Bethany Clough

New coffee and tea chain headed to Fresno – eventually, probably

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf plans to open 20 new stores in central California, including in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Kern, San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.

The global coffee and tea shop has 312 stores in 14 states and more than 1,200 additional locations worldwide.

A seller of fresh-brewed coffee, tea and other related products, the brand may seem familiar because its coffee is sold on shelves at Target and grocery stores. The Los Angeles-based company also has coffee shops in airports and colleges, with most of its stores ranging from 800 to 2,000 square feet.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf sells drinks like a cookie butter latte, (in fact, the chain claims to have started the “frozen coffee drink craze” though their competitors may disagree). Its menu also includes extensive tea options like tea lattes and cold-brew tea, and other drinks like red velvet hot cocoa and ice blended drink.

The company is on an expansion kick, recently announcing it would open 100 locations over the next several years. Its CEO said last summer that the company could benefit from “Starbucks fatigue” – people tired of seeing a Starbucks on every corner.

But specific details are in short supply for the Valley.

A representative declined to answer questions about when The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores might open, where they would be or how many would be in the Fresno area.

A franchisee, Golden State Coffee & Tea, will open the 20 locations.

Companies like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf often make big announcements when planning to open new stores using franchisees who pay the companies for the right to own and operate the businesses.

Sometimes it can take years for those stores to actually open. For example, Dunkin’ announced in 2015 that it planned to open 17 locations in Fresno and surrounding cities like Clovis, Visalia and Tulare. The doughnut and coffee chain has opened two in the area since then, in Hanford and Madera, but none in Fresno yet.

Fresno is still waiting on some companies that have said they will open locations here, including The Melting Pot and It’s a Grind Coffee House.

But many do follow through, with WhichWich Superior Sandwiches, CornerBakery Cafe and Firehouse Subs all opening locations in the area in recent years.

The closest existing The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf location is in Pismo. The franchisee, Golden State Coffee & Tea, acquired the formerly corporate-owned location as part of the development agreement.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough