COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF CLOSES ALL NEW YORK STORES, INCLUDING 3 ON UWS

cbtl-closed
Photo of store on 86th Street and Amsterdam by Ed Hersh.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the Los Angeles coffee shop chain that set up shop in New York a few years ago, has closed all of its stores in the city, a spokesman told us on Tuesday.

On the UWS, there were stores on 77th and Broadway, 79th and Columbus and 86th and Amsterdam.

The spokesman emailed the following statement.

“International Coffee & Tea, LLC regrets to announce that all of the franchised The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® locations in Manhattan closed on October 1, 2016.  We value the brand’s loyal following in the Big Apple and intend to swiftly bring The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® hand-crafted coffees and teas, including the world famous Ice Blended® drinks, back to New York City.  It is our hope that when The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® returns to New York, the new store owners will deliver the products and service our customers have come to expect through their experiences at the other 1,000+ company-owned and franchised The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® locations around the world.”

Although the signs on the stores say they’re “reopening soon”, it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Asked when we could expect the stores to reopen, the spokesman wrote “All NYC stores were franchised and unfortunately are closing.”

We have asked him for clarification on why signs still say they’ll be “reopening soon” with a “new look and new brew.”

Thanks to Shari, Jeff, Dianna and other tipsters for letting us know about the closures.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 66 comments | permalink
    1. Carlos says:

      So why are they putting up signs that lie? I don’t get it. The fact that the wiped the logo off the awning gave a hint that they are not coming back.

    2. WombatNYC says:

      The missed the boat . They were ahead of the curve in LA markets but when they came to NYC they never differentiated themselves . They offered nothing special

    3. Jose Habib says:

      I wish Peet’s Coffee (a better West Coast chain than Coffee Bean) would come to NYC.

      • Harriet says:

        YES, Peet’s would be great. I was drinking Peet’s coffee when I lived in the Bay Area in my 20s. Don’t know why they have not entered this market. Their Major Dickenson’s Blend will grow hair on ANYBODY’s chest !!

        • As a former San Franciscan, and long-time Peet’s fan, I was thrilled to see that NYC now has a Peet’s outlet. It’s on Union Square, on the ground floor of a Capital One branch. It’s not as complete as the Peet’s back in CA, but it’s nice to have them here.

        • Cato says:

          Peet’s was here in the early days of the coffee-bar explosion. If memory serves, there was a Peet’s where the Broadway half of Ouest ended up at 84th Street. (Yes, the place was good, but we’re not talking quality here, we’re talking economics.)

          They succumbed to the Starbucks behemoth, like other efforts to enter the previously-non-existent market. And the rest, as they say, is history.

          That’s probably why CB&TL didn’t make it either. It’s hard to fight, let alone enter, an oligopoly.

          • Cat@lynn says:

            I’m almost positive that there was a Peet’s on Lexington and 88th across from Linens & Things which became a Starbuck’s and put Peet’s out of business.

            • Karly says:

              You might be thinking of Le Pain Quotidien at that corner of 88 and Lex. There’s never been a Coffee Bean Tea Leaf store in that immediate area – nearest is 83rd and 3rd ave

            • Karly says:

              Definitely never been a Linens and Things store at that corner either

      • MF says:

        Ohhhh, how I wish a Peet’s would open on the UWS.

    4. dannyboy says:

      “loyal following in the ‘Big Apple'”

      I don’t say “La La”.I say L.A.

      …a little respect wouldn’t hurt!

    5. Ari says:

      They had a good cup of coffee, far superior baked goods, esp. bagels, to Starby’s, some real nice employees (shout outs to Lester, Maria, Eli!), but a franchisee who could never seem to solve persistent wifi, air temp, refrigeration and other mechanical problems. I agree that Peet’s needs to step into the NYC market.

      • Cato says:

        Imagine, a coffee bar with wifi problems! Maybe that’s why the rest of us, who went for a cup of coffee and not to move into an alternate living-room, could find a seat in there from time to time.

        • Diane says:

          Bravo, Cato!! The ‘third place’ concept Starbucks’ Schultz came up with at the beginning isn’t feasible for most places to stay alive. People who buy one cup of something and spend the day using the restroom, asking for water and staring at computer screens. Only Starbucks can figure out how to stay alive on that.

          • dannyboy says:

            the “‘third place’ concept” was described in a seminal piece published in Psychology Today.

            a bar

    6. Avi Gelboim says:

      Damn, I’ll miss their iced coffee!!

    7. UWSMaven says:

      Sounds like whoever these “franchisees” are, they are dropping the Coffee Bean brand but will replace the stores with some different coffee brand… I agree that while Coffee Bean never really caught on, its Kosher roots made it a hit among the UWS orthodox community.

    8. Eli says:

      Oh no! CB&TL was often the only kosher place in many neighborhoods! I hope that any new place that opens will be kosher too.

    9. Eln Lou says:

      Dang! I like the benches outside the store on Columbus & 79 Street. ?☕

    10. Stacy says:

      As a Californian transplant, this is sad news. I would be so thrilled if Peet’s opened here. Hope Coffee Bean finds a way to come back.

