Jacksonville is known for many things, but if you find yourself involved in the specialty coffee world, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is the first thing that comes to mind. With a goal of “sourcing, roasting and serving outstanding coffees every day,” Bold Bean finds itself growing quickly. They currently have two cafés and a roasting facility, as well as plans for a third café coming to San Marco in the near future, and dreams of opening a downtown location further in the future.
The café that my wife and I visited was the Riverside location on Stockton Street, which was actually Bold Bean’s first location, starting in December 2011. Upon walking through the front door, the menu is immediately to the left, taking up the entire wall, and the cashier is directly in front of the door.
Then, pleasantly, we were greeted by an extremely nice cashier, who was more than happy to answer all the questions I had about their espresso. He told me that they had two options for espresso, one being a blend and the other being a single-origin, I think Brazil. I was curious as to what their blend was like, so I went with a double espresso, while my wife, who was feeling the Florida heat, went with an iced coffee. Bold Bean also had some tasty-looking treats as well as an attractive pour-over bar, but we didn’t have the opportunity to try those.
Nevertheless, after ordering our drinks, the cashier immediately prepared the iced coffee, which was completed by putting ice inside a cup and pouring coffee over it from a urn right behind him. I’m guessing that they use the “Japanese Iced Coffee” method with a batch brewer. Anyway, while he did that, the barista on bar prepared my double espresso.
It was clear that Bold Bean stays on top of what’s hot with regard to equipment, as they were sporting a beautiful 3-group Slayer Espresso Machine, two Peak Grinders, and an Acaia Lunar Espresso Scale. And, as mentioned before, I’m always a fan of cafés that use bottomless portafilters, because usually those are the ones that are actually worried about channeling; and, in fact, Bold Bean used them very well.
My wife’s iced coffee was okay, nothing to write home about, but we did enjoy it. My espresso, on the other hand, was fantastic. They served it with homemade carbonated water and a spoon. It was so so so sweet, super tangy, quite bright, and offered major notes of citrus as well as a bit of chocolate. It was so tangy that it was almost sour, but not sour in an under-extracted kind of way. The lingering aftertaste definitely left me satisfied and wanting to order another one before we left.
In the end, we left Bold Bean feeling like it lived up to all the hype. We were grateful for our coffees, as well as our experience with the baristas and the atmosphere of the café.