13 Coffee Drinks From The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Ranked

Way before the Seattle coffee craze of the 1990s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf was brewing coffee in West Los Angeles. Opening its flagship store in 1963, Coffee Bean gained popularity thanks to its imported coffee beans and unique drinks available. While the Frappuccino may be the more well-known blended coffee drink, Coffee Bean actually came up with the idea first with its Ice Blended which was born several years prior. While the Coffee Bean already had a few different locations and was popular among locals, the Ice Blended made them a household name. 

But believe it or not, the Ice Blended isn't the only thing on Coffee Bean's menu. Like all corner and drive-through coffee shops these days, Coffee Bean has a long list of beverages that you can start your day with or use as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Hot lattes and iced coffees are always on the menu, but there's a variety of other options as well. Some are available year-round, while others are seasonal. If you're not sure what to order, we took on the tough task of tasting our way through several of Coffee Bean's drinks. Some of them were homeruns while others could barely make it past our lips. Keep reading to see what to grab and what to skip the next time you venture into the local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

13. Cookie Butter Iced Latte

Cookie butter seems to be everywhere these days. The sweet spiced caramel cookie flavor comes in ice cream, as a spread for your morning toast, and even as a flavor for iced coffee. Now, we love cookie dough as much as the next person. It doesn't matter if it's in gobs surrounded by ice cream or straight out of the bowl while making a batch to stick in the oven. So, we thought we'd enjoy Coffee Bean's iced latte, especially on a hot day. We couldn't have been more wrong. 

The coffee was weak, tasting more like water than coffee and there was absolutely no cookie flavor. At least not at first. It wasn't until we jammed our straw to the bottom of the cup that we got some of the popular butter. But it wasn't butter. It wasn't even a syrup which would have been preferable. At least then we could have stirred it up into the coffee and maybe gotten some sense of flavor. No, it was little bits of cookie. 

Yes, we're talking about crumbs! Soggy crumbs at that. Not only did these crumbs make the drink difficult to sip because they got stuck in the straw, but once we were finally able to suck it through, they added a jarring crunch that just doesn't belong anywhere in a cup of joe.

12. Cafe au Lait

Whether it's first thing in the morning or after dinner, there's nothing we love more than a nice cup of hot coffee with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of cream. But every so often, we're in the mood for hot from top to bottom. In those instances we turn to the classic French coffee drink, the café au lait, a drink that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is equal parts hot coffee and hot milk and is usually a delicious alternative to the standard cup of coffee with cream. 

That was not the case at Coffee Bean, however. Comprised of its light roast coffee and steamed whole milk, the parts didn't come close to equalling the whole. The coffee lacked that bold, smooth coffee because Coffee Bean uses a light roast rather than a dark. Meanwhile, the milk is supposed to be a steamed whole milk, which means it should have a higher fat content, thereby creating a heavier, more velvety texture. Not one of those aspects was present in this cup. Instead, it reminded us of a warm cup of water that lacked any sort of flavor. 

11. Vanilla Bean Latte Cold Brew

When it comes to coffee on a hot day, there's nothing better than a large cold brew coffee. Not to be confused with iced coffee, a cold brew is usually coffee, that's steeped like tea, in cool water for several hours then strained and poured over ice. So, you end up with a deep, flavorful coffee that is ideal for iced coffee drinkers who don't like cream or sugar. And if that were the case with Coffee Bean's Vanilla Cold Brew, we'd be over the moon. Unfortunately, it's not. 

Coffee Bean says that it brews its cold brew for 20 hours to create "a rich, bold flavor." But there was nothing rich or bold about this cup. We can't really say much about the coffee because the sicky-sweet vanilla sauce masked any and all coffee flavor we were hoping for. What we got instead was an overly sweet vanilla that tasted so artificial, we wonder what ingredients make up the vanilla sauce because it clearly isn't real vanilla beans.  Once we gave the cup a thorough stir, the drink tasted a little better as the vanilla melded with the coffee and milk so it wasn't as overwhelming. Unfortunately, the unpleasant vanilla aftertaste still comes through and lingers longer than it should. 

10. Mint Chocolate Ice Blended

Mint and chocolate are one of those classic combinations. It seems to be everywhere from those creamy after-dinner mints and movie candies to that famous Girl Scout Cookie we all clamber for every year. So, when we saw the Mint Chocolate Ice Blended on Coffee Bean's menu, we could barely contain ourselves. That dreamy combination of mint and chocolate always sends us over the moon. But this drink didn't even come close to our mint chocolate dreams. 

Since it's a Coffee Bean ice blended, all the ingredients are blended together with at least one or two cups of ice, and that's this drink's downfall. That much ice seriously dulled the flavors so all we were left with was a muted mint finish that tasted more artificial than pure. As for the chocolate, we can only assume the barely-there chocolate flavor came from the dark swirl of syrup that lines the cup. So, unless you use your straw to stir everything together, all you have is an icy drink that is hardly worth the fanfare Coffee Bean bestows on it. 

