California-based coffee chain The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf enters the Dallas market on September 28, opening its first store near Addison, off the Dallas North Tollway at Arapaho Road.
The first Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a.k.a. The Coffee Bean, a.k.a. The Bean, a.k.a. TCB&TL, opened in Brentwood, California, in the 1960s. That would be pre-Starbucks. In those early days, it had a quaint, grandmotherly vibe, focusing on standard coffee drinks and tea, with none of the sexy cappuccinos and lattes that Starbucks popularized.
After Starbucks came along, The Coffee Bean jumped on the espresso-drink bandwagon, but its renditions were always less polished. And unlike Starbucks, it stuck by flavored coffee; that stuff may sell, but it's not taken seriously by coffee connoisseurs. Current latte drinks come in flavors such as pumpkin and amaretto. Amaretto-flavored anything is usually not a good sign.
After Starbucks came along, The Coffee Bean jumped on the espresso-drink bandwagon, but its renditions were always less polished.
The 2,000-square-foot cafe off Arapaho has 50 seats plus a drive-thru window. The menu includes coffee drinks and food items similar to those at Starbucks, such as oatmeal, fruit parfaits and sandwiches. Pastries come from Empire Baking Company, so that'll be good.
Coffee Bean has a frozen, blended drink with a trademarked name called The Original Ice Blended. Rolls right off the tongue, unlike that difficult-to-pronounce Frappuccino (which has its own dedicated website and Facebook page).
This is the first Coffee Bean in Dallas, but it's not the first in Texas. In 2009, the chain hit Austin, opening its first location on South Lamar; Austin now has eight branches, with two more on the way.
The company is known as a master franchisor, with the expectation that each franchisee will open between 15 and 50 stores. The Dallas franchise group includes Reid Ryan, Nolan Ryan, Reese Ryan, Jared Shope, and Bill Duffy, a former executive at Tower Records.