A Caramelized Conversation with Dr. Bean's Coffee

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset 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.


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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.

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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.

Edible Memphis - Caramelizing

Cara Greenstein_W5A4064 “Are you going to Caramelize that meal?” 

Time and time again, I’m asked how it all began. How “caramelized” became a verb for food writing instead of a culinary technique for…onions.

Like a recipe, the evolution of my food blog platform began three years ago with only two accountable ingredients: writing skills and a Kitchen Aid. I owe the first ingredient to both my father, whose rabbinical writing captivates even the most uninspired of souls, and my St. Mary’s high school English department, whose teachers meticulously instilled a balanced method of grammar and analytical learning. The Kitchen Aid, though it currently mismatches my townhome’s color palette, represented my first investment in a fulfilling and passionate niche of cooking.

I am not a graduate of cooking school, but I am a concierge of two contrasting yet aligning cities of old and new, innovative and historic. Austin, where my food-writing career began, is a laboratory of fast-paced, addictive creative and culinary production. The city introduced me to the vast field of dining and branding through a 150-member blogger alliance and an internship with lifestyle blogger Camille Styles. Memphis, where my food writing now evolves, invoked a challenge to re-energize my historic hometown with a new spin beyond barbecue and soul food. The city’s unmatched roots instill in me a force of motivation and innovation.

Read more of my story in the Winter Issue of Edible Memphis, available at the following locations:

387 Pantry 83 at Madison Hotel McEwen’s Cooper St 20/20 Church Health Center Whole Foods – Poplar Whole Foods – Germantown Lunchbox Eats Maximos on Broad City and State Curbside Casseroles Interim Restaurant Napa Café Memphis Botanic Garden All Public Libraries L’ecole Culinaire Renaissance Farms

Cara Greenstein_W5A4110 Cara Greenstein_W5A4204

Photos by Justin Fox Burks. Thanks again to Edible Memphis for the opportunity to share my story.

An Oxford Day Trip

A last-minute offer to day trip to Oxford should truly never be turned down. The proximity bears no excuses, and the culinary and artistic offerings are outbeating many of its Deep South counterparts. In this case, the opportunity arose on a chilly, winter morning with an emptiness of college football but a richness of discovery and Southern comfort.

After picking up a cappuccino and croissant from Tart, some girlfriends and I hopped on i-55 for an hour or so ride into town, which welcomed a symmetry of trend and tradition. We zipped our coats and began a plentiful five-hour adventure.

If you know anything about me, you know that food begins and ends any trip. In our case, this was Chef John Currence's City Grocery to taste the winter lunch menu. A glass of dry Chenin Blanc washed down the panko and parmesan oyster gratin appetizer, beautifully familiar and innovative. Other appetizers that graced the table included a divine flash-fried brussels sprout with chorizo and a rich cup of andouille gumbo ya-ya. It was a phenomenal line-up--reminiscent of nearby cultural influences such as New Orleans' creole classics and Austin's Uchiko famed fried brussels sprouts. I was instantly nostalgic and impressed!

Entrées were posed in ultimate traditional fashion: famous shrimp and grits with garlicky mushrooms and Big Bad Bacon, and a soft-shell crab po boy loaded with bacon, romaine and roasted tomato aioli. Though dessert looked divine, we filled up too quickly on honey cornbread and, alas, left the historic dining room in pure satisfaction.


Afterward, we perused The Square, purchased novels from the famous Square Books store, and shopped at Vintage Tailor for apparel. Though I didn't find a chance to pop in, I recommend Amelia for curated knick knacks and gifts. If, for any reason, you miss Memphis during the four hours away, a new location of The Second Line has opened!


Where most do you recommend for my next day trip down South? Share your moments with #caramelizedtravels.


A Decadent End of Summer


Though one might find it difficult to discern the correlation between dessert and jewelry, I instantly clicked the two upon learning more about my friend Lauren Carlson's jewelry line, Question the Answer. We strive to emphasize the significance of a process and a presentation. We strive to elevate a creative outlet into a comprehensive lifestyle. Most of all, we absolutely value the term, "treat yourself," especially when it comes to simple and unique adornments.

Lauren and I recently threw a end-of-summer dessert happy hour in honor of her IndieGogo Campaign (which only has nine days left!). Whether on your arm or on your plate, "decadence" is the theme of this approachable soiree. Orange and rose cream macarons from Tart Bakery (served on a Paper & Clay tray) added pops of color and sweetness to the minimal, metallic ambiance. To cool us off on the patio, we dropped raspberries into bubbly flutes on a timeless mercury bar cart.

Nine days remain in Lauren's Indie GoGo Campaign to allow her to expand a highly-regarded jewelry skill set and wide range of product offerings. Funding perks range in multiple levels of gratitude, from a hand-written thank you note to stackable rings and first-edition sugar skull pendants. I urge you to support a talented friend and designer -- Treat yourself, ladies!

P.S. Thank you to Thuyvi Vo for photographing.

