By Lee Howard
The Day, New London, Conn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Inside her mobile coffee truck, Jocelynn Neri and her sister dole out speciality coffee produced by two brands. Neri says her next goal is to roast her own coffee and take it on the road!
Jocelynn Neri and her high school-aged younger sister Bridget have been a staple at the Wednesday evening concerts at Waterford Beach this summer, as well as at the farmers market Saturday mornings next to Town Hall, selling coffee and sweets from a nicely decked-out food truck with pastry displays, wood paneling and attention-getting lights.
To some, the cool Coast Coffee truck, homemade treats and specialty coffees might seem like a summer lark. But Neri, 27, is deadly serious about developing a culinary business in the area, and said she has been testing the waters by talking to customers and trying out recipes from her 1976 Citroen HY van that she found online and imported from the United Kingdom.
“I come from a long line of entrepreneurs,” she said.
A graduate of Mercy High School in Middletown, Neri said she attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hudson, N.Y., then worked at a fine food establishment in the Washington, D.C., area before deciding that the restaurant life wasn’t for her.
Instead, she felt drawn to the chatter and camaraderie of coffee shops, eventually developing a skill similar to a somalier thanks to her attendance at frequent coffee tastings.
She later became editor in chief of the Culinary Institute newspaper, she said, writing about coffee and other food businesses, while also learning people skills and networking. Starting in 2013, she worked for Lyme-based Ashlawn Farm Coffee, opening up as the Old Saybrook location’s first manager before moving onto Sift Bakery in Mystic for two years, where she learned new skills in food preparation and management from owner Adam Young, recently named during a Food Network series as Best Baker in America.