9. Ice Blended Mocha

The Ice Blended Mocha. The original ice-blended drink. Created in 1987, this ice-blended coffee came a long way before Starbucks' frappuccino when a barista at Coffee Bean's Westwood location came up with the brilliant idea to combine coffee, chocolate powder, and ice in a blender. It's a cool, creamy treat that's a perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day. At least it was.

As times change so do people's palates, and this original ice blended just isn't the drink it used to be. We used to down these coffees every chance we got, but today, it's not nearly as satisfying. Still using the same Special Dutch chocolate powder the company has been using since the beginning, this ice blended is just too darned sweet. And we're not sure if the company changed the ingredients or the way it makes its chocolate powder, but there's something off about it. The ice blended no longer tastes like a chocolate milkshake akin to a rich fudgsicle, now it just tastes fake. So, if you're in the mood for a Coffee Bean ice blended, skip the original as there are definitely better options on its menu.

8. Caramel Latte

This drink is much closer to what we think of when we order a latte: A hot coffee drink with a creamy, velvety texture that coats the tongue and throat as it goes down. The espresso has a nice, rich flavor that melds perfectly with the vanilla powder and caramel sauce. While it's the ideal drink on a cool day, we couldn't really taste the caramel sauce. And we were disappointed to find the caramel drizzle on top was missing. Instead we got a lot of vanilla notes due to the large scoop of Coffee Bean's French Deluxe vanilla powder that's whisked together with whole milk and caramel. 

Because there was such a lack of caramel flavor, we wonder how different this latte is from Coffee Bean's ordinary vanilla latte. While we imagine this drink being a great way to start a chilly day, we were expecting more caramel flavor. In the end, we enjoyed the latte, just not as much as some of the other Coffee Bean offerings. 

7. Aloha Cream Cold Brew

When we hear the word "aloha" we think of cool breezes and tropical climates, coconuts, and pineapple. So, that's what we were expecting when we tasted Coffee Bean's Aloha Cream Cold Brew. While it was definitely one of the tastier coffee beverages on the menu, there was no hint of "aloha" anywhere. Sure, the cold brew has a nice, strong coffee flavor that the menu says includes a chocolate macadamia sauce, but we tasted neither the chocolate nor the nutty macadamia. We figured at least that white creamy cap would be made with coconut cream, but discovered that that tropicality was also absent.

The first sip gave us an unpleasant mouthful of plain heavy cream with a dash of cold brew to follow. But once we stirred everything together, we got a delightful sweetness that made the drink actually enjoyable. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite pinpoint whether that pop of sweetness was simply sugar or chocolate sauce but either way, we'd probably grab this drink again on a hot day. We just really wish there were more aloha. Even replacing the cream cap with coconut cream would be an improvement. 

6. Pure Vanilla Affogato Ice Blended

An affogato is that Italian dessert that combines two of our biggest loves: rich coffee or espresso and ice cream. We love the bitter acidity of the dark coffee mixed with the sweet, creamy vanilla ice cream. It really is the perfect after-dinner treat when you want something quick and easy that's so full of flavor. So, when we discovered that Coffee Bean was using Italy's beloved treat as the base for one of its coffee drinks, we were 100 percent on board, and we were not disappointed.

What makes this drink different from so many of Coffee Bean's other Ice Blendeds is that this one doesn't have one ounce of coffee in it. Instead, it's a basic blend of vanilla powder, milk, and ice. It's not until the rich coffee is poured over the top, that this drink becomes the caffeinated dream we want it to be. Watching the liquid drip down the sides of the vanilla blended is pure magic, but sipping it is otherworldly. We just couldn't get enough. Just like the classic dessert itself, the strong coffee hits you first followed by the sweet creaminess of the rich vanilla, creating a drinkable dessert that's absolutely awesome.

5. Midnight Mocha Latte Cold Brew

If you're a dark chocolate fan, the Coffee Bean's Midnight Mocha Cold Brew Latte could be the cold coffee drink for you. We've never been a fan of the sweeter milk chocolate, because there's usually too much sugar. But dark or bittersweet chocolate gives you all that decadent chocolate flavor with less sugar. So, when we saw that Coffee Bean made its Midnight Mocha permanent, we were over the moon. We've been enjoying this drink on and off for a while because it's the perfect iced mocha without being too sweet. The secret to this perfect concoction? The dark chocolate syrup. 

That syrup has a rich chocolate flavor that hits all the right notes. See, the reason dark chocolate tends to be, well, more chocolatey, is because it usually has a lot more cocoa in it. So, when that deep, dark chocolate syrup is combined with Coffee Bean's intense cold brew, you get an icy beverage that's every mocha lover's dream come true.

4. Ice Blended Vanilla

Now this is the Ice Blended we want when we enter Coffee Bean. Unlike the signature mocha, the vanilla is both satisfying in texture and flavor. Made up of Coffee Bean's classic French deluxe vanilla powder, coffee, pebble ice, and milk, this Ice Blended isn't overly sweet. It's subtle without being dull. While you still get the distinct creamy