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Meet Joan and David Leclerc of Earth Bean Coffee in Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joan and David Leclerc.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Joan and David. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Coffee has always been something that we have shared a passion for, in addition to organic and sustainable products. David grew up in the South of France where cafe life is part of everyone’s daily routine. To-go cups aren’t even a thing there! People take the time to enjoy their coffee & croissant on the terrace of their local cafe and connect with people.

I began drinking coffee at a young age and fell in love with it on my first trip to South America at 18. The flavor of the South American coffee was very different than what was commercially available in the U.S. at that time. My curiosity around coffee grew every time I traveled to a new South American country.

Fast forward to 2016, we are both living in Los Angeles and enjoying trying new coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. Eating organic was always important to both of us and we started to look into the products that our favorite places were using. We were disappointed to find that many places did not offer certified organic coffee, and we started seeking out ones that did. As coffee is a highly sprayed crop and it’s a beverage that we consume daily, it’s important to us that we minimize the exposure to pesticides, etc. by only drinking organically grown coffee.

We started our coffee roasting company at the end of 2016 and had a clear vision that we only wanted to offer certified organic & fair trade coffees. From the beginning, we were also passionate about reducing the overall environmental footprint of coffee, from our retail packaging to take out cups. When we opened this location in 2018 we carried that intention throughout every aspect of the shop.

Has it been a smooth road?
We started the coffee roasting business with only wholesale and online retail sales but decided within one year that we wanted to also have a brick and mortar to share our passions of organic products and sustainability. The real struggles started during the process of opening the shop. Everything from finding a landlord willing to work with a new business, to finding a location with the specific zoning required for coffee roasting, along with typical construction frustrations. It took a lot of perseverance to see it through.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a wholesale coffee roaster and specialize in only organic and fair trade certified beans selected from around the world. We’ve been certified by Fair Trade USA since 2017 and became a USDA certified organic coffee roaster in 2018.

At our brick and mortar, we only use organic products (from CA when possible) and our menu is vegan. We make all of our dairy-free milk in-house daily (almond, oat & coconut). We also have a tonic menu infused with nutrient-dense superfoods like turmeric, blue majik, pitaya, maca and red reishi. Some favorites on our menu include our Creme Brûlée Latte, Cold Brew Mojito, Superfood Coffee, and Pink Sunset.

We’ve made every effort to reduce our shop’s environmental footprint. All of our the disposable take out items are made from plants and are compostable or biodegradable. Our avocado straws, made from an agricultural waste product, biodegrade in 240 days without any intervention. We also compost all of our food scraps and coffee grounds through the City of LA’s compost service.

We encourage people to bring their own reusable cup by giving a $0.50 discount. Last month we launched our Zero Waste Unlimited Coffee Tumbler, which includes unlimited drip & iced coffee for 1 year and $1 off all drinks on our menu for life when you bring the tumbler. Our goal with this launch is to reduce waste and create habits.

Something that we have done since starting our business that we really love is planting 1 tree for each bag of coffee purchased through our partnership with the non-profit One Tree Planted. They’ve been very active with reforestation projects around California since the horrible fires and are a great organization.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
There are pros and cons of having our business in Los Angeles. One big pro is that, in general, people here love our concept. In some parts of the country where organics and sustainability haven’t made as much progress, it would probably take more time for people to understand and appreciate why we are doing what we do. In Los Angeles, so many people already get it.

The biggest cons would be the expense and amount of regulation around opening a food business. It’s funny how a street vendor can pop up without any permits, etc. but then here we are, trying to do things by the rules, and we encounter roadblock after roadblock.

Pricing:

  • Zero Waste Unlimited Coffee Tumbler – $140
  • Bags of coffee range between $13 – $16

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Photos by Studio Luniste

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