At 240 Broadway, in the West Gate Hotel just across the street from the NBC building, WestBean’s first café is situated. Early February, WestBean opened its doors and began serving one of San Diego’s most hectic morning rushes—the downtown business district. Fitting the urban feel, WestBean worked with Basile studios to set up the perfect contemporary industrial space of custom steel barface and rolling menu rack; with warm features such as benches, and a dropped ceiling, of Julian eucalyptus.
Besides WestBean’s inviting appearance and its having been built to withstand the heavy traffic, they do not, ever, forfeit quality and craft. First, the espresso machine: The Synesso Hydra. With the Hydra, the group heads all have their own boiler, which means you can control the temperature, the pressure, and the pre-infusion of each group head. This can be useful for dialing in multiple types of espresso if you have single origin beans as well. It is also really consistent and holds up to high volume, consistently pumping out quality. In spite of gearing the shop for the on-the-go business crowd, they still have ceramic ware for those wanting to be served in a demitasse for those craving the luxury of a coffee ritual.
“We think craft coffee is extremely important for customers to enjoy, especially in their hectic, face-paced lives,” said Founder, Paul Reizen. “Let's be honest--a lot of people drink coffee because they need a pick me up. All coffee has caffeine. All coffee will pick you up. But now, hopefully we are giving the busy work world a reason to enjoy getting their coffee. Craft doesn't necessarily mean slow--it means that we do everything in the production of our coffee, from roasting to brewing, for a calculated reason designed to make our coffee remarkable. We make sure our service is impeccable and as fast as possible, but we are constantly tweeking our coffee throughout the day to make sure it always tastes amazing. Pretty simply attention to detail and better ingredients is what makes craft anything. We think everyone appreciates that, especially when your cup of coffee is the only ten minutes of your day you might get to enjoy during a hectic day.”
“We think true coffee lovers will love the fact that our cafe is all about the craft,” Paul said. “Each drink we prepare is designed to showcase the origin of the coffee and the roast profile behind it. We also designed the cafe to be accessible to anybody who wants to enjoy and learn more about coffee. Our interior is industrial and modern, but our baristas are warm and helpful and truly love coffee and art of proper extraction. We hope to earn a following through great coffee and service. In the end, our greatest hope is that our cafe showcases all that we have been doing over the past five years as a roastery!”
Many of the core team of WestBean hail from metropolitan areas, James Rauh is from Portland and Andrew is from Seattle. “Broadway is a street that reminds me of a classic downtown street,” James said. “We were stoked to find something in this area. We’ve driven around here so much for wholesale, and this was one area that was untapped for something more craft. Its just nice because a lot of businessmen and professionals come in three times a day – their morning coffee, and iced coffee in the afternoon – its cool to see that rhythm now that we’re here.”
“I see so many ways that people downtown benefit from having a roaster like us,” said Paul. “First, we are local; and San Diegans are fiercely loyal to their local brands. We have already met so many people that have expressed to us that they love that they now have a local choice they can support.
“Second, people want quality. Most of our coffees are direct trade or organic and are sourced because they simply taste better. The biggest response we get from customers new to us is that they actually can drink our coffee black and like to do so! In addition, all our signature drinks are made with house-made syrups. That means they are made by us with natural ingredients--not the corn-syrup preservative-laden stuff you get at other large coffee chains. We take this extra step because it makes our drinks taste better and we think it is the right thing to do. And finally, I think we have built a cafe that is conducive to enjoying coffee, even if you are on the go. We have a lot of first-time customers who buy a coffee to go, but just naturally sit down for a bit and enjoy the ambiance and quality of the coffee.”
Before the café, WestBean was a wholesale roaster operating out of Mission Gorge since 2009, catering to accounts focused on quality, servicing restaurants and coffee shops from San Diego to Encinitas, with national shipping. Coffee Review rated their Kenya the #20 coffee for 2014 by Coffee Review this past December, with a 95 score. You may have experienced their coffee in as varied places as San Diego hot spot Café Chloe, or at local events such as the Jacobs Medical Center Celebration of Philanthropy.
In the current coffee rotation, WestBean is proud to offer its Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. “Overall I am enamored with Ethiopia,” Paul said. “The fruit notes and intricacies in both the washed and naturals blow me away. Our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Lomi Tasha was our highlighted coffee of the month for our debut, and is available as a pour over in the Kalita and V60 methods. I prefer the Kalita on this one--the honeysuckle and mandarin orange notes are amazing! Ethiopians are tricky, especially the naturals. With the Lomi Tasha we didn't follow the somewhat popular super-light roast profile. Instead, we focused on really bringing out the sweetness in the coffee by caramelizing the sugars in the bean. Surprisingly, this also allowed for the mandarin orange notes to really stand out as well.”
Check out WestBean today!
240 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101.
M-F 6am-6pm, Weekend 7am-2pm