Coffee Bean is My Life Force

Every morning I wake up at 5 AM. It is a hideous hour, an ungodly time of the day where even most animals are still sleeping, and one in which I will wake up at what I believe is the middle of the night and really turns out to be 4:57 AM. While this hour is gross and I am never officially awake until 6, my motivation for making it out of bed comes with the fact that I love my full-time job to pieces.

That, and said job is also located across the street from a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, AKA my life force.

Coffee Bean is one of the greatest chain coffee shops I have ever had the pleasure of being inside. They sell a variety of coffees and teas and juice and tasty baked goods. Every week, I spend about $10 in that cozy little nook of a store, where the java beans are richly scented and should you decide to stay in with your latte, you get it served up in a mug. I often feel like the store is hugging me when I go inside, as though it’s saying in the most soothing and dulcet of tones, “Welcome back, Heather. Welcome home.”

If you drink coffee as religiously as I do, chances are you’ve heard that voice, too. Isn’t it the best?

When I was in high school, I was a barista at Panera Bread. At any given moment, scattered throughout our store I had at least 3 or 4 iced brews hiding in strategic places to keep me rip roaring and ready to go. Because working there was one huge stress attack after another. People would pour in the door starting at 5 AM and would not stop until 11am. After that would come the lunch crowd, which was a whole cluster of issues into itself. It is my belief that the barista is one of the least-appreciated working stiffs on the planet. We made the coffee, the life force that would get you through the morning, but it was never done just right. The lattes and capps were never hot enough or they needed to be “hot but not hot” (my favorite!) – and God help you if you did not use skim milk or add that double shot of espresso. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to drop everything and throw my apron at the customer and scream “YOU make it then!” I used to have extremely vivid dreams about that, actually – the kind where you wake up all sweaty and wide-eyed.

I’m on the other side of the counter now, the customer side, and I am a patient and appreciative coffee consumer. Watching the baristas at the Coffee Bean across the street from my job work their magic is truly a sight to see. I cannot be sure of this, but in my White Chocolate Latte, the secret ingredient is probably crack. I’m like, 87% sure (growing all the more closer to 100% every day). They just call it ‘love’ to throw the rest of us off. How else do you explain a drink so delicious that I finish it in under an hour and want to run back for more??

There’s such a community at Coffee Bean, one that I haven’t found in any other coffee shop juggernaut. People there are so friendly! They hold the door open for you, they ask you what you do for a living, they’re interested and it’s genuine. One time I was there when they had a hot guy from their Malibu store subbing for the day. It was beautiful. I was adrift on a caffeinated cloud to a point of bliss where you feel love and goodness at all times. Never gonna quit you, Coffee Bean, no not ever.

Everything’s coffee and nothing hurts.

  • Deanna Raphael

    Heather, sadly I no longer live around the block from a Coffee Bean. I miss my daily 1/2Vanilla 1/2 Mocha latte terribly. My obsession was so deep I made a video about it.

    I’m currently sipping on a cup of Chock Full O’ Nuts, it’s getting the job done but it’s no match for The Bean.

  • Meredith Bagdazian

    One of the hardest things about being in grad school on the East Coast is the sad lack of Coffee Bean in my life! But last week at Target I saw that CBTL is now selling their coffee machine and powders there, and I nearly cried! Good to know someone else shares my obsession.

  • Chrysanthe Peteros

    I am an East Coast girl, through and through, but I’m an even more dedicated coffee drinker/lover. This made me want to move out to California and live in this place…then I did some research and found out they have three of them in New York. And I rejoiced.

  • Donna Nicholls

    how do you only spend $10 a week there? are the coffees, like, 20 cents each?

  • Michelle Windsong Davis

    As a former Coffee Bean employee, I 100% appreciate this.

    And, yes, the secret ingredient in the White Chocolate Latte is crack.

  • Lindsey Silken

    I used to live in SF and have missed CBTL every day since I moved back to the east coast.

  • Kellyn Carole Denton

    My brother works at CBTL in Austin, and he loves it! Every time we visit him, we load up on coffee/tea/powders. I am so addicted to that place. The coolest people work there. It’s good to see you enjoyed it too :)

  • Mayan White

    (and, yes, coffee bean and tea leaf is the best coffee shop on the planet)
    sorry for all the caps, i’m just really really attached to CBTLF.

  • Samantha Collie

    Does the store voice sound like Morgan Freeman?

  • Donna Dean

    The picture of that latte looks so delicious and wonderful. I must have a latte now!

  • Alycia Lourim

    I dont work there, but I work for It’s A Grind Coffee and this article made me smile. I work two jobs, (coffee by morning/day and restaurant by night). I have to be there at 430am to open and I am beyond exhausted but what gets me going and awake (besides coffee) is our rush of customers that come in every morning. I love knowing their drink and asking how their day is or work is going or whatever I know about them because making their day makes my day more pleasant. I am working in coffee to save to move to LA and work in film but honestly one day I want to own my own coffee shop. Coffee is our crack, its what gets us through the day and I totally understand and feel for it. Im glad u have a coffee shop that takes care of you, I think its important and I love that you are so appreciate of our hard work. xoxo.

  • Happy Heather


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