March 26, 2014

Kicks! Quicks | The Roasted Bean a cafe Myrtle Beach has been waiting for

A few weeks ago in this space, Tory Tall told coffee lovers to rejoice because a new cafe had just opened up on the north end of Myrtle Beach. I’m telling you to rejoice again, because now there’s another one, and this one is on the south end.

A few weeks ago in this space, Tory Tall told coffee lovers to rejoice because a new cafe had just opened up on the north end of Myrtle Beach. I’m telling you to rejoice again, because now there’s another one, and this one is on the south end.

The Roasted Bean held its soft opening on March 15 and is planning its grand opening on April 5, but that hasn’t stopped folks from flowing in the door and having a cup of joe. I was there for an hour and a half on a Thursday late morning and met two of the cafe’s regulars.

How does a cafe that hasn’t even had its grand opening yet have regulars, you ask? The answer, in my opinion, is threefold.

First, The Roasted Bean is in the same location as what was formerly Murray’s and Mike’s, which was formerly known as Tea Time. The cafe space is owned by Deb Perrone who used to run Tea Time, then rented the space to brothers Murray and Mike Stahler before they switched locations. Perrone now rents the space to Myrtle Beach residents TJ and Mike Weeden, and some of the regulars of Tea Time have stuck with the space despite the new ownership and name.

As well they should have.

I can’t speak to how good the coffee at Tea Time was, having never tried it, but I can sure speak to how good The Roasted Bean’s coffee is and I have no doubt it’s part of the reason those regulars keep coming back. During my first visit I had three cups of the Colombian medium roast and would have taken the entire pot had TJ let me.

Thirdly is TJ herself. She has an infectious, warm personality and greets everyone who walks in (even a yellow Lab named Hudson) with a smile and a warm welcome (and, in Hudson’s case, a dog biscuit).

The cafe is run by the Weeden family and the atmosphere is so cozy that I think all cafes should at least be operated by families, if not also owned by them. It’s already a winning strategy for The Roasted Bean.

“It’s friendly and nice,” said Tom Singleton, who TJ was quick to tell me was her first customer ever.

Now, more about the coffee.

The most important thing you need to know about it is that it’s roasted on site, right there in the shop (hence the name, The Roasted Bean.) Now, if you’ve never had freshly roasted coffee, you quite literally don’t know what you’re missing. The process is fascinating – TJ is happy to give quick demonstrations – and the outcome is one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

Since she can roast her own beans, the variety of flavors at The Roasted Bean can change weekly. I’ve tried the Colombian medium roast and the Nicaraguan medium roast, both winners but the Colombian takes the cake. I bought an 8-ounce bag of beans to grind and brew at home, easily the best decision I’ve made related to coffee since I got my first job in high school at a local coffee shop.

I let a few of my friends sample the Colombian at home and they immediately exclaimed, “It’s so smooth!” One even admitted that thought he normally adds cream and sugar to his coffee, he didn’t think he would with this particular brew.

“It’s so personal, it’s fun!” TJ said about roasting her own beans. “I think it keeps it local. We could order our beans, but this keeps it personal and local.”

To keep me from raving about the coffee, I’ll also tell you the cafe offers bagels (delivered daily from Benjamin’s Bakery in Surfside Beach), croissants, egg sandwiches and bakery goodies, as well as iced coffees, hot chocolate, sweet tea and juice.

You can get cream cheese, Nutella, avocado or peanut butter on your bagel or English muffin, but there is a slight upcharge.

There’s also a small TV above the cafe that is usually turned to news, but TJ is happy to turn it off upon request if customers are looking for a quiet place to read, chat or just enjoy a cup of brew. There’s free Wifi available, as well.

“I’d like to stay open until sunset eventually, so people can stroll through after the movies or so groups can use the space for music, or art, or Bible studies,” TJ said.

For right now, hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but those may change after the grand opening, she said. Her ultimate goal is to open at 5:30 a.m. and the only day the cafe is closed is on Sundays.

My only quibble with The Roasted Bean is that it’s a bit pricey, for my budget at least. I’d love to swing by there every morning for a bagel and a large coffee, but doing so would cost me about $7 ($3 for the bagel and $3.50 for the coffee).

An 8-ounce bag of coffee beans cost me about $8.

Considering the price of coffee at larger coffee chains like Starbucks (and considering I think the coffee tastes heads and shoulders above Starbucks’) I can’t complain about the prices beyond not being able to eat there daily.

I guess I’ll just settle for every other day, then.

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