If you love coffee, Mercer University, entrepreneurial youth and social responsibility, you will love Z Beans. Opened by a recent Mercer alum Shane Buerster, Z Beans began its story on a three-week Mercer on Missions trip to Ecuador. Instead of just determining whether coffee would be a better income generator than gold mining, he came back with a mission of his own.
All of the Ecuadorian farmers who grow their coffee beans are listed on a chalk board above the prep area, along with a varied food and drink menu. During the hours we visited, busy times fluctuated greatly, meaning wait times could vary from no wait to a good 15 minutes to order, especially during Mercer events.
We enjoyed our sandwiches and pastries as well as our coffees. I had a turkey, cheese and apple butter sandwich on sourdough for $7 and a 16 ounce “nitro” drink for $5. After sampling both the blueberry basil nitro and the stout truffle flavor currently on tap, I preferred the refreshing fruit version with the zing of caffeine. My keto-diet friend had an egg-on-egg (with scrambled egg patties in lieu of a biscuit) filled with bacon and cheese for $5.70 and a heavy cream latte with a sugar-free hazelnut flavoring for $4.50.
Since most of their pastries are made in-house or locally, the blueberry scones, cookies, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls and Danishes are always fresh. Other sandwich choices include pimento cheese, hummus, grilled cheese, chicken salad and BLT. If you want a cold coffee beverage, try the cafe frizzado or the cold brew.
If you like coffee shops but not coffee, you could try the chai latte, hot tea or chocolate, or a frozen fruit smoothie in mango, banana, strawberry or peach. Most of the furniture was made by another Mercer alum business, so you are really supporting the local economy when you come here. All this social consciousness does make it a little more expensive than a chain retailer, but the neighborhood feel and friendly young staff always makes it worth it.
Address: 1635 Montpelier Ave., Macon
Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Payment: credit card, cash
Kids menu: n
Noise level: low
Health rating: 95
Delivery service: Waitr, Grubhub
Price range: $5.70-$7
Rating: 3 stars