An article in teh deal despatch, image shows Emma in her coffee van

The Deal Desptach!

We got featured in the Deal Desptach quarterly magazine about our home town, Deal.

Grab a copy from most local cafes, grab a coffee and check out page 27. Deal Desptach is a free, independent print magazine for discovering modern-day Deal. It has some great articles. We also have a bundle at our market stall.

Read our original interview below for the Deal Despatch:

Why did you start your business in Deal?

It’s all down to George Clarke’s Small Spaces. Back in 2012 I got hooked on an episode about converting an old caravan into a travelling café. I watched and rewatched it, and decided I wanted to do that too. I found a lovely 1969 Sprite caravan for sale in Shropshire and though I had never towed anything before, I managed to get it back to Deal in one piece.

Deal is my home town, a wonderful place which just gets better and better. I grew up loving a good night out in the Kings Head, Walmer Castle, Swans and my beloved Black Horse. But pre-internet Deal was a backwater; often fights in the pubs and a permanent police presence down the high street on a Saturday night. By the time I got to 18 I couldn’t wait to leave.

A few years later I was living in Sydney, Australia. A place which was way ahead of the UK in coffee terms. You could enjoy a delicious flat white on practically every street corner. When it was time to come home we wanted to bring the Australian Flat White back with us to the UK.

Why did you decide to roast your own beans?

While we were converting the caravan I started to look for coffee bean suppliers. I soon realised that to guarantee fresh coffee it’s best to roast your own beans. I had dabbled in the past roasting coffee beans in a frying pan (it can be done) so I knew the tasty benefits of fresh beans. I hired a 1kg Toper roaster and upped my skills.

Breakthrough at Deal Town Market

In October 2013 I started trading at Deal Town Saturday market. At first I was only allowed to sell packets of coffee beans as there was already a guy there called Jeff who served breakfasts, teas and cups of Nescafe.

Eventually in the spring of 2014 I convinced Andrew, the Market Manager at the time, that Real Deal Roasters coffee was not remotely comparable to instant coffee and we would not be in competition with Jeff. I christened my coffee caravan “The Moveable Feast”, and began selling cups of my own freshly roasted coffee (I was under strict instructions never to sell a cup of tea).

I had three tables and six chairs and I began to attract a few regulars who loved my freshly roasted coffee. Eat and Mess arrived in the stall next to me and after Jeff retired, Eat and Mess and my coffee caravan created a wonderful little enclave where customers could enjoy a real coffee (and now tea) and a cake in the Saturday morning market.

Has Deal Saturday Market changed?

Definitely. Over time we’ve had new market managers, weird trading restrictions (during Covid), high tempers and almost every stall has been moved around. A lot of stalls sadly disappeared during lockdown and nowadays there are more permanent traders and fewer casuals. The customers have also changed. I think many people realised how great Deal is during the pandemic, and WFH has allowed more people to move here so the market is now much busier (DFLs we love you!). It would be great to expand the market and get more of the causal traders back. I also swapped my dear old Sprite caravan for a quirky pre-converted Suzuki Carry and said goodbye to the “The Moveable Feast”. We bought a new dual fuel lever 2 group coffee machine for the new van and we love it. As well as making great coffee it uses very little energy, consequently no noisy, smelly generator for us.

What do you enjoy most at Deal Market?

We have a few regular posses who gather every Saturday morning at our stall and they create a  great vibe. Many have a coffee with me then slink over to Pascal and Cath’s Authentique Wine stall for something stronger. There are many characters and some even have coffees named after them.

After trading for over 10 years we still really enjoy our Saturdays at Deal Market. We now have different regular stalls near us and have made new friends at our end of the market. A new market manager will be joining soon so no doubt that will bring fresh changes, hopefully a few more stalls, maybe some vegan food stalls which are so popular at our other regular farmers’ market in Cliftonville, Margate.

It’s great that we have so many of the old characters still at the market: Phil the Butcher, Max the flower and egg man, Richard the bread guy, saucy Petra and Brian with his quirky bric-a-brac. It is also great to see an abundance of retro clothing stalls in the market, helping the planet and giving the market a cool feel.

What’s your USP?

It’s in our name. Here at Real Deal Roasters we roast the coffee ourselves so we guarantee it’s fresh. We do it here in Deal and we keep it real i.e. we offer great coffee at an affordable price with none of the pretentious nonsense you sometimes get with coffee. Being local we can give it that personal touch. Our commercial customers know that we are only minutes away and we can always help out in a coffee emergency (and there have been many). We try to extend this good service to our customers at the market. We hope that when somebody steps up to our van it feels like entering a cosy sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the market. We do drinks at a good price, whether to take away in a compostable cup, or to sit down and enjoy “people watching” while sipping from a real ceramic mug. We use organic milk and offer a range of non-dairy “milks” at no extra charge. We also do the best Anzac biscuits outside Australia!

We are currently creating our own range of ceramic cups, for flat whites and espressos. These will shortly be available to use at the market and to buy.

The perfect flat white

Over time we realised that sometimes customers weren’t sure what a Flat White actually is. Some places call a black coffee with frothy milk a flat white when really it is quite the opposite. A true flat white is a strong intense drink made with a double espresso black coffee and the same amount of microfoam (steamed milk with small, fine bubbles and a glossy, velvety consistency).


This is my creation! It is a drink of thirds; one-third coffee, one-third hot water and the final third steamed milk. This is how I instinctively serve coffee for my friends and is unique to Real Deal Roasters so we call it an RDR or a la-de-da. Everyone likes asking for one, who doesn’t like saying la-de-da?

A cup of coffee

Another of our specialities is an espresso topped up with hot water topped with steamed milk or as we like to call it; a “Cup of Coffee”. We do roll our eyes at some of the pretentiousness around coffee, we believe people should order exactly what they want and believe me there are some interesting requests!

Our Freshly Roasted Beans and Ground Coffee

We roast a large range of raw coffee beans every week and have coffees to suit all budgets. We have fair trade coffee, organic coffee, single estate coffee and many of our own blends. We encourage customers at Deal Market to ask for our tasting notes so they can record which coffees they like; it is like discovering new places without the travel.

We supply our coffee retail; at the market and online ( or if you are ever short of coffee during the week then head up to Walmer Court Farm Shop on the Dover Road where Kevin will help you.

We also supply coffee shops and restaurants in East Kent and beyond. If anybody out there knows of a coffee shop who might like our coffee, mention us and if they order there will be a treat for you too. As well as supplying Real Deal Roasters coffee we help outlets create their own unique blend from our beans and we can also supply “white label” coffee for them to market as their own. A fantastic USP for any coffee business in this challenging market.

Advice on starting a coffee business

  • Some machines come with a coffee bean tie-in from the supplier. Cheap coffee may seem attractive but if coffee is the main part of your business you need to choose carefully.
  • Select a few coffees and do a taste testing with friends. Some coffees are better for espressos and some more suited to the milky drinks.
  • Always begin the day by pouring and tasting an espresso, checking the flow of the coffee, then adjusting the grind of your beans. Humidity can affect the grind.
  • There are 3 elements to a great coffee; the machine, the coffee and the barista. Get all 3 correct and you’ll have a great business and a great time.

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