From EatDrinkJax.com: Urban Bean Coffeehouse Cafe, Talking coffee with owner Pam Hegel.
Image from Tisha A.
1. Tell us about The Urban Bean Coffeehouse Cafe.
The Urban Bean Coffeehouse Cafe is first and foremost a craft coffeehouse serving specialty coffees. We look, smell, and feel like a coffeehouse. With that being said, we have an amazing food line up as well as a lot of other beverages. We’re a very unique, local gathering place, designed for larger groups and families as well as couples or singles.
2. What sets The Urban Bean apart from other coffee shops?
There are many things that make us unique. Our ambiance is one. We have gone to great lengths to make The Urban Bean atmosphere as "hand-crafted" as our coffee and food. All of the tables, bench seats and espresso bar and service counters are handmade by our contractor and came from one 150' pine tree that he cut down from his property. My husband and I have done all of the finish work ourselves, including some very unique finishes such as hand-troweled concrete walls and counters in the bathrooms, hand-troweled plaster walls in the dining area, and the faux-brick wall along the back bar. Being environmentally friendly is one of our core values so we have re-purposed many items, like reusing pallets for our vertical gardens along the patios, building our front patio furniture from an old loading dock, and re-purposing flooring joists from a torn down house for our window trim and baseboard. We have planted hundreds of succulents in our cinder block planters and vertical gardens because succulents are so chic and eco-friendly. They need very little water to thrive.
The building of course, is just the beginning of our uniqueness. Our coffee is absolutely some of the best coffee available anywhere. We are extremely proud of our coffee and are so excited to share it with people. The world of Specialty Coffee is really so new and we get very excited to educate people and share that great coffee experience with them. I think another thing that makes us unique is that although we are totally passionate about coffee, we are even more passionate about people. We are very down-to-earth people and we want to make hand-crafted specialty coffee accessible to everyone, including those who have never had an opportunity to experience it. We want to take the intimidation out of ordering by having written drink explanations to help educate people and assist them in choosing a beverage. We have put a lot of hard work into creating an amazing environment and offering the highest quality coffee, tea and food, but at the end of the day it's people we care most about. We love people and that's why we do what we do.
Pouring a Latte
3. Can you describe the ambiance at The Urban Bean?
We are definitely designed as a gathering place. We have large tables to accommodate groups as well as having square bistro tables that can be pushed together. We have lounge chairs around a fireplace for comfy seating. There is a stage with a digital baby grand player piano which adds incredible ambiance! Our overall design is industrial. A little modern industrial, a little vintage industrial. Lots of pipe, wood, and metal to create our own chic industrial vibe. We’ve added a lot of warm elements too so that The Urban Bean is very inviting and not a cold and barren feel that can easily happen when using an industrial design. We have two patios because we love sitting outside and have found it difficult to find many restaurants that have outdoor seating for us to enjoy our beautiful Florida weather. One of our patios has tables and chairs and is covered by a huge canopy with beautiful Edison bulb lighting. It has a vertical pallet garden that is filled with beautiful succulent plants that divides the patio from the parking lot and makes it a very cozy and warm environment. Our front patio is open and has a maze of bench seating with coffee tables. It’s a great hang-out spot for groups. There is a huge cinder block planter filled with more succulents and a pallet vertical garden to help give a little privacy from the street. The ambiance is so crucial to us. We’ve thought of a lot of very unique things and have created a place that we would want to come and hang out in.
4. Do you also serve specialty tea?
Yes, we are so proud of our tea as well. Rishi Tea has the finest organic fair trade tea available anywhere. They do direct trade with the farmers and the quality is so evident. We will have a nice assortment of Green, White, Black and herbal teas. We are also offering a few very unique drinks such as Matcha. Matcha is a green tea that is ground very finely and has been used for centuries in Japanese Ceremonies and has recently become very popular among tea drinkers. It's a potent drink, kind of like the espresso of the tea world, and is served as a 2.5 ounce drink. We serve lattes and frappes made from Matcha powder too and people are really loving them. Another very unique drink we are offering is organic African Red Rooibos lattes and frappes. Red Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and has 10 times more antioxidants than green tea. It has the richness of honey and is amazingly smooth and sweet. We handcraft these lattes with our espresso machine and froth the milk just like our coffee based lattes, which produces a tea-based latte that will rival our coffee based lattes. We also serve organic iced teas and tea-based smoothie drinks as well.
5. Do you also serve craft beers?
At this time we are not offering any alcoholic beverages.
6. Can you tell us about your food?
We have a really fun and exciting food menu. We wanted to hit that ‘sweet spot’ of uniqueness and yet offer familiar items that people will enjoy every day. Our food philosophy is pretty simple: 'familiar food with a gourmet twist'. We want people to feel comfortable and recognize the ingredients in their food but we try to make everything very unique with our house-made sauces and jams, such as our sweet onion jam, fig spread, pesto mayo, etc. We choose the freshest and highest quality ingredients we can find and we have a lot of very healthy food but are definitely not the obscure 'sprout place'. We use organic when possible and we are using many products from local companies. Our menu consists of gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, flatbreads, appetizers, breakfast items and of course, delicious bagels and baked goods. We do not serve fried foods but have instead created some amazing baked goods such as gourmet baked donuts, baked potato chips and kale chips. Other than our coffee and tea offerings we have a great variety of hand crafted sodas, smoothies and non-alcoholic cocktails.
7. Can you describe some of the specific food items that you offer?
Some of our most popular items are Waffle Boats, which are about the size of a hot dog and are concave to hold ingredients. We have an Empty Boat, which is served with our house-made caramel butterscotch syrup and whipped cream; the Banana Boat, which has Nutella and bananas with syrup; Strawberries and Cream Boat, which has fresh strawberries on a bed of strawberry yogurt sauce and The Scrambled Egg and Cheese Boat. Two very popular breakfast sandwiches are The UB Sandwich and The Bird. The UB Sandwich is served with your choice of a gourmet English muffin or one of our fresh baked NY bagels with scrambled egg, cheese, and your choice of applewood smoked baked, chicken apple sausage, turkey, or Black Forest ham. The Bird has scrambled egg, fresh deli turkey breast, provolone, cheddar, strawberry jam and is pressed on ciabatta bread. We offer many other breakfast items such as a Black Bean Burrito, Scrambled Grits bowl, South of the Border Rice bowls, Yogurt Pots and Steel Cut Oats.
Two of our most popular salads are the UB Signature Salad - filled with lots of fresh fruits, pecans, and grilled chicken breast with poppyseed dressing, and our Mediterranean Salad with romaine, spinach, grilled chicken breast, feta, and kalamata olives with a balsamic vinaigrette. We have both hot and cold sandwiches, one of my favorites being The Park Avenue made with Black Forest ham, housemade sweet onion jam, and melted cheddar cheese on an artisan Asiago bread. We have a great selection of Shareables, which include a fresh fruit and cheese plate, house-made salsa and blue corn chips, house-made roasted red pepper hummus with marinated feta and served with warm pita points, and our house-made guacamole served with blue corn chips. We have vegetarian options such as our Black Bean Burger with spicy orange yogurt sauce and our gourmet PBJ with organic peanut butter, banana, granny smith apple, and mango chutney served on an artisan white bread. We have tofu available as a substitute for meat in any of our salads. We also have a few vegan options. We are very proud of our kid's menu too and we think parents will be thrilled with the quality and selection of healthy options that we think will appeal to their children.