Originally published in print in Parent News magazine in March 2011…
I have to tell you right away that if you read this month’s review you’re only getting half the fun. In conjunction with the review of Larry’s Beans I also filmed a video interview with a local purveyor of them. Will Abbott at Coastal Sports in Murrells Inlet carries a great selection of fresh beans from Larry’s Beans. Check out my blog for the digital copy of this article and the interview. Me and Will talk about Larry’s Beans, handguns, and the pending zombie apocalypse.
On Will’s advice I initially checked out Larry’s Beans. It was founded by Larry Larson in 1994. Aside from his love of quality coffee and desire to bring an “authentic” coffee experience to every drinker, Larry is an avid advocate for social equality in coffee production. He founded Cooperative Coffees in 1999, “the first and only cooperative of independent roasters importing 100% Fair Trade coffee directly from Fair Trade farming cooperatives.”
Larry seems to be part of the new class of cause conscious businessmen. He’s not a non-profit, but he uses his business, influence, and profit to make the world a better place. Even a cursory glance at the company website shows this. There’s an entire laundry list of items I could tell you about to illustrate the company’s support for and efforts to promote sustainability…
- the coffee bags (with really cool graphics) are biodegradable
- locally brewed biofuel for their vehicles
- solar heating and reclaimed materials at HQ
- harvested rainwater
- coffee and food waste composting
- education of the consumers (like me…and you)
- and so much more (so you should check out his website and see)
While at Coastal Sports I grabbed one of the company brochures. Most coffee company brochures talk about the coffee and how wonderful it is and not much else. Normally, that’s the way to go. The brochure for Larry’s Beans is just the opposite. Sure, it lists the various flavors and single origins available, but not much else about the coffee. There aren’t paragraphs of flowery prose about flavors and profiles. Larry knows his beans are good and doesn’t feel the need to go over that information incessantly. Chances are, if you like quality beans, you already know what you’re looking for. Instead, the brochure, on both sides, folds out into a huge layout of what I think of as ‘Larry HQ’. It’s where the magic takes place. On one side is the interior with the exterior on the other side. Honestly, it’s worth ordering a bag of beans just to get a brochure. I’m going to frame one to go on my coffee wall at home.
To prep for the interview and a proper review I e-mailed Larry-ville and requested the usual samples. I always do this because, aside from the coffee itself, it gives me a great chance to check out the company. They sent me some great coffee (Ugandan Peaberry and Mama Nile Ethiopia). They also sent it really fast with a cool tote bag as well. Score several brownie points for Larry’s Beans.
The coffee itself was great. I am a big fan of African coffee. Anyone who’s taken the time to have an “authentic” coffee experience usually has a favorite origin or blend profile they prefer above all others. For me, it’s the African, and on a continent that big you can get a lot of variety from their coffees. Larry’s Beans has a very wide selection if you prefer something else. I sampled the 3 Moon Peru coffee at Coastal Sports and enjoyed it as well.
So, you might be wondering if there was anything I didn’t like about the company or the coffee. You know, I really can’t think of anything. I suppose it would’ve been cooler if Larry had knocked on the door and handed me the coffee and sat down for a chat. I understand though. He lives a good four hours away from my house. It still would’ve been really cool though. That’s pretty much the only sort of negative note. So be sure to drop by Coastal Sports in Murrells Inlet and buy some.