>>1207 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene
>>1820 Northwest Blvd., Coeur d'Alene
(Review by Jesi Gaboury, Images from Lean Bean Facebook Page)
“You wanna go where everybody knows your name.” For me this exists in the most innocent and unlikely of places, the parking lot of the store that I will always lovingly refer to as the Sherman IGA (now Petersons Family Foods or whatever...). A hot pink super-sized coffee stand sits unobtrusively between the '70s style grocery store and the only liquor store downtown has to offer. This is the Lean Bean.
Although I can't quite pinpoint when the “Great Coffee Stand Boom of Northern Idaho” hit, the abundance of these types of establishments make your non-fat vanilla latte accessible from the comfort of your car and often exist on your route to work. Unfortunately, the nature of these types of businesses sometimes include high volumes of customers, and in many cases the quality suffers.
After finding myself employed at various coffee shops throughout my early 20's, I consider myself a bit of a snob when it comes to my coffee. In the spirit of supporting local commerce, I prefer not to visit the strip mall, cookie cutter, super giant coffee haus which shall remain nameless. I am absolutely unwilling to sacrifice the deliciousness of my beverage for the convenience of a drive through stand! Enter “The Bean”...
Instead of a typical review, I'll just run you through a typical visit for me, an enthusiastic regular of 3+ years.
I am greeted at the window by Kendall, who has been working at the Lean Bean off and on since she was just a sassy little teenager. I no longer have to outline the specifics of my usual order for the veteran staff but for the benefit of the reader it is a 16 oz iced quad soy latte with ½ the normal amount of caramel sauce. (told you I was picky).
I'm famished also, so I decide to add the infamous Cali Bagel (Your choice of bagel flavor, cream cheese, tomato, avocado, and black pepper) with bacon (.50 extra), on a whole wheat bagel. About 3 minutes later, after enjoying some delightful chatter with the staff, I am handed my green re-usable BPA-free plastic thermo cup now full of delicious drink and a small paper bag containing a fantastic smelling sandwich. Not bad for just under $8.
Sarah Berger trains her employees rigorously to ensure that they're well-versed in the espresso arts and it really shows. The coffee is always great. The food choices are mostly sandwich based, but manage to be inventive and yummy. Choices range from healthy to super sinful and with several varieties of bagel flavors as well as croissants for bread options, their breakfasts and lunches are a great deal.
The second location opened earlier this year and is situated on busy Northwest Blvd and is equally as rad as the original.
All in all, I recommend, I love, and I'll see you there!