If you follow my Foodie adventures on Twitter you already know that I have a massive crush on Larry and his sustainable beans. It's pretty serious. I consistently tweeted at Dean Ogan from Rocky Top Hospitality to have a frequent buyer card at the Daily Planet Cafe, where my obsession for Larry's Beans was cultivated. I was frequenting the Larry's Beans Coffee Bar at the Daily Planet Cafe on my way to work in the morning. Fine, you caught me. Sometimes I even stopped in for an afternoon brew. Thankfully, now you can buy ten coffees and get the eleventh free!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Larry's Beans, this Raleigh coffee roasting company was started by a sidetracked graduate student studying economics at North Carolina State University. Larry Larson was obsessed with coffee and worked as a roaster in Raleigh's first coffee house. He then started his own coffee house and roastery called Java Jive, which is now owned by his sister. Larry shifted his focus solely to the roasting business and soon Larry's Beans was born.
Larry takes time with his roasts and loves unique coffee. He appreciates the delicious flavors in coffee and is dedicated to supporting farmers and sustainable agriculture practices. Larry's Beans became a founding member of Cooperative Coffees, the first and still the only U.S. cooperative of independent roasters exporting fair trade beans directly from farmers in 15 countries. All of the beans are shade grown and organic, then slow-roasted to bring out every note of indigenous flavor. During my tour of Larry's Beans I was able to see hundreds of burlap bags filled with green coffee beans from multiple countries.
Not only is Larry's Beans dedicated to supporting farmers and sustainability, the company wants to make the world a cleaner place by starting in their community. The company's roasting facility and transportation is energy efficient. Kevin Bobal, Larry's partner and Vice President of Operations, got an old school bus and converted it to run on used vegetable oil. The oil for the "veggie bus" is picked up from local restaurants, donut shops and a peanut roasting facility. All Larry's Beans sold in the Triangle is delivered by the bus. The roasting facility is also sustainable. The roasting plant's roof contains a solar "clearstory," which saves on power and gives the plant natural sunlight. Solar collectors are located on the roof that heat the administrative office's radiant floors. Larry even installed dual flush toilets and two rain water harvesting tanks, which are used to provide water for the bathrooms. He is constantly finding ways to make the world a better, cleaner place.
You can also fill up your car at the roasting facility with biodiesel produced by Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
After filling up your car with biodiesel, you won't go home empty handed. You'll most likely walk away with one of Larry's Beans fifteen blends, fifteen single origin coffees or six decafs. One of my favorites is the bold and rich Cowboy Blend, which is always at the Daily Planet Cafe. During my tour of the roasting facility, I tried the Grand Turk's Blend. This blend of Ethiopian coffees is rich, fruity and exotic with a chocolate and bourbon finish. I enjoyed a cup with Tanya and Kyley at the end of my tour of Larry's Beans.
Larry's Beans is now offering cold brew coffee concentrate, which is cold steeped 24 hours, smooth and full bodied. I sampled the delicious cold brew and used it to make a spiked coffee milkshake. You can also make iced and hot coffee, or simply use your imagination to come up with a new coffee cocktail. You can purchase the cold brew online in 16 ounce bottles.
After your first sip of Larry's Beans you will enter into a coffee love affair. Thankfully, Larry's Beans is sold in numerous retail stores throughout the Greater Raleigh area like Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Fresh Market, Taylor's BP and the Heritage Market. Events at Larry's Beans are also always a huge hit. The roasting facility opens about four times a year for public tours. Be on the look out for the next tour in the spring. You can also come out on November 10 for the Comparative Cupping and Coffee Workshop, where you will explore how different processing techniques impact flavor profiles.