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 amount to less than $20. I had gone out to Strand this past Monday to pick up some readings and I 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 selection on coffee.
Decorated with pieces of art spread across its brick walls and couch-styled seating across the windows, The Bean exudes a vintage flare with an air of artsy-smart. I was greeted with friendly waitresses who were willing to recommend some of their highlighted café drinks and desserts. I was given the Mona Lisa, a distinctly original frappe drink mixed with espresso, frappe mix, and milk. The Mona Lisa comes in different flavors of caramel, white chocolate, and mocha and I had decided to go with the mocha for my first Mona Lisa. This frappe was a phenomenal blend of sweet, creamy, with the deep coffee taste of espresso, perfect for a hot day in the city. Frappes are usually drinks that people tend to consume once in a while because of their high calories; however, the Mona Lisa is a low-fat drink that tastes just as sweet as a regular frappe, freeing myself from the guilt of consuming calories through my drinks.
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 spicy taste within the tea that it’s famous for. However, the chai latte from The Bean blew my mind away and I instantly became their hardcore fan. Using the best blend of chai tea from David Rio, The Bean’s chai latte isn’t overpowering with spice, but rather filled with a sweet milky-creamy flavor that I crave during the cold winters. If you’ve never big a chai lover because of the same reasons as me, The Bean’s chai will be the turning point of your chai-empty life. With four different types available (original, vanilla, non-fat, and decaf), I’m more than willing to 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 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 health savvy and perfect for vegans who want to enjoy a big range of delicious food and dessert. Constantly filled with customers, The Bean is a great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with a good read or to catch up with a friend. With friendly service, quality foods and drinks, The Bean is perfect for café junkies like me and I would definitely take another trip to Union Square for their chai latte.