About Us: Born & brewed in California
In 1963 Herbert B. Hyman started The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. His dedication to finding and serving the best coffee and tea in the world made him the founding father of gourmet coffee in California.
Now, over 40 years later, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® has grown into one of the largest privately-owned, family-run coffee and tea companies in the world. Along the way, The Bean, as it is affectionately known, has become the model for a successful coffee and tea company.
Since 1963, we have continued to search the earth for only the finest and rarest loose-leaf teas and premium coffees. Today we proudly offer over 22 varieties of coffee and 20 kinds of tea. Over the years, we have worked hard to build relationships with individual farms and estates so that we can be assured of the best coffee and tea harvests available. Our coffee is roasted fresh daily in small batches in a manual European roast style, then packed using state-of-the-art equipment for shipment in our own roasting facility and delivered fresh daily to our stores.
About Our Coffees
As one of the most popular beverages on the planet, you could say coffee has become something of an obsession with human beings. It certainly has with all of us at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®and with all the producers of our exquisite brews the world over.
Today, the world knows two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta (which was discovered about 300 years ago). While Robusta has double the caffeine of Arabica, it lacks the complexities of Arabica. As the preferred bean of discerning coffee lovers, Arabica is our exclusive specialty. Our diversity of origin countries and roasting techniques lets you experience the full range of sweet, distinctive flavors and aromas that this coveted bean has to offer.
As highly selective coffee brewers, we consistently seek out hand-selected coffees directly from the best estates and small farms, ensuring not only the quality of our product but also that origin farms practice environmentally safe cultivation and offer fair wages to their workers, enabling them to provide for their family welfare.
In sourcing the world’s greatest coffees, our Green Coffee Buyer, Jay Isais, travels from one end of the tropics to the other, from Costa Rica and Colombia to Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea, cultivating close relationships with local growers. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is proud to offer you a range of specialty grade coffees we proclaim to be Simply the Best™.
As you take your first sip of our premium Arabica coffees, let your mind travel to the equatorial wonderlands where the brew in your cup comes from. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, we purchase specialty grade Arabica from three distinct regions: Latin America, the Pacific, and East Africa. How your coffee looks, tastes and smells has much to do with where it comes from, and how it was grown.
All our imported coffees have been cultivated at high altitude – between 3,500 and 6,000 feet – because cooler temperatures slow the beans’ ripening time, and create more concentrated, flavorful coffees. To ensure we’re offering you Simply the Best??from each region, we personally travel to various farms and estates to visit local growers and find the best quality harvests. We nurture long lasting relationship with estates not only for the high quality of their product, but also for their Earth-friendly growing practices and the excellence in how they treat their workers and families.
Quality: Bringing Out the Best in Every Brew
Coffee, as they say, cannot be improved upon. It can only be ruined. So, while the conditions in which it’s cultivated are excellent, we make sure that our coffee still passes highly selective processing methods, designed to bring out each bean’s inherent potential. Once the fruits are hand plucked, the ripe fruit is sorted out by hand before it undergoes a thorough screening process that isolates the best of the bunch for final sorting and export. By the time each batch is roasted to perfection by our own Master Roaster, it’s been thoroughly inspected such that each coffee bean in every brew is a hallmark of quality.
Growing Coffee: Dedication to Quality Unites Our Whole World!
Travel to the lush, remote lands where our varieties of coffee are grown, and you’ll notice stunning differences in culture, customs, language, and ethnicity. But our select coffee regions also share many things in common. One of them is altitude. All our coffee is grown between 4,000 and 6,000 feet – the ideal range for growing coffee. Why, you ask? Because at that altitude, ripening times are longer and the characteristics of the coffee fruit become that much more concentrated, sharpening its aromas and flavors.
At all our estates, you’ll find nurseries where coffee seedlings and replanted coffee trees are nurtured for their first 18 months. The slopes of the terraces protect the trees from mountain winds, and a steady diet of nitrogen keeps the seedlings growing healthily.
The harvesting process begins the moment the coffee cherries are plucked from their trees.
There are two methods of removing these cherries.
The first is Strip Picking, in which the cherries of all stages of ripening are indiscriminately removed and taken for processing, the idea being to accumulate cherries in bulk for mass production.
The second method – the one that The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® uses exclusively — is Selective Picking. This is a more professional method that requires finesse and expertise as the picker evaluates and selects only those cherries deemed ready for processing. This way, unripe cherries are conserved for later picking, when they’ve reached their potential. By simply weighing the red ripe cherry fruit in their fingers, they can quickly and accurately judge its degree of ripeness, pluck it, and move on.
