East Belfast family's excitement to open Orangefield Park's first coffee cart

The Barista Box is the first coffee stand to operate at Orangefield Park and owner Karl Donaldson has shared his joy
-Credit: (Image: Justin Kernoghan)

The family behind Belfast's newest coffee cart are excited to bring their business to a popular East Belfast park.

The Barista Box is the first coffee stand to operate at Orangefield Park and owner Karl Donaldson has shared his joy at being able to give the park 'what it is missing'.

The full-time physiotherapist and his family have transformed the old horsebox, brushed up on their barista training and dedicated all their extra time to give the community something they can enjoy on their daily danders.

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Speaking to Belfast Live on opening day of The Barista on Friday, Karl said it has been all go to bring his idea to life ahead of the summer months.

Karl said: "I live actually quite local to the area - me and my family would come round Orangefield Park quite a bit for walking.

"The idea all really came from an idea when we were walking around one day and I was thinking that the only thing missing from the park and the local community is a coffee trailer in the middle of the park."

The one quick thought while getting his daily steps started a chain reaction of events - after successfully obtaining a tendering opportunity from the council, Karl and his family spent the next ten weeks making this "dream a reality".

"It was a lot of work and, like anything that's worth ever happening, it's never a one man band.

"There's been a whole lot of support from my family and my friends and its very much a family-run business so this is the first day of it and we're really excited," Karl explained.

With previous experience working at a cafe on the Upper Newtownards Road, Karl knows a thing or two about coffee and has been delighted to grow his knowledge with his family in the lead up to opening The Barista Box.

Choosing local suppliers for his coffee, hot chocolate and traybakes, he hopes the new addition to the park is something that the local community will be happy to get behind.

Karl continued: "It really is brilliant - it's one of those things where going for a coffee or hot chocolate is a staple activity now.

"It is what you do to meet up with friends and is such a popular way of socialising now so opening has come at a great time with summer just around the corner."

The Barista Box is hoping to be open every day, with later hours on a Thursday evening, with Karl's family ready to take the reigns as be balances his full-time job and tennis career with the new business.

Karl and his family want the daily users of Orangefield Park to have the same amenities that so many other parks across Belfast have and hopefully attract new faces looking for a spot for their daily walk and coffee breeak.

He added: "I feel like it will bring that wee bit of something extra to East Belfast which is great for the community here.

"Coffee is like a staple of our culture now and it is a really good excuse to come to Orangefield Park, have a wee walk.

"Where some people maybe would have picked to travel somewhere else for that because there was nothing like this here, now they can grab a coffee and enjoy themselves - there are tray bakes for the kid and there's a park across the way so we cater for all.

"It's all going to be really, really exciting."

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