Oregon coffee-chain ‘The Human Bean’ to open


Matthew Brown

The Human Bean, a new drive-thru coffee chain located at 1713 East Main St., will open in early September.

Emma Andrus, Editor-in-Chief

The city of Kent will welcome a new member to its coffee scene family in early September.

The Human Bean is a drive-thru coffee franchise that originated in Southern Oregon in 1988 and now has more than 300 current or in-development locations in 25 states across the U.S, according to the company’s website.

The Kent location will be at 1713 East Main St. in the plaza that houses ACME Fresh Market and Ming’s Bubble Tea.

Ron Watson, a North Canton resident and Kent State alum, is the chief operating officer of The Human Bean’s Northeast Ohio locations, including Canton, Streetsboro and soon, Green and Kent.

“I partnered up with my sister and brother-in-law, and they live out in Southern Oregon,” Watson said. “We would go to The Human Bean every summer, obviously a few times, because there were plenty of them there. And so we decided to try The Human Bean here in Ohio.”

The state’s first location, in Canton, opened in 2017.

In addition to coffee, The Human Bean has a variety of beverage and food options, including teas, real fruit smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, muffins, cookies and more. They also have menu items made with Ghiradelli and Steven Smith tea products.

“It’s just giving a choice over the local coffee chains that are here now and everyone seems to run into. But they’ll find a nice variety of products,” Watson said. “It’s just a different variety over the local chain coffee shops — the national chains.”

Of the variety, Watson admits he has a few favorites.

“We have a snowy mocha, which is a white chocolate drink,” he said. “We have a mexi mocha, which is kind of a spicy chocolate one, more of a dark chocolate. Our strawberry banana fruit smoothie is very popular. Frozen hot chocolate is a very popular one.”

Aside from being smaller in size and offering more variety, Watson said The Human Bean stands out for its partnerships with communities.

The company owns Portland Roasting, a coffee roaster, and has relationships with farmers in Costa Rica and Guatemala, who they buy their coffee beans from directly.

“In return, to keep the quality up and to have this relationship, The Human Bean will partner with Portland Roasting and go back into these communities,” Watson said. “They’ll put money back into through development of irrigation systems, building schools, paying teachers salaries for years, anything they can do to improve the lives of these folks in these communities.”

Watson said the location aims to quietly launch during the first week of September, and once it’s more established and running smoothly, hold a grand opening complete with giveaways, merchandise, freebies, discounts and more.

“We’re excited to be here in Kent,” Watson said. “We’ve got quite a number of students already hired. We’re thinking it’ll be a pretty good success for student employment as well as our business here with students. It should work out nicely.”

The location’s hours will be Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Emma Andrus is editor-in-chief. Contact her at [email protected].