The Chocolate Bean
280 Meeting St
Cary, NC 27518
I’m lucky enough to do a lot of my work via my laptop, so I’ve been looking around for a local coffeeshop with wifi. I’ve been shopping around, and discovered that Borders, Barnes&Noble and Starbucks all charge for internet. (I don’t know if this is a new worldwide trend or if I’m just spoiled by the free wifi in Chinese Starbucks but it’s pretty lame either way.)
Stick and I are fond of Caribou Coffee for the drive-though, mostly because we love Caribou’s Eli. He is wide awake when we aren’t. Also he uses complete sentences in the drive-through.
Then I discovered The Chocolate Bean. The Chocolate Bean looks a bit like Cafe Zarah in Beijing, with the monochrome modern furniture, but without the odd sandwiches, and with a gourmet chocolate counter and a gelato bar like this one we visited in Rome. It’s like a hip living room.
I’m not a coffee purist. I know some people think that adding hazelnut and caramel and amaretto and so forth dilutes the flavour of the beans, and to those people, I say, hello? Do you not realize you can drink coffeedrink desserts all day? You are SO missing out! Anyway, the Chocolate Bean has a long list of specialty coffees or you can add flavors to regular drinks. In the interests of a fair review, of course, I had to try a bunch of coffees, and the boring Americano is nice too, but a cappuccino with hazelnut is definitely my favorite. The prices are better than Starbucks, too.
The Chocolate Bean doesn’t have Caramel Apple Crack but they do have my beloved pomegranate green tea, New York-texture bagels (not bread with a hole in the middle), and smoothies. Did I mention the gelato? Very Meg-friendly!
Overall, good coffee and snacks in a laid-back atmosphere. The only way it could be any better is if it didn’t look out over the parking lot. Now, I think I was supposed to be getting some work done…
Edit 4/23: The Chocolate Bean will start offering paninis in May! Can’t decide if I should get them with smoothies like this Xidan cafe, or with gelato like our old favorite, Andiamo’s in Amherst.