Local coffee stronghold Urban Bean recently opened a chic new location on the corner of West Lake Street and Bryant Avenue. Going to a coffee shop isn’t just grabbing a cup of Joe anymore.  Coffee has become a hobby for many people.  Well-sourced full-bodied beans and Instagram-worthy appearance dictate whether the brew is up to par. Urban Bean delivers on all of those fronts.

Not only is the beautiful latte art at Urban Bean worthy of an Instagram post, the stark, white décor plays up the on-point minimalism trend without being  guilty of common clichés associated with it. The café is neither cheaply assembled nor clinical thanks to owner Greg Martin’s deft craftsman touch. 

Martin has experience rehabbing buildings. His home was featured in a 2009 issue of Dwell.  His designs tow the line between trendy and timeless, such as the colorless stencil that adorns Urban Bean’s east interior wall, and is already the subject of many Instagram photos, including one of my own

The real draws, however, are the drinks.  Urban Bean’s deserved reputation for using the best beans from the best sources continues even as it grows, culling their product from Four Barrel Coffee and Intelligentsia.  The Lake Street location expands on the menu of their Lyndale Avenue shop, adding five to seven additional specialty coffees. 

The best of the bunch is the Lil’ Ray Ray, a latte replete with orange simple syrup and a hint of anise.  The marriage of these flavors is coffee nirvana. If I could financially justify buying this drink every morning, I would.  The bold beans and the high-quality milk make the $5 price tag worth it, no wince required. To those unwilling to pay extra for good coffee, I say, “Are you even living?”