Already established in Austin, the California coffee chain is known for its kosher products. In fact, all of its Southern California, Nevada and Arizona locations are 100% kosher and meet the highest standards of kashruth observance. However, since expanding to over 800 locations in 23 countries, including Israel, not all “Coffee Bean” locations are completely kosher.
Bill Duffy, who operates eight locations in Austin, says 100% kosher cafes were not feasible for business in Austin where the Jewish population is relatively small.
“We don’t really see a spike in kosher business here in Austin, although we have had people seek us out for our kosher principles,” he said.
What does it take to make a kosher cup of coffee, or for that matter a kosher danish? While coffee beans and tea leaves are inherently kosher, the process of drying, decaffeination and flavoring can make them questionable purchases for Jews. With pastries, the usual rules apply including those concerning animal products, proper preparations and fit amalgams that exclude such things as meat and dairy combinations. The safest bet is that if a certified rabbi oversees the process the food is guaranteed kosher.
Aaron Mutal, an observant Jew who splits his time between Israel and Los Angeles, understands the appeal of a thoroughly kosher cafe and enjoys the availability he has in the Holy Land and in Southern California.
“At Starbucks you can grab a cup of coffee no problem, but the food is another matter,” said Mutal, “so it’s good to know I have a place like ‘Coffee Bean,’ where I can have a guaranteed kosher snack.”
Asked whether or not Houston locations will be entirely kosher, the corporate offices in Los Angeles were unwilling to comment, but Duffy said that when The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf arrives in Houston in 2013 it wants to do so in a big way.
The truth is it should relatively easy for them to be 100% kosher in Houston as their cost would be minimal and they are considering teaming up with a bakery of which there are many.
Looking forward to enjoying the Coffee Bean in Houston.