When is favorable press something to regret? For Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, when the story is in the L.A. Business Journal. The lead feature in the LABJ's package this week on fastest growing local private companies recounts the coffee chain's origin on San Vicente in Brentwood, its sale to two Singapore-born brothers (there are as many Coffee Beans in Asia as in Southern California), and the fact that high-profit Ice Blended's account for 45% of sales. With business soaring, it's pretty upbeat until the sidebar on the LABJ staff's blind taste test. The Coffee Bean house blend ranked last out of five coffees, behind even the swill the reporters make from Flavia packets delivered to the office. Comments like "bitter" and "weak aroma, no body, no flavor" are noted; the paper allows that freshness may have been a factor. Peet's 101 Blend won the taste test, followed by Black Dog's Six Country Blend and Starbucks' Sumatra.
* More bad news: LAist calls the Coffee Bean at 7502 Melrose "the dirtiest chain-run coffee shop in all of town."