    11. Gretchen says:

      Heck, I still miss New World Coffee on Columbus Ave. that closed about a year ago. Wish they would come back from the dead. This year, we also lost Oren’s on Broadway in the low 80s. The good news is that I’ve recently discovered the Birch coffee bar up on Columbus & 95th St., which is very good, as are their beans. But there’s always Starbucks pretty much everywhere. Pumpkin spice latte anyone?

    12. Edmundo says:

      The now empty space at Columbus and 67th is crying for Peet.

    13. Allison says:

      This is unsurprising. They were expensive as fuck.

      • dannyboy says:

        Love is Free.

        Only coffee costs too much.

      • Cato says:

        “They were expensive as fuck.”

        Really? Just how expensive is an inappropriate, gratuitous swear-word?

        But if it makes you feel hip and cool to use it any-old-where, well, who would anyone else be to criticize your foul language, right?

      • Mary says:

        How expensive is fuck?

        • I Still Want Mine says:

          Quite, according to Philip Stanhope (4th Earl of Chesterfield): “the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.”

    14. UWSIcedCoffeeAddict says:

      Going to miss their iced coffee, ice blendeds (so much better than frapuccinos), and friendly employees. Also had ample seating at the 77th location.

      Bummed I didn’t get to use all the free loyalty coffees I has accrued…that will teach me not to save them for later!

    15. J. L. Rivers says:

      Seems like they didn’t where to quality control standards. Their brewed coffee was always inconsistent.

    16. Liz says:

      I could be mistaken; but I think at one time Starbucks did offer Peet coffee.

      Can any one answer this ?

      Thanks.

    17. Lolly says:

      That is so sad. The staff were so nice and always gave out food to the homeless at the end of the night.
      Much nicer than Starbucks to sit and meet people.

    18. dcsos says:

      86th and Amsterdam too?

    19. Jacob says:

      I like Peets when I’ve traveled to SF, but illy is more my style. I think there’s one on Madison Ave but wish there was more!

    20. marcof says:

      CBTL is weak… wait til we get a PHILZ!
      http://www.philzcoffee.com/

    21. Ed says:

      The place on Columbus/79 St. had all the sterile charm of a suburban strip mall and the staff to match. Not surprised it wasn’t a hit for NY coffee culture. Get some mustachioed baristas with knit hats.

    22. Riley says:

      Surprised to see comments saying that the staff was good at 77th and Broadway.

      They all seemed lazy to me and I felt like I was bothering them by placing an order. Glad they are gone.

      • dannyboy says:

        “…the staff was good at 77th and Broadway.
        They all seemed lazy to me and I felt like I was bothering them by placing an order.”

        see: “a hit for NY coffee culture. Get some mustachioed baristas with knit hats.” (just above)

    23. ekaje says:

      There’s a Peets Coffee at JFK (or is it Laguardia)?, and since I’m a big fan, I was excited to get their coffee, which was AWFUL. Not all franchises deliver.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Not all franchises deliver.”

        so maybe the long delivery from the airport to your place affected the taste?

        (i couldn’t miss this one, even if isn’t up to my extraordinarily high standards for insight and humor)

    24. Margareta says:

      Does anyone remember Timothy’s, one at 72nd and Columbus? My favorite of all, a Canadian company.

    25. francis says:

      How about a La Colombe up here …

      PS – what’s up with the Duane Reade on 88 and Bway ? Disappearing or Walgreening ?

    26. Ted says:

      I always wondered how a coffee shop managed to get a “B” health rating on a regular basis.

    27. rk says:

      Please frequent the good coffee places that are in the neighborhood so they can make rent and not close.
      Irving Farm
      Boxkite
      Joe’s
      Birch Coffee
      Fika
      Feel free to add others

    28. Leo says:

      As a non-coffee drinker, I don’t understand the fascination with spending hundreds of dollars a year on premium coffee. Isn’t a Keurig sufficient – there are countless flavors available? People walk onto the subway holding their coffee out like it is a child or a precious jewel. I know I am in the minority here so I’m not knocking anyone, just wondering…

      • dannyboy says:

        It all started with coffee.

        Now it’s i-phones.

        I have my explanation, but since i am not a User, i can’t say from personal experience.

    29. Hoppysport says:

      They had one in my neighborhood on Second Avenue between 33-34. It was a really nice shop…very social, nicely lit, comfortable seating, and quality coffee/food. The problem was their broken Wi-Fi.

      Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Wi-Fi was literally down for a year and never fixed. People would walk in, buy their items, sit down with their notebooks…and no Wi-Fi. They quickly left and went to the Starbucks across the street.

      Customers complained but it was never addressed or fixed. What a shame. Frankly it was nicer than any Starbucks in the neighborhood. Coffee Bean’s management is clueless…and their ineptitude really screwed over their wonderful staff.

      Great point about Peets at the Capital One at Union Square. Just terrific with nice seating.

    30. denise says:

      We need some Philz coffee! I’m kind of glad they closed I’ve been regularly to both the midtown and meat packing locations the workers were so rude and slow always.