Meet Our Coffee Pirates

Kate, Owner

Kate has been making coffee professionally since 2002, when she started as a “temporary” team member at College Hill Coffee in Winfield, Kansas. She quickly fell in love with coffee and connecting with customers, and she has worked in coffee off and on since then.

Her career in public radio took her to the coffee mecca of Portland, Oregon, in 2009. While working for Oregon Public Broadcasting there, she met her first mobile coffee vendor. Bruce with Pony Espresso would soon inspire her to create a café…on wheels. She came back to Kansas in 2012 to start building her coffee truck.

Sunflower’s maiden voyage was on April 25, 2015, at an art and craft market where attendance was more than double what the organizers planned, and where Kate and Ben at times ran out of water and coffee, and to which the bus had to be towed because of mechanical problems. But they made it though that day with flying colors, and have learned so much and met so many wonderful people since then. Kate loves making coffee for Wichita with her excellent team, and is so grateful to be a part of the local family of food trucks. Each day with Sunflower Espresso has been an adventure, and Kate looks forward to many more.

When Kate is not working on the coffee bus, you can hear her moonlighting as a host on KMUW, or find her testing the limits of her library card. 

Cece, Barista

Cece has been a barista with Sunflower Espresso since 2016. Coffee has been a huge part of her life for as long as she can remember. When she was growing up, her mom ran a beauty shop in their house and so owned a small espresso machine. By age 8, she was making cappuccinos for her mom’s customers. Her dad, on the other hand, would make a fresh cup of Turkish coffee for friends and visitors.

Cece has so many favorite beverages, she often switches it up from day to day. Sometimes, she’ll want a decadent lavender mocha; other days, a black coffee.
When she’s not making coffee on the bus, Cece is performing in the local jazz/funk/cosmic band, Keo & Them.

Caitlyn, Barista

Caitlyn is our newest team member, but she’s an old hand at making coffee. With experience working at Scooter’s Coffee, Caitlyn knows how to make coffee for a crowd.
Caitlyn is a first-class thrifter who is constantly impressing her coworkers with her latest score, and she’s an impressive painter who has shows all around Wichita. (You can find her under the name Stay Melty Art.) Caitlyn also loves animals. In her free time, you’ll find her visiting her favorite friends at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Lauren, Barista

Miss Lauren has been a friend and customer for several years, but we made it official last fall! She’s a hard-workin’, endlessly sweet lady who enjoys a black cup of coffee as much as she enjoys a lavender mocha with all the bells and whistles.

When she’s not on the coffee bus, she’s helping her clients relax through her massage therapy business, Lauren Salisbury Massage.

Michelle, Barista

Her favorite drink varies, but lately, she’s been enjoying a honey latte with a dusting of cinnamon. In her free time, Michelle loves to experiment with new recipes and she’s also an avid writer.

Michelle brings a lot of heart and soul to her work at Sunflower Espresso. You’ll not only see her pouring lovely lattes on the bus, but she also is the bus baker and web administrator! That lovely loaf of pumpkin bread you see in the pastry case window? She made it.