You wouldn’t know it by observing, but the Selective Picking requires someone so keenly familiar with the coffee harvest that a mere glance and touch can glean quality in the fruit that the less experienced of us cannot. It’s Coffee Mastery in action.
In the coffee trade, we speak of a Dry Process and a Washed Process in referring to how the quality of the fruit is judged and the shipments of beans readied for export. While neither the Dry nor the Washed Process is necessarily superior, we at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® have always been partial to the Washed Process. Why? Simple. It’s all about taste. Washed coffees tend to have brighter flavors and a cleaner finish.
Our Coffees Truly Come From the Top of the Heap
From the discerning eye of the Picker, looking for the perfectly ripened fruit, to the final approval of an inspector, sorting the good beans from the bad, our coffees go through a rigorous screening process. When it’s all said and done, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® selects from the top 1% of the world’s best coffees. Our blends are hand-selected, renowned for their consistency of quality, and hail from the world’s elite coffee growing regions.
Washed Process: Once the coffee cherries are plucked and brought to the washing station, placed in a bath, and washed together. This creates what’s called the First Separation as the lighter, less ripe cherries float to the top of the bath while the heavier ones sink to the bottom.
What follows are de-pulping and fermentation. The cherry shells are mechanically removed, revealing the coffee seeds and go through another round of washing that separates the coffees into varying grades of quality.
Next, the beans are dried (either inside a large machine, or out in the sun), and taken through a final milling in which the coffee beans are brushed free of the crinkly parchments covering them.
A Density Table gives the beans a good shaking, separating denser, higher quality beans from the less dense, before the beans get their close-ups in front of a specially trained team of coffee inspectors. The inspectors sort through all the beans – thousands and thousands – looking for chips, holes, mildew, debris, and color imperfections, and giving a pass only to those beans that pass strict quality control standards.
Cupping: On the Delicious Art of Coffee Cupping
Cupping is the industry method of tasting a sample of coffee, scrutinizing it for the coffee’s acidity, aroma, body and flavor. Each coffee is usually cupped with multiple samples to compare its quality and cross checked for consistency.
The cupping process starts with adding boiling water to freshly ground coffee and letting it steep for 2-3 minutes. After clearing the floating coffee grounds, the next step is to taste coffee by taking a spoonful and slurping it rapidly, so that it fills all parts of the tongue. This allows the taster to sample the coffee’s full profile, from aroma to flavor and finish, all in one rapid action.
The official green coffee buyer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is Jay Isais, a coffee guru who cups all coffees that we purchase to ensure that it meets the flavor profile and standards that we expect from our products. Each year, Jay cups and tastes approximately 10,000 samples of coffee so, on the subject of how great coffee ought to taste, he’s the bona fide industry master.
Coffee lovers are all familiar with the light to dark spectrum of shades that coffees come in. Those gradations in shade are the result of the coffee’s roasting process. Your favorite The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® offerings may range in color from the earthy greens of the lighter roasts to the chocolaty browns of the darker varieties.
Roasting emulsifies and caramelizes the sugars inside the coffee beans, drawing the sugars out as coffee oils onto the surface of the beans. The oils are what give coffee beans their shine, while the roasting itself is what gives coffee its intensity of flavor and more robust body.
How your coffee looks and tastes all finally comes down to the duration of the roast: As a rule of thumb, the longer the roast, the darker and shinier the coffee. A lightly roasted coffee will retain its original green color, and will boast a bright, crisp, and complex palate of flavors with hints of the weather and soil that evoke the coffee’s earthy, agricultural heritage. While darker roasts don’t bear the complexity and variety of flavor, they’ve got the intensity and aromas, imbued by the roasting process, and which we associate with fuller bodied coffees.
Blending and flavoring
Blending enables us to match coffees of complementary tastes to create new, unexpected harmonies. Additionally, blending different variety of roasts together can reveal invigorating new avenues of taste, aroma and flavor to explore.
For example, a coffee blend that consists of a light roast and a medium to dark roast captures a broader spectrum of flavor not found in single origin coffees. The lighter roast contributes complexity and brightness while the darker roast adds a level of intensity to the overall taste of the blend.
At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, we do not believe in batch roasting. In fact, each origin coffee is individually roasted to its optimum level at our roasting facility before they are combined to create the final blend.
In addition to blending, flavoring can be a delightful way to add your confection to your favorite beverage. Flavored coffee made its way to the coffee world in the 70s and really gained momentum in the 80s. Flavored coffee does not contain additional calories or sugars and is considered a guiltless treat!
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