Vegan Goods and Quality Coffee: The Bean

As an English major and an avid reader, Strand Bookstore in Union Square is by far my favorite place to be when I’m not working or in school. With books priced as low as $1, I always end up walking out with a bag filled with great literature that amounts to less than $20. I went out to Strand this past Monday to pick up some readings and caught a glimpse of an unfamiliar café named The Bean. I’m a 100% loyal customer to Starbucks and their caffeinated drinks, so buying coffee elsewhere is always a rare thing for me. However, my experience at The Bean has completely changed my narrow-minded view on coffee.

Decorated with pieces of art spread across its brick walls featuring couch-style seating along the windows, The Bean exudes a vintage flare with an air of artsy-smart. I was greeted by friendly waitresses who recommend some of the café’s highlight drinks and desserts. I decided upon the Mona Lisa, an original frappe drink mixed with espresso, frappe mix, and milk. The Mona Lisa comes in different flavors–caramel, white chocolate, and mocha– and I decided to go with the mocha for my first. The frappe was a phenomenal blend of sweet and creamy, with the deep coffee taste of espresso–perfect for a hot day in the city. Frappes are drinks that people tend to consume only once in a while because of their high calorie count; however, the Mona Lisa is a low-fat drink that tastes just as sweet as a regular frappe, freeing me from the guilt of calorie binging.

I was also given a chai latte after having been told that The Bean took great pride in their chai. I’m not a big fan of chai, especially because of the notoriously spicy taste. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised by The Bean’s take on the drink. Using the best blend of chai tea from David Rio, The Bean’s chai latte isn’t overpowering, but rather filled with a sweet milky-creamy flavor that I crave during the cold winters. If you’ve been holding back on chai for the same reasons I did, I guarantee The Bean’s chai will turn your chai-empty life upside down. With four different types available (original, vanilla, non-fat, and decaf), I’m eager return to The Bean so that I can indulge in my new favorite drink.

The Bean also offers a wide selection of baked goods, sandwiches, and salads, all of which are vegan friendly as well. I had the chance to try one of their sunshine cupcakes, and I absolutely loved the fluffy, light, and moist cake and its frosting. Everything in The Bean is definitely healthy and perfect for vegans who want to enjoy a range of delicious food and desserts. Usually packed to the brim with customers, The Bean is a great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with a good read or catch up with a friend. With its friendly service and quality foods and drinks, The Bean is perfect for café junkies like me, and I will definitely be taking another trip to Union Square for their chai latte.

Visit The Bean with a friend to get a free latte or cappuccino using this coupon from the Campus Clipper!

Becky Kim, Queens College, Read my blog and follow me on Twitter
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