Friday, July 29, 2011

Bean There Cafe - City Hall Ave, Norfolk, VA

Bean There Cafe Exterior
Laine and I went to Bean There a while back and I cannot remember what I had, but probably an iced tea. I remember thinking it was fine, but the $4 price tag did not have me rushing back. Laine and I are constantly scrutinizing drink costs, particularly sodas and iced tea, in restaurants, so you might imagine we are not gals who regularly pay $4 for a non-alcoholic beverage. But, you gotta splurge every now and then, and today, we decided to give Bean There another shot. Bring on overpriced drinks - not a hit at Bean There, just at the industry in general.

Let me back up for just a few sentences before I give today’s details. Some friends and I were at the Brewfest at Town Point park a few weeks ago and I decided I was in dire need of an iced Chai latte. This was an unusual feeling for me, but I had ordered a Chai latte a few days prior on a whim and of course, became temporarily hooked. At $4 a pop, for very short window of satisfaction, it would not behoove me to become addicted to these. Being anything but an expert at ordering things outside of a Diet Coke, unsweetened iced tea and vodka shots, I was not rolling with my A-game. I asked for an iced Chai latte with the sugar free vanilla syrup. After they finished mixing, I realized they did not ask me what kind of milk I wanted. Using my small number of Starbucks experiences as a reference, I thought coffee places always asked you what kind, skim, soy, whole? Well, Bean There did not ask and of course, gave me whole. Besides kids, who drinks whole milk anymore? I thought everyone had hopped on the skim trend wagon a long time ago. Even my 85 year old grandmother drinks skim and trust me, she is old school, no diet trends for her. I should have asked them to change it, but I had a temporary lapse of reason and instead chose a cookie to go. Bean There carries Lenora Bell sweets and the Oatmeal Raisin and White Chocolate Macademia cookies are divine. I grabbed a white chocolate and my whole milk latte and hit the door. Still today, I think they should have asked me what type of milk I wanted, grumble.
Bean There Cafe: Large Iced Chai Latte

Fast forward to this morning, I was fully paying attention when I ordered my ‘large iced Chai latte, skim milk, LIGHT ice and the sugar free vanilla syrup’. The guy stared at me for a moment. No one ever stares at you at Starbucks when you rattle off some complicated order - double shot of this, light that. Note my light ice request. At $4, these drinks do not need a ton of ice. I want every penny of my Chai and skim milk. When the drink came out, it was missing at least a half inch of liquid at the top. This is not hot coffee, to which I would add milk. Fill er up! I nicely asked for some extra skim milk, which they did add, but it still was not filled to the top as it should have been. Bean There just did not want to work with me, apparently.

Bean There Cafe Pastry Case

Bean There Cafe: Creme Brulee Danish

On a more positive note, the dessert case is phenomenal and the Creme Brulee Danish was mine for the choosing. Back at the office, I sampled it and this treasure was worth every $2.35 cent of the cost. You have to love spending over $7 before 10am for a drink you kill within minutes and a mini danish. Living high on the hog today, my friends.


Bean There Cafe Specials

I am a member of the > .001% of American society who could not care less about coffee. I like it when it is good. I dump it when it tastes bad. I drink it most days with hazelnut flavored cream and Splenda. I will purchase a cup of coffee only a handful of times a year, usually at someone else’s today.

Bean There Cafe has all the usual coffee shop milieu. It is funky and there is plenty of cushy seating strategically arranged for singles or groups. Assorted people linger on their computers. I wonder if they are unemployed or if their homes are so unpleasant that they prefer to be out. I decide they just need some free wi-fi. I note that Bean There Cafe has added some new, non-bean items, like Beer, Wine and Quiche. These additions single-handedly increase the chance that I will return more frequently by approximately 50%.

Bean There Cafe Beer and Wine Selection

Today I ordered a Latte. (Yawn, I know.) No drama involved in my order. Skim milk, 3 Splenda. It tasted just like coffee. I did not dump it out. Who knows, maybe in 6 months I will go totally berserk and return to order a café au lait.

The End

223 East City Hall Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510

(757) 623-5282

Open Mon-Thu 7am-9pm;
 Fri 7am-10:30pm;
Sat 7am-10pm;
Sun 7am-5pm

Train Stop: MacArthur Square

Lenora Belle Cookies and Cakes

Bean There, Coffee House Cafe on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I love you guys, but will have to disagree slightly on this one. I love Bean There! Not only for convenience and price, but also the atmosphere. They have a great tea selection and at just over $2 I think it is pretty fair. It is also helpful that they have samples available to smell. Which sounds a bit odd at first but really gives you an idea of what you are ordering. It has gotten me to try new flavors I may have not have tried otherwise. I also love the fact that they do serve alcohol and have some great happy hour specials. (I’m not sure if they have it every day, but the white sangria was one of the best I’ve ever had). This is perfect for those days you are ready to leave the office at 5:00 but want to give traffic a chance to die down. All in all, I think they are a great addition to downtown and hope that others will give them a try. I’m not much of a coffee drinker either, but many of my friends are, and they are fans.

Laine and Alex said...

Wow, it sounds like you are a real fan! Alex and I love seeing independently owned businesses flourish, and we hope those who love Bean There Cafe keep it going in the years to come! I have been hearing good things about Teavana in McArthur Center too, for all the tea fans out there. Since I don’t live downtown and I try not to drink before I drive, their happy hour isn't really an after work option for me…