In today’s world, inspiration often doesn’t come from the office or the home. Creative breakthroughs, meetings, collaborative conversations are happening more an more under the low lights of a cafe or coffee bar where ideas can flow as easily as the delicious warm (or cold!) beverages being poured by the baristas. Places like Joe Bean Coffee Roasters are becoming places where people can slow down, appreciate a well-prepared, slow brewed cup of coffee in contrast with the fast-paced world around them. These spots are becoming the anchors, the simple foundation behind the notion that our best work, our best conversations, and our clearest thoughts come in places where we can be with our fellow human and appreciate the finer things in life.
The first impression you have when stepping into Joe Bean is the tremendous attention to detail in a small space. This tiny room, filled with a rustic elegance, beckons you to slow down and enjoy. The piece that I noticed most was the fact that it was almost designed for spontaneous meetings and conversations with strangers. A place where two people might quickly become friends over a good cup of coffee, a craft beer or a glass of wine.
Owner Ben Turiano was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about his business, and the city of Rochester.
“It’s been 5 years this May since the bar has been here, but we’ve been roasting longer than that. Our journey is one that’s taken a long time to develop. We got into roasting about 5 years before we opened the bar knowing very little about the world of coffee.”
“What got me excited is, what if we could have a [coffee] bar and maybe I come over to you and interact with you about the coffee, or about whatever. The whole idea is geared to trying to get people to talk to each other. I want you to feel comfortable as a customer asking me a question about your drink or how we prepare it, but I also wanted to naturally get people speaking to each other. I think the temptation is to stay in your bubble, but I like to think places like this get people to say ‘let’s get a little more aware of our surroundings.'”
I asked Ben about how he felt the coffee bar was making a difference in Rochester.
“I can say that I’m excited about what I do, but to say that I’m making a difference [in Rochester], that feels a bit presumptuous,” Ben humbly said with a laugh. “I think the biggest thing that I can do is try to be passionate and creative myself and create an environment where we are presenting that passion in the hopes that people pick that up and take it with them when they leave.”
“The nice thing about Rochester or any city of our size is, we don’t have everything. When you find something that’s unique here, you kind of connect with it a little more, versus a place like New York City where there’s a lot of everything.”
I asked Ben about the “parklet” project that will begin shortly in front of Joe Bean. Parklets are a relatively new urban greenspace idea, creating tiny, spontaneous park-like stations for people passing through. Places to sit and read, relax with friends or just stop and sip a beverage on a sunny day are common parklet features. They balance nature and pavement, making a more attractive outdoor space for passers by.
“I think Rochester has some issues as far as layout that will have to be overcome at some point. I walk almost every day and I can say that some places invite that and some don’t. That really ties in with the parklet as a way of bringing green space to our streets to make things feel a little bit better when you’re walking or biking or just on the street. I think there’s a lot of potential here [in Rochester], there’s a lot of people doing great things… it’s gonna take work, but it’s worth it.”
I couldn’t agree more Ben. 😉