Friday Friends: Northern Vessel

We are so pumped to have the Northern Vessel crew in the shop on Friday (7/26) for our July Friday Friends hang.

Ashleigh has known T.J. for a few years and is a huge fan of his ability to love people in a way that makes them feel seen and valued. When he posted a picture of a sprinter van, her first thought was that he was taking coffee to the streets and she called him on it.

We couldn’t be happier to see two rad and good dudes sharing their love of coffee (and more) with the Des Moines community.


Let's start by introducing the faces behind the cart. Tell us your names, hometown and 3 things you consistently do every week.

T.J. Rude - Des Moines, IA

  • drink coffee

  • go to the gym

  • eat ice cream

Aaron Yahi - Chicago, IL

  • drink coffee

  • play soccer

  • eat frozen pops

What motivated you to be a part of the coffee and beverage culture?

It started with an experience where I had my first great cup of coffee in California. The people I was with, the atmosphere, and the beverage made me want to pursue this myself and help others have similar experiences.

Where did the name Northern Vessel come from?

We did not sit down and write a list of names we liked or sounded cool. Instead we spent months forming our identity. Our identity can be defined by adventure, craftsmanship, and community. Northern Vessel is the outworking of our attention to detail in our work and the adventurous spirit that drives us.

Was this something you always dreamed of starting or did it just hit you one day and you were like - yeah, we need more of this in the world?

The concept of creating an experience for people to share has been something that's been on my mind for a number of years. But it wasn't till the summer of 2018 did the concept of a mobile coffee cart develop.

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What are your 3 favorite pieces of equipment in the cart?

  1. The pitcher rinser

  2. The faucet

  3. The Moccamasters

What can we expect to see when you pop-up in The Side Garage?

A couple of average guys doing what they love: serving excellent coffee and meeting new people.

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Can you share a little bit about what you hope Northern Vessel will bring to the Des Moines community and beyond?

A small part of what we hope to do is meet a need in the Des Moines area and beyond by providing a stellar coffee experience that meets you where you are.

Where can we follow along to see where you'll be serving next or book you for an upcoming event?

Our main presence is on instagram @northernvessel

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Join us on Friday (7/26) for our July Friday Friends pop-up with Northern Vessel.