Last Saturday evening I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by 3 Bean Coffee, a craft coffee shop located in the heart of Federal Hill, Baltimore. They were throwing a release party to celebrate the launch of their own roasted coffee beans: Triton and Triumph.
3 Bean Coffee first opened their doors to the public two years ago with a mission “to serve the local community by embodying love, excellence, and creativity,” as described on the shop’s website. They aim to create a safe and free environment where people can get together to express ideas, meet up with old friends, and have a space where they feel loved and cared for.
Philip Glenn, the manager of 3 Bean Coffee, explained that the shop uses those three main values as the guiding principles in their everyday practices, especially their relationship with customers.
“We have always been a ‘people first’ organization — from the ownership to management and furthermore to our team and guests,” Glenn wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “Our slogan is ‘if we know your drink, we should also know your name.’ It is such an essential part of how we demonstrate hospitality.”
3 Bean Coffee’s great hospitality shone throughout the event, which was packed with coffee lovers from all over the city. The baristas were all very knowledgeable and friendly. They did a great job of making my drinks and teaching me more about coffee.
Glenn expressed the great input the baristas had in the development of the shop.
“Each of my team members played an essential role and helped create such a unique experience for each guest we hosted at our launch party,” he wrote. “We pride ourselves on excellence and knowledge, and this crew is more than up for the challenges that came along with these new products and offerings.”
It was at this event where I had the chance to try my first “deconstructed latte,” a drink that’s exactly what is sounds like. Molly Means, the barista who made me this unique take on coffee, poured espresso, frothy milk and vanilla syrup (which was made in house along with other syrups) into distinct cups.
Then she encouraged me to taste the ingredient in each cup separately before mixing them all together to make a traditional latte. This experience gave me a better understanding of where the taste of the latte came from and the importance of balance in the art of making coffee.
It was also Means who came up with the name for one of the recently launched in-house roasted coffee beans. When the 3 Bean Coffee team were given a challenge to come up with a name that incorporated three,
Means brought up the idea of using Triton, the name of Poseidon’s son who carries a trident and conch shell and stirs the waves in the ocean.
Glenn expressed that the name Triton symbolized the new steps the shop was taking towards accomplishing their goals.
“It was our first coffee and was our own way of disrupting the waves in this industry by making our tremendous leap into the specialty coffee scene,” he wrote.
While Triton was all about making waves in the coffee scene, Triumph, 3 Bean Coffee’s second offering, was all about the transition from being a coffee shop in Baltimore to something much greater — symbolized by the logo of a dove ready to fly.
“Triumph is our glorious take-off, signifying a mile-marker that this is something sustainable and enduring, and now a very important part of our existence,” Glenn wrote.
He continued, expanding upon the importance of the new roast.
“It is more than just getting our feet wet; it is now a transition into something new and beautiful, and it is a ‘coming of age’ for us as a coffee shop here in Baltimore, and beyond,” he wrote.
3 Bean Coffee put great time and effort into creating the Triton and Triumph blends. The shop first used beans from Counter Culture Coffee as their primary roaster.
However, the shop’s desire to further explore its passion for brewing coffee resulted in establishing 3 Bean Coffee’s very own roasted coffee beans.
With the help of Jared Cate, a coffee consultant and founder of Vagrant Coffee, 3 Bean Coffee started to work with coffee beans from Ethiopia, Colombia and Guatemala in order to find the shop’s signature blend.
Glenn broke down the components and taste of their signature coffee blends.
“Triton has a unique dark chocolate flavor, characteristic of many Colombian coffees, but also a beautiful orange citrus finish. This citrus note is characteristic of the Ethiopian coffee blended into that specific recipe,” he wrote.
Triumph, on the other hand, has a different taste.
“Triumph is a unique blend, currently of 70 percent Colombian, 25 percent Ethiopian and five percent Guatemalan,” he wrote. “For this coffee, you should experience milk chocolate and caramel flavor notes.”
Other than the two unique coffee blends, 3 Bean Coffee also offered an array of coffee drinks that I had never tried before. During the event, I had the chance to try the “nitro brew” and the “Nutella latte.”
The nitro brew, which was described to me as “the beer of coffee,” was cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen. The bubbles from the nitrogen gave the coffee a very velvety and smooth taste.
The drink coated my mouth and left a unique, bitter finish. I enjoyed the drink without even feeling the need to add more syrup.
However, I couldn’t leave the shop before trying one of 3 Bean Coffee’s house specials. So, I tried the Nutella latte, the star of the show for me. Personally, I loved the balance of the coffee, hazelnut, chocolate and milk.
There was no overbearing sweetness, and the drink was very rich and creamy. For me, it was the perfect drink for a cold night and a great way for me to end my visit.
Overall I had a wonderful experience at 3 Bean Coffee and would recommend it to coffee enthusiasts, creatives and/or anyone who wants a nice environment to work in.
In the future, 3 Bean Coffee hopes to influence the Baltimore community by simply creating new and sustainable opportunities for coffee professionals and others in the industry.
It also has many “work in progress” events, one being a latte art throw-down between multiple coffee shops in the city. To keep up with these events, make sure to follow 3 Bean Coffee’s Facebook page and Instagram.