Walking through the front door of The Bean Yard, it’s clear to see the sleek, communal vision of Sandy’s newest coffee shop. Eugene Kim, co-founder and General Manager, stands behind a brand-new, chrome espresso machine working on his latte art. In addition to the espresso machine, there are siphon brewers, both for in-store use and for purchase, as well as drip brewers for on-the-go customers. There are also two rooms with large windows facing the café area, one for roasting and one for classes. The main café area is spacious with ample seating, which Eugene hopes will encourage people to come work or have meetings at The Bean Yard, “I think that because there’s been a lot of growth in this area it makes sense to have more local community shops for people to come and enjoy and support,” he says, “We want people to be comfortable and relaxed when they come in here but also to provide a collaborative environment.”
The need for specialty coffee in the south part of Salt Lake County was one of the factors that drove Eugene to start The Bean Yard. “It’s not specifically a passion for coffee for me, it’s the business side of being a community and giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy something different in this area,” he says as he works on frothing the milk to achieve the perfect cappuccino. Though Eugene manages the logistical side of The Bean Yard, co-founder and resident Q Grader Rock Kim has the knowledge, coffee passion and expertise to support The Bean Yard’s mission of providing ethically sourced coffee to a new market. “I think the biggest thing that makes us stand out [in Salt Lake] is that Rock is a Q Grader. Q Grading is the highest certification for cupping coffee and understanding the quality of the coffee that you’re getting,” says Eugene. Though Eugene’s coffee knowledge isn’t as extensive as Rock’s, he is currently engrossed on being able to cup and process coffee properly under Rock’s guidance.
As a Q Grader, Rock is recognized by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to “cup coffee using specific methods, grade coffee beans based on taste and smell and trained to hone in on traits of quality coffee,” according to Rock. Part of the aim of the CQI is to promote mindfulness of how coffee is brewed, processed and sourced. This is something The Bean Yard hopes to reflect in its practices. “Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, a lot of these terms are used, and we try our best to meet these standards … Rock wants everything that comes to us to be fair to everyone in the process,” says Eugene.
Specifically, The Bean Yard is working with vendors who get their beans from E Café Chiapas, a coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico, whose mission is to fund schools in coffee farming communities around that area. For Rock and Eugene, being able to use quality coffee while also supporting this symbiotic relationship was an easy choice. “Our major point with supporting E Café is supporting the community—the schools and the farms,” says Eugene. Working with E Café to help fund education in the area where coffee comes from ensures that the communities who grow and sell coffee can continue to do so, as well as providing the highest–quality coffee for The Bean Yard. The Bean Yard also plans on hosting classes—taught by Rock—on coffee processes and cupping that will be open to the public in the near future.
The vision that both Rock and Eugene have for The Bean Yard is to bring coffee to the Sandy area that is ethically sourced and can be held to a global standard, something they’ve started to see in Utah in other specialty coffee shops but want to make more commonplace. “We’re trying to educate people on the standards and bring them into the process as well,” says Eugene. “[We’re trying to] educate people on why this coffee, why we’re doing it this way and the flavor profile you’re experiencing.” In addition to coffee, The Bean Yard is planning on selling breakfast items, with some offerings from Sandy-based Lone Pine Bakery as well as serving tea. The Bean Yard, located at 883 E. 9400 South. in Sandy, plans on opening to the public on July 16. They are premiering an Ethiopian coffee with notes of honey and blueberry as a first official offering. For more information on E Café or The Bean Yard, visit e-cafechiapas.com and thebeanyard.com.