The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Former Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf headquarters on La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, USA
Retail coffee and tea
|Founded||Los Angeles (1963 )|
|Founder||Herbert B. Hyman |
Number of locations
|Products||Coffee, tea, food|
|Revenue|| $500 million+ USD |
Number of employees
|Parent||International Coffee & Tea, LLC (1963-2019)|
Jollibee Foods Corporation (2019-present)
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (sometimes shortened to simply "Coffee Bean" or "The Coffee Bean", often abbreviated as CBTL) is an American coffee chain founded in 1963. It is owned and operated by Jollibee Foods Corporation, which has its corporate headquarters in Pasig City, Philippines. As of 2017, the chain has over 1,000 self-owned and franchised stores in the United States and 31 other countries.
On 24 July 2019, Jollibee Foods Corporation announced its acquisition of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for $550 million, alongside a $100 million investment within the company.
The company was founded by Herbert Hyman in September 1963, as a coffee service for offices. He and his wife Mona, whom he married in 1966, honeymooned in Sweden, where they discovered quality coffee. This sparked the decision to import, roast and sell gourmet coffee in Los Angeles, opening the first Coffee Bean store in 1968 in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood. Innovations included selling whole beans and touting their country of origin, and allowing customers to observe the beans being roasted and sample varieties before making a purchase. Hyman is considered to be instrumental in the creation of the gourmet coffee industry in the US. He died on April 28, 2014, at the age of 82.
By the 1970s, Coffee Bean had expanded to 10 stores in Southern California, and added exotic teas to the menu. In the summer of 1987, an employee brought a blender to a Westwood store, mixing together ice, coffee extract and chocolate powder, paving the way for the company's signature Ice Blended drinks. With the invention of the Ice Blended, the Coffee Bean saw a surge in popularity. The drink was a predecessor to the Starbucks Frappuccino. In 1991, when it was first planning to expand into Los Angeles, Starbucks tried to purchase Coffee Bean, but Hyman turned them down. The opening of Starbucks stores in Los Angeles unexpectedly helped Coffee Bean's business, by driving curious customers to the area.
In 1996, the Hymans sold the Asian franchise rights to Singaporean brothers Victor Sassoon and Sunny Sassoon. The Sassoons quickly expanded the company in the US and internationally, opening the first outlet in Singapore in 1996, and in Malaysia the following year. Within two years, they had opened 29 stores in Singapore and Malaysia, almost as many stores as the Hymans had opened in their 35 years of ownership. In 1998, the Sassoons, along with longtime friend Severin Wunderman, purchased the parent company, International Coffee & Tea LLC, from the Hymans, and took it global. Victor Sassoon works out of Singapore, Sunny Sassoon works in Los Angeles, and Wunderman is a silent partner with no role in management. International Coffee & Tea, LLC remains the name of the holding company.
Sunny Sassoon served as President and CEO from 1998 until 2009, when he moved to the executive chairman position until 2015. In 2009, Mel Elias (Sassoon's brother-in-law) assumed the role of president and CEO of the company, after spending seven years as chief operating officer. In September 2013, a significant equity position in Coffee Bean was acquired from International Coffee & Tea by US-based Advent International, in partnership with South Korea-based Mirae Asset Private Equity and Taiwan-based CDIB Capital. The Sassoon family remains a large shareholder. On September 3, 2015, John Fuller assumed the position of president and CEO.
The company is known for its Original Ice Blended coffee and tea drinks, hot coffee drinks, and hot and iced tea drinks. It also sells a variety of whole bean coffees, whole leaf teas, flavored powders, and baked goods.
The company's coffees fall into seven categories: Light & Subtle, Light & Distinctive, Medium & Smooth, Dark & Distinctive, Decaffeinated, Flavored, and Reserve. It roasts approximately seven million pounds of coffee annually. All of the beans are hand-roasted at its roasting facility in Camarillo, California. The beans come from farms in various countries, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Kenya, Indonesia, Jamaica, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Coffee Bean offers several seasonal holiday drinks, in flavors including candy cane, gingerbread, red velvet cake, eggnog, and peppermint. For the company's 50th anniversary in 2013, it introduced a Birthday Cake Ice Blended.
Jay Isais, Coffee Bean's senior director of coffee, oversees the quality of the blending and roasting of all the company's beans. A founding member of the Roasters' Guild, he joined Coffee Bean in 2000. He is one of approximately 400 licensed Q graders worldwide, passing an exam of sensory tests administered by the Specialty Coffee Association of America's CQI division.
The company's teas fall into seven categories: Green, Black, Oolong, Herbal Infusion, Decaffeinated, Flavored, and Tea Master's. All of the teas are hand-blended at its facility in Camarillo, California. The Chai Tea Latte, one of the chain's most popular drinks, was first served in 1998. In March 2014, the company introduced its Tea Granita beverage in two flavors, Pear Berry and Passion Fruit.
CBTL single-serve system
CBTL, a single-serve system for home use, was launched in the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines in 2010. Several types of single-serve capsules are available for the machines: espresso, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
Kosher and halal
All Coffee Bean coffees, teas, and the powders used to make other beverages, are certified kosher. As of June 2020, Coffee Bean ended its storewide kosher-only certification for stores and bakery items in Southern California. Storewide kosher certification was ended for Coffee Bean locations in the Las Vegas area months earlier. While Coffee Bean had planned to move away from kosher-only certification to provide more offerings as a phased rollout before the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said the crisis accelerated its plan.
Prior to June 2020, all company-owned Coffee Bean locations in Southern California were certified kosher. During that time, most in California and Nevada had signed and dated certificates indicating that the entirety of their items were kosher in conformance to the standards of the certifying agency, the Kosher Supervision of America. However, even before June 2020, privately owned franchise stores could opt-out of kosher certification.
|North America||Asia||Europe||Africa||South America|
On May 28, 2013, Hilton Worldwide announced they had signed an exclusive agreement for Coffee Bean to provide in-room coffee and tea for all Hilton hotels in North America, South America, and Central America.
On August 24, 2015, Coffee Bean announced they had signed an exclusive area development agreement with South Korean retail conglomerate E-LAND to enter into the Chinese market.
In popular culture
Coffee Bean was regularly seen on the HBO television series Entourage. Most notably, in season 2, after being forced out of Terrance McQuewick's agency, Ari Gold sets up an interim agency at a West Hollywood Coffee Bean. The franchise has also been seen on the MTV reality series The Hills.
The first Coffee Bean location in Brentwood was frequented by celebrities, including Johnny Carson, Ronald Reagan, Jacques Cousteau, and Lee Marvin. The franchise's Los Angeles outlets continue to be known for being patronized by celebrities.
On the cartoon series Phineas and Ferb, season 1 episode 8 "I, brobot", Phineas and Ferb build a team of robots. Later, the robots start developing their own ideas. They even build a coffee shop called "Robot bean and tea leaf".
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- Specialty Whole Leaf Tea | The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Tea
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