Bean N’ Leaf Cafe March 21 Brings Specialty Coffee and Creativity To Downtown Windsor
Cafe March 21, the newest addition to downtown Windsor, specializing in hand-drip and cold brew coffee, opened for business on March 21, 2015. This creative coffee shop, located at 480 Pelissier Street, offers everything from top quality coffee, iced beverages, and various teas to delicious desserts and interesting slogans throughout in a cozy atmosphere.
Owner Henry Kim, has transformed this building into a complete coffee and dessert cafe, where coffee addicts can share their love for coffee in a modern workspace perfect for meetings or studying. Kim came up with the idea for the cafe when he couldn’t find many local places where students can study, friends can chat, or quick business meetings can take place in a relaxing atmosphere. He found a great spot on Pelissier and left his job in January to open a cozy cafe for people to enjoy in downtown Windsor.
“A lot of people ask me, why March 21? I opened up the café on that date and it is also the date of my parent’s anniversary. My dream is to have more shops around the city and name them: April, May, June until I fill all 12 months. That is my dream and final goal. Always dream big!” he says.
Kim knew that it is difficult for a small local business to compete with bigger chain companies. He wanted Windsor to enjoy a more diverse coffee culture not just regular brewed coffee. So, rather than compete, he chose to be different by offering a unique pour-over cold brewing method (also known as Dutch coffee). He loved to travel and noticed in bigger cities many places offering pour-over coffee (hand-drip) service. In addition to research on the Internet, Kim learned his coffee brewing skills from his father who has years of experience as a barista. “We were always brewing at home as a family and decided why not start this as a business because there are not many places doing pour-over,” explains Kim.
The pour-over method, a twelve hour process, is special because you can taste the full, fresh flavour of coffee beans brewed into every single cup. “It takes time, takes the bitterness away, and tastes different from regular coffee,” says Kim. The cafe also offers espresso, lattes, cappuccino, mocha, and iced coffee where hot brew is poured directly over ice.
Colonial Coffee is a local coffee roaster where premium Arabica coffee beans are sourced for Bean N’ Leaf. The coffee beans are fresh and ground inside the cafe. “We grind them just before brewing so the coffee is fresh,” says Kim. Ground coffee beans immediately oxidize and the oils inside start diluting with moisture in the air resulting in a steady loss of flavour. At Bean N’ Leaf every effort is made to deliver rich coffee flavour and freshness.
All desserts are home-made right inside the cafe. Examples of the fresh selection of desserts include rich brownies, light fluffy macaroons, and crisp biscotti that customers rave about. A selection of fresh cold sandwiches is something the cafe is thinking about adding. However, there is one available on the menu at the moment that features an omelet topped with ham and cheese.
Bean N’ Leaf also offers a quiet upstairs so that students can sip good coffee in a nice study spot. Tamara Adler recently completed law school and stops by the cafe often to study for the Bar exam. “I have a lot of reading to do and it’s really peaceful here and the brownies are delicious. There is a big bench upstairs so I can spread out all my work,” she says. Recently Vince Iting and Christina Nguyen studied upstairs for the first time, “We’ve been here a handful of times and didn’t even know there was an upstairs. This is our first time studying here. No one else is up here so it’s quiet. As more people find out about it there shouldn’t be an issue as long as everyone respects each other when they’re studying,” says Iting.
Bean N’ Leaf is a creative space that definitely reflects Kim’s talents, passions, and personality. The cafe’s decor highlights its uniqueness. Paper coffee cups located next to the condiments feature hand drawings on their sides created by Kim and his girlfriend Claire, “It started with doodles on one or two cups, people always ask if I’m an artist but I’m not really. Customers liked the cups so we kept doodling,” says Kim. About forty cups are on display.
Some of the drawings include Walter, the main character of the television show Breaking Bad, and even one with the Scenes From Dinner logo which I use on my Instagram profile. This is a fun way Bean N’ Leaf shows support for other’s in the community.
Tons of interesting quotes can be found in different areas of the cafe, such as “Coffees of excellence, have no fear of the time.” In addition, quotes from Dr. Seuss, the Bible, and other sources, captivate customers’ attention. Instead of a mirror in the bathroom customers will find the words, “You look awesome.”
There’s great experiences brewing in downtown Windsor at March 21 Leaf N’ Bean.
Article by Christina Coletti
Christina Coletti is a teacher, foodie and writer living in Windsor, Ontario. She loves to try new places and attend many events in Windsor and surrounding areas. Follow Scenes From Dinner on Facebook to get your foodie fix.
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