As you begin your second cup of coffee on this summery morning, I invite you to join a conversation with Memphis' own Dr. Albert Bean, founder of Dr. Bean's Coffee & Tea. Dr. Bean's is a member of the local MadeBy project, which seeks to connect Memphis makers and "craft a community" of creative movement.
(Photos courtesy of 387 Pantry)
How did you get started in the coffee roasting business?
My first real encounter with the coffee industry was a little backward for those of us in the United States. My journey started on a coffee plantation in Panama. I was in the town of Boquete and scheduled a coffee tour between hikes. Walking through the coffee farm, learning the process from seed to cup, and seeing all of the care that was involved growing coffee was inspirational. I then went to barista school in Portland, Oregon, received training as roaster there and in Vermont. I then practiced two solid years before launching Dr. Bean's Coffee and Tea Emporium.
What's your perspective on the local maker movement?
I think that Memphis has incredible talent that is on the cusp of greatness. The inventors and makers of Memphis have such depth and talent that I am humbled. I have been fortunate to collaborate with other exceptional craftspeople. A Friend/Welder/Artist creates on our property and I am amazed daily at what he produces.
How do you take your coffee in the mornings?
Black, no sugar if hot. If it's cold brew, I sometimes mix half cold brew/half cola. I like that subtle sweetness.
You've become known for your cold brew bike. What inspired the design?
My girlfriend Valerie and I were in the Netherlands buying our espresso machine. As you know, there are bicycles everywhere in Northern Europe and they are stylish. We got our "Larry versus Harry" cargo bike from a flower shop on EBay. We are blessed to know a graphic designer who was able to make bike functional and beautiful. We like the two wheel design for speed and maneuverability.
What do you appreciate most about Memphis?
The thing that I like most about Memphis is its integrity and honest nature. The people are genuine and the struggles that people have here are real. It shows in our music, our food and art.
Where can we purchase Dr. Bean's coffee + tea? Is there an online component for those not living in Memphis?
Dr. Bean's Coffee and Tea is ever-expanding but can currently be found at 387 Pantry, Bed Rock Eats, Curb Market, Cosmic Coconut, Elwood's Shack, Juice Bar, Ms. Cordelia's, and Palladio's. We are always looking for new partners to build relationships. Our online presence should start by the beginning of August.
What's next for Dr. Bean's?
We hope to be an integral part of the new coffee culture in Memphis. We want to create a shop that brings all the best that I have seen around the world as well as so the world the best of Memphis.