We’re going to take a different approach to The Bean for May and take a look at The Human Bean of Northern Colorado. You may have noticed one of their locations driving around Fort Collins, Greeley, Evans, or La Salle, but, if you’ve never heard of it, The Human Bean is one of those drive through coffee stands which were oh so popular a few years back. The only difference is that The Human Bean is probably one of the most successful ones with franchises all across the Western United States in California, Arizona, Idaho, and everywhere inbetween.

While I typically try to avoid chains when writing The Bean, I have to make an exception for this place. For one thing, their coffee is amazingly good, but for another, they’re also devoted to finding responsible sources for their beans. This does mean that you’re going to be paying a little more for that drink, but it also means that some of what you pay is going directly to the farming communities who grow the coffee in places like Guatemala and Honduras, both in the form of premium pricing for the product and service project which give back to the community at large like clean water initiatives and the construction of schools. You can also rest easy knowing that the farmers are treated ethically and aren’t forced into slavery just so you can get your caffeine fix.

If social causes aren’t a big concern for you then still try it out just for the flavor. A lot of people like coffee shops like Starbucks because of their consistency. The problem is that a lot of these other chains only have a consistent flavor because they consistently burn their beans. Because they don’t source them as well as they should, a lot of their beans are of varying quality and the easiest way to get a uniform flavor across all of their franchises is to over roast the beans until they all just taste like char. But at The Human Bean, all of the coffee beans are consistent to begin with and are carefully roasted to enhance their flavor, just like it should be done.

The end result is a very tasty cup of coffee made in one of an endless numbers of flavor combinations ranging from their classic menu items to the daily special to your very own creation. There are a handful of syrup options which your barista can add to any drink to create whatever it is you like, just be careful, each shot of syrup adds a small charge, but it all adds up quickly. Not sure what to get? You can always ask your barista to come up with something on the fly, just let them know if there are any flavors in particular which you really like, or any you’d rather avoid, and they can throw something together for you. Otherwise, one of my favorites for a hot summer day is the Snickers Granita: a blended drink with chocolate, caramel, and peanut flavors all mixed together over crushed ice, served with whipped cream and a chocolate covered coffee bean on top.

All in all, this is one place where I’ll happily spend a little bit extra, and it really is just a little bit, just for the difference in quality of their drinks. From a quick, drive through place they simply can’t be beat. Knowing that they source their coffee ethically without the use of slave labor and even give back to the farming communities makes it all even more worthwhile. I’ve yet to reach the level of coffee addiction where I absolutely have to grab a cup every day, but nevertheless, I make pretty frequent stops here, especially in the summer when I need a quick, cold drink to help cool off.

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