Dereck Lehr, Leslie Lehr’s young son, saw the horse trailer full of hay, which would become Stirrup Espresso. One question came to mind. Are you going to make coffee out of this?
Lehr started planning her mobile coffee company in 2019 after quitting her corporate job. She was once a flight attendant and had been to Italy and Costa Rica, where she fell in LOVE with coffee. She says, “I love coffee.” “If you don’t love coffee, you shouldn’t get into the coffee business.”
She knew she didn’t want to live in a brick-and-mortar store, as that would mean being there every day. She began looking online for options and came across videos showing people who converted horse trailers into food trucks. This idea inspired her business name. After searching the internet for horse trailers, she found one on the East Coast. It arrived just before the pandemic in early 2020.
Lehr believes that the timing worked out in the end, even though some may have thought it was unfortunate. She says, “It gave us more time and I didn’t feel under pressure to leave because we had a lot invested in it.” It took a while, but it was worth it.
Lehr started renovating the trailer and preparing for the day when she would be able to put her coffee-making skills into practice. Rod Mangin, Lehr’s husband, invented the name. It combines the worlds of horses and coffee.
It was time to sell when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, and farmers’ markets reopened. Officially, the business was launched on April 10, 2021.
Offerings include espresso, lattes, cortados, cappuccinos, and Americanos. There are three types of brewed coffee: cold brew, iced coffee, and batch brew. This is pour-over coffee that is made in large quantities and kept warm for fast service.
Lehr’s typical Saturday starts at 4 AM when pour-overs start. Lehr and her son pack everything in the trailer once they have prepared it. Then, Lehr and her son set off for the Lake St Louis Farmers’ Market. You can also rent the rig for private events.
Lehr began to roast beans at first at another local coffee shop. Today, she roasts her beans from Colombia and Brazilian coffee beans. Lehr prepares the orders, while her son works in the window. Lehr says that they work together for four hours straight. It doesn’t end there, which is fantastic.