Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Jim Edwards
Coffee, did someone say coffee? This is one thing that I can NOT live with out in my everyday existence…can you relate?
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) was founded in 1963, which made it the oldest and largest privately held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States. Mr. Herbert Hyman founded Coffee Bean as a coffee service for offices in 1963.
By the 1970s there were 10 Coffee Bean locations in Southern California. An employee, in 1987, brought a blender to work. Using it to blend ice, chocolate powder, and coffee extract. This created the Coffee Bean’s signature Ice Blended drinks.
The first store opened in 1968 in Brentwood, an upscale suburb in Los Angeles. CBTL roasts all of their coffee beans by hand and hand blends all of their teas.
Although it was started in Los Angeles, it’s now a global company with stores in more than 30 countries and it is now owned by Jollibee Foods Corporation, which is based in the Philippines. As of 2017, there are over 1,000 Coffee Bean establishments. Some are franchises and others are self-owned.
Related: Must Try Jollibee Menu Items
CBTL Has an Amazing Drink Menu!
Coffee Bean sells an array of whole leaf teas, whole bean coffees, baked goods, hot coffee, iced tea, hot tea and their signature Ice Blended drinks. The Coffee Bean offers seven different categories of coffee; flavoured, reserved, decaffeinated, medium and smooth, and more.
The beans are all roasted in Camarilla, California and come in from farms that are in other countries. Coffee Bean also offers many seasonal holiday drinks; gingerbread, red velvet cake, peppermint, and others.
I just wanted to share a few of the things that make CBTL unique. Now, let’s dive into their secret menu items.
These five Coffee Bean secret menu items are courtesy of conversations with a Coffee Bean barista.
Note: These secret items are definitely less known than other menus so be prepared to have to explain the details to your barista.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s (CBTL) Secret Menu
Bubble Tea Latte (no bubbles)
On Coffee Bean’s regular menu, you can order Black/English Breakfast tea. This is the base of the Bubble Tea Latte with no bubbles (the bubbles are little Tapioca pearls).
The barista at your local Coffee Bean shop will take the robust English breakfast tea, ice, vanilla powder, and White Chocolate Powder and put them all together in the cup.
The Bubble Tea Latte is mellow and resembles a milk flavoured tea. You can also ask for decaffeinated English breakfast tea, if you prefer. Instead of the vanilla powder you can try the hazelnut powder. The Bubble Tea Latte is super simple to order; simply as for an iced English breakfast tea with Gula Melaka syrup.
Note: This is not a boba tea! There are no tapioca pearls in it. Just wanted to be super clear so you’re not let down because all of my friends who love boba tea are very particular about it!
To order: Ask for a large ICED English Breakfast Tea Latte with Extra vanilla and white chocolate powder blended.
See also: Tim Horton’s Secret Menu Items
This secret menu item switches up the ‘Iced Vanilla’ that has fresh or skim milk (upon request) in it. This drink, Soy Vanilla, is popular with children and individuals who are trying to stay away from dairy. The Soy Vanilla drink is also non-caffeinated!
The thing I like most about this drink is that the soy milk that Coffee Bean uses enhances the smell of the vanilla powder, giving it a deeper taste and that rich vanilla smell!
I recommend sipping this one slowly and savoring the lighter flavor and rich vanilla smell.
To order: Next time you visit a Coffee Bean, ask for an Iced Vanilla using soy milk.
Related: Dunkin’ Donuts Secret Menu Items
Tea Latte Ice-Blended
The Coffee Bean has a variety of tea lattes for their patrons to choose from. The tea lattes are especially good when you have them ‘iced.’ When you have a signature Ice-Blended drink, you will get an enhanced flavour and it will lighten the sweetness.
A Tea Latte Ice-Blended is the perfect drink if you are going to be out in the summer sun. This item is easy to order, you just have to decide which flavor of tea you want:
- Chocolate Chai
- Earl Grey
- African Sunrise
- English Breakfast
- Tropical Passion
- Morrocan Mint
To order: After you choose your tea flavor, kindly ask them to ice-blend it.
Related: Guide to Starbucks Secret Menu
Coffee Bean shops have three dominant flavors for iced tea:
- Swedish Berry
- Peach Jasmine
- Ceylon Black Tea
The majority of the time, the Coffee Bean barista will use the Ceylon tea, unless you specify otherwise.
The Swedish Berry tea has a slightly sour taste that joins perfectly with mint-lime tea and others.
To order: When you are at the counter to order, simply ask for a lemon/mint-lime iced tea using Swedish Berry tea.
Yes, the lemon will add a little more sourness to the tea, but it is extremely refreshing and won’t pucker your face. If you choose the mint-lime syrup instead, you will have a delicious tea with a slight minty burst of flavor.
Related: Guide to Starbucks Secret Menu
What is an Affogato you ask? It is an Italian coffee-based dessert. Usually made with a scoop of gelato or vanilla ice cream and then covered in a shot of hot espresso.
Depending on where you order your Affogato, there are many flavors you can use besides hot espresso.
At a Coffee Bean establishment, you get a little treat on the top of your Affogato-Style Ice-Blend.
The barista will use a vanilla flavoured base, an aromatic shot of hot, strong espresso, and top it with rich Oreo Cookie Bites!
This seems to be one of the most popular top secret menu items at Coffee Bean, and definitely the one to try if you have kids with you!
To order: All you need to do is ask for a pure vanilla ice-blend with espresso and cookie crumbs on top!
Related: Complete Guide to Philz Coffee Secret Menu
Video: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Original Ice Blended Coffee Drink
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is famous for its Ice Blended drink which is made from ice, coffee extract, milk, and the original Ice Blended powder (Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, and White Chocolate). The original Ice Blended flavor is Mocha which you will see in this fun video!
Related: Delicious Dutch Bros Secret Menu
Wrap Up of the CBTL Secret Menu
With so many other flavors of coffee and tea that are available at the Coffee Bean establishments, there is sure to be some other amazing and delicious drinks that one could come up with. But, please remember, you do not want them to be overwhelming for a barista to make.
The CBTL baristas are under a lot of stress and are usually extremely busy. So if you decide to come up with your own secret menu item, make sure it is fairly easy to make.
I wish I had a Coffee Bean location closer to where I live! I love ice-blended drinks and there are a few of their tea flavors that just make my mouth water. I am now going to go to the store and buy some tea (bags unfortunately) to make me some flavored iced tea with slushy ice. That is as close as I am going to get to a tasty Coffee Bean regular or secret menu item.
If you live close to a Coffee Bean location, you must go and try at least one of the secret menu items on this list.
Find a Coffee Bean & Tea location near you.
Image Credit: “The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Cafe, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam”by David McKelvey is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Facts about Coffee Bean Tea Leaf Most People Don’t Know
Here are a few things I learned while researching this article and visiting the stores. Some fun facts you can share with your friends:
- The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf was founded in 1963, which made it the largest privately held coffee and tea retailer in the United States. That changed of course when it was acquired in 2019.
- The first location opened in Brentwood, CA, a fancy part of Los Angeles in 1968.
- An employee “experiment” in 1989 is what led to the creation of the first Ice Blended.
- You can order any Ice Blended as either: “Extreme” (double coffee and no milk) or “Ultimate” (with Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans0
- Coffee Bean is now an international coffee chain with stores in over 30 countries!
I’m Jim Edwards and I started this website to share my love of Junk Food. We cover new junk food, desserts, snack foods, fast food secret menus, candy (of course!) and other related news. We love trying “secret menus” at restaurants. And we love trying new products too. So, we are trying to have some fun with our hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send us your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have products you would like us to try, let us know…!