More Than a Cup of Coffee: ‘Bean & Bean’

How a beloved small business in New York City has made many new changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Samantha Cavusoglu

Bean & Bean has been a favorite spot for many students looking for a place to work and drink coffee. “Bean & Bean has an environment that is easy in which to study, and the workers are very nice and helpful,” said Kyle Chen ’21. Now, the coffee that customers love is available for purchase online and in person at one of their stores.

During my years as a Bronx Science student, I have become accustomed to spending long periods of time in coffee shops, doing a good portion of my studying with a large caffeinated beverage and light music helping to keep me focused on my studies. Bean & Bean Coffee in Little Neck, Queens, offers not only the ideal study spot but a variety of delicious, freshly brewed coffee options. Many students and individuals throughout New York City have made a habit of spending time at Bean & Bean’s four locations: Little Neck, Wall Street, Chelsea, and Fort Lee. 

“I love going to Bean & Bean because it’s near where I live and it’s very convenient. Their coffee is strong and they have an amazing latte which persuades me to keep coming,” said Lucia Cho ’21 who frequently visits the Little Neck location. 

As a small family-run business in New York City, Bean & Bean survived the tough beginning stage that accompanies starting a small business in the city when the first location in Wall Street opened in 2008 and has grown to be loved by their many customers. Bean & Bean’s coffee is roasted fresh at their Little Neck location, a rare feature and one of the many indicators of Bean & Bean’s authenticity. 

Although Bean & Bean can no longer seat its normal flood of customers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the mother-daughter duo behind Bean & Bean, Rachel and Jiyoon Han, have been working on ways to continue to provide the same local coffee and experience to their loyal customers. 

Jiyoon Han understands the significance of Bean & Bean’s presence in the city, having grown up in Bayside, Queens and graduated from Stuyvesant high school herself. 

“I’m a proud New Yorker and a Queens gal. I love that our roastery is in Queens where I grew up, and where my immigrant family began a new life in the U.S. after moving from Korea,” Jiyoon said. “There are a lot of coffee roasters in Brooklyn but really not many in Queens, so I’m happy that we can roast locally and serve fresh coffee to my people! Coffee is how a lot of people start their days; it’s what people look forward to waking up to. I love that this cup of coffee can connect people and cultures, and bring mini moments of joy. I think it’s important to always be true to where you come from and give back to the place that made you, you.”

This signature sloth is represented on many of Bean & Bean’s products, signifying their partnership with The Sloth Institute. (Samantha Cavusoglu)

Now, those eager to continue to get their fix of Bean & Bean’s coffee can turn online. Via Bean & Bean’s website, anyone can shop from a variety of fresh, sustainable, fair trade, and organic coffee options. 

“Starting an online business was almost an imperative. We were closed for nearly 150 days and given that we were nearly completely reliant on our brick and mortar business sales, we had to be innovative and think about how to keep moving coffee through the pandemic and beyond,” Jiyoon said. 

The innovation of Bean & Bean goes above and beyond, with all of the new coffee options showing the image of a sloth, representing their partnership with The Sloth Institute. One percent of their new online sales will be donated to help caring for sloths. By partnering with The Sloth Institute, Bean & Bean is making sure that their coffee helps to save the environment and combat deforestation.  

Besides being sourced with the environment in mind, Bean & Bean’s coffee also fights an important battle for gender equality within the industry. Because of the variety of workers involved in the process of serving you your favorite coffee, Bean & Bean has a mission to make their coffee as female-powered as possible.  

By trying a taste of Bean & Bean’s delicious coffee options, keeping up with the Bean & Bean Instagram page, or visiting a shop near you, you can support these powerful missions and enjoy coffee that gives back in so many ways.

I love that this cup of coffee can connect people and cultures, and bring mini moments of joy. I think it’s important to always be true to where you come from and give back to the place that made you, you,” said Jiyoon Han.