With the help of “YouTube University,” he outfitted the inside with the requisite equipment and ventilation fans. Despite the small space, he installed a roaster just big enough to roast 1.5 kilograms (2.5 pounds) of beans, but small enough to fit three people. And there’s plenty of style to go along with the roastery’s level of efficiency, too. Complete with their much-asked about mosaic featuring the company name on the outside of the trailer, and the tin-ceiling on the inside that draws attention as customers await their brew, to the plants hanging in their pick-up-and-order window or framing the truck in pots on the ground, Mercurial Coffee definitely has a vibe and a creative, earthy aesthetic.
The third member of the team is budding pastry chef Samantha D’Agostino. She and Harry got married in 2022. (And guess what? The truck became a part of the wedding celebration.) Samantha rounds out the team by baking Jewish and Italian treats like menenas and biscotti, which have become the perfect sweet bite to Mercurial’s coffee. “We want a visit to the truck to feel like a real experience; every detail is very deliberate from the music to the coffee specials to the crafted cookies,” she says. They grow as much as they can in their small home garden or in hanging pots at the trailer, like fresh mint and rosemary or lavender and rose, and add the herbs and florals to drinks and pastries to enhance the flavors in the coffee beans. “If we could grow the coffee, we would,” says Mahoney.
“We want a visit to the truck to feel like a real experience; every detail is very deliberate from the music to the coffee specials to the crafted cookies.”
Over the summer, they featured a Sicilian sunrise latte with orange zest paired with Amaretti cookies; and The Rosalina coffee with rose milk, paired with pistachio-rose semolina menena cookies. This fall, there will be plenty of warm and spicy accents to coffees and pastries, but make sure to line up for their house made chai, a spicy mocha with fresh-grated chilis, “fools gold,” a turmeric ginger latte topped with honey and cinnamon, and an espresso shot with Mahoney’s bourbon maple whipped cream. Regular favorites all year include the black sesame mocha and a mint espresso egg cream.
In addition to being available for events, they are a vendor at the Goshen Farmers Market on Fridays and are looking for pop-up opportunities during their winter break.
“I now know what it’s like to have fans and regulars,” says Harry, who is a member of Poughkeepsie-based band Upstate. “In one relationship, you are hopefully creating a night that becomes a memorable experience that lasts a lifetime,” he continues. And with the other relationship, as the team hands out their thoughtful creations on the Walkway, they become a part of the rhythm of their regulars’ everyday lives.