Back in 2006, The Coffee Bean and The Tea Leaf first opened its doors at the Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) store. Thus far, The Coffee Bean and The Tea Leaf is the first and longest international franchise to welcome customers at the BIA. Recently, the store got an upgrade to a more slicker and contemporary look.
Gone are the old darker wood and in comes a brighter and slicker touch. The outlet now has more grab-and-go food and beverages on the menu. Increased seating capacity and a larger kitchen. You could say it gives a sort of a new California vibe now. The Coffee Bean is also equipped with a full walk-in chiller facility.
The Coffee Bean follows the philosophy of being a home away from home – comfort, and familiarity no matter where you go in the world. The airport store also aims to incorporate this outlook.
In the beginning, there was coffee
In 1966, Herbert Hyman and his wife honeymooned in Sweden, where the pair discovered quality coffee. This compelled Hyman to import, roast and sell gourmet coffee back in the United States. So, in 1966, Brentwood in Los Angeles served as the first venue for the Coffee Bean. Although technically the company was founded in 1963.
By around 1987, an employee had brought a blender to its store in Westwood. He used the blender to mix coffee extract, together with ice and chocolate powder. This resulted in the birth of its now famous signature ice blended drinks. For those of you who don’t know, this drink served as the predecessor to Starbucks’ Frappuccino.
Fast forward to the mid 90’s, Singaporean brothers Victor Sassoon and Sunny Sassoon bought the Asian franchise rights. Following this, the Sassoons opened 29 outlets in Singapore and Malaysia in just 2 years. This was almost as many outlets the Hymans had during their 35 years of owning the brand. The brothers eventually acquired the parent company of the brand with the help of Severin Wunderman. Even today, International Coffee & Tea, LLC continues to be the holding company.
From Maitland Crescent to BIA
Today, over 3 million customers visit the outlets each day. Of course, it wasn’t until 2007 that Sri Lanka had the Coffee Bean experience. The chain opening it’s very first outlet in Maitland Crescent. Commenting on the brand’s presence in Sri Lanka, Roman Scott, Chairman of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, had this to say.
“We remained committed to Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka was committed to us. We were the first international brand to come into Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war and although the times have changed for the better, our customer base remains as loyal as ever – exactly in proportion to the quality of product and service we’ve maintained since then.“
The refurbished Coffee Bean outlet at the BIA was declared opened recently, along with the attendance of a few dignitaries. Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva mentioned the government’s efforts to bring the airport to the highest of standards. “With the increasing tourist infrastructure, this airport is going to be very important and this store will contribute greatly towards this goal”, he added further.