A Caramelized Conversation with Allison Cook

The Memphis Farmers Market marks the first step of my Saturday mornings in Memphis, as I'm lucky enough to now live one block away. The market's variety of produce, vibe of people from all over Memphis, and visibility of true, authentic produce, protein and plants are phenomenal and, frankly, unmatched. Whether or not you're in need of groceries, I always urge visitors and Memphians alike to simply walk through the Market and take in the atmosphere. It's wonderful, and lively, and reflective of our overgrown small town community.

The Market is celebrating its tenth year with a full food and drink fête at the Tennessee Brewery on September 20. Market director Allison Cook, whose passion is evident through every word of our Caramelized Conversation, is here to spread the word. Allison and I look forward to seeing all of you on the 20th!


What do you most look forward to cooking with summer produce?

Tomatoes. Hands down. There is nothing better than in-season, locally grown tomatoes. Those things they call tomatoes in grocery stores in the winter just don’t count. One of the best things about tomatoes is that they are easy to enjoy. You don’t have to actually heat them in some way for them to be delicious. They are amazing raw in lots of recipes like tomato and watermelon salad, the classic Caprese salad and simply dressed with a good olive oil, salt and a leaf or two of basil. Of course, cooking with them only makes homemade pasta sauces, and the alike, even better.

Your most recent favorite farmers market find?

Steve Richardson’s orange watermelons are divine. He knows some secret about growing melons of all varieties. I’ve had his orange variety most recently, and I wanted to stick a straw in it and drink it. They are naturally sweet without being sugary, and there’s a depth to the flavor that is truly unique.

Your most unforgettable restaurant experience?

In July of this year, my husband and I traveled to Chicago for our 10th wedding anniversary. We ate at Girl & The Goat at their chef’s table that jutted in to their cooking area. It was so exciting to watch all the food being prepared and having the opportunity to talk about the food with the ones who were preparing it. Not to mention, the food was mind blowing. The duck tongues and grilled baby octopus were good enough I could justify hopping on a plane right now.


What do you love most about Memphis?

The best thing about Memphis is its people. People in this city are not afraid to take leaps of faith. They passionately envision and create ways to better our city and the lives of everyone in it. Whether its through food access, neighborhood beautification, strengthening schools and youth programs, or increasing our healthcare system, I feel that most people in Memphis are intentionally doing good for our community. You don’t get that in a lot of places.

Every home cook needs…

A good quality knife AND a sharpener. A dull knife is the cause of lots of injuries, squashed fruits and ugly meats. Invest in a real knife and keep it sharp.

Looking back on ten successful years of the Downtown Farmers Market, when was your proudest moment?

My proudest moment is when one of our vendors is able to take their business to the next level because of the growth and success they’ve had at the market. Some have opened their own storefronts, others have increased their customer base, purchased more land to farm or upgraded their kiln. Watching people work their dreams and succeed is amazing. Knowing that MFM had a part in this through helping them build a customer base, raising awareness about their business through MFM’s marketing efforts and offering them a safe place to try new products is very rewarding. Thanks to our customers and community support, this experience is not a one-time moment. I get to see it time and time again.

What can we expect at the Brewery on September 20?

September 20 is our MFM@TEN party, celebrating 10 years of Memphis Farmers Market. We are very excited to be hosting this party at the Tennessee Brewery. It’s the last time folks will get a look at the building before it goes through its huge renovation. People so enjoyed all of the Revival parties there that I think they will love one final chance to enjoy the space as it is now.

Guests to the party will receive their choice of a wine or beer MFM@TEN glass with their ticket, and Star and Micey is playing. We will also have silent and live auctions where guests can bid on really unique items that we try and tailor to our foodie downtown crowd. For example, Grizzlies tickets, dinner at a local restaurant downtown and then a night at The Westin. We will have loads of food from MFM vendors and local restaurants as well as beer and wine. It’s all included with a $40 advance ticket. There will also be a few fun surprises and activities, including a great red carpet photo booth to commemorate your night in photos. It’s going to so much fun, and it all benefits our local food system. It’s a win win. Buy tickets here!

How can we support the Memphis Farmers Market if we aren't living in the area?

There are many ways to support MFM even if you aren’t living in Downtown Memphis. We have shoppers who visit us from West Memphis, Hernando, Olive Branch, East Memphis, Germantown, Collierville and further. We strive to be a destination. People make us a part of their Saturday routine so that they can enjoy the live music, eat at the food trucks, take part in the kids’ activities and shop with our farmers and producers.

We are also looking for volunteers. The market is run by 30-40 volunteers on any given Saturday. Their dedication and hard work make the market what it is each day.

And, we are always looking for donation and sponsorships. We’re a not-for-profit organization, and as such, financial support is very important to continuing our mission. What’s great about supporting MFM is how far your contribution can reach. You aren’t just supporting Downtown Memphis. You are supporting the farmers, producers and artisans who have dedicated their lives to making and growing healthy foods for us. They live in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, and supporting them through the market allows them to invest more in their farms and businesses. It’s a wonderful circle of growth and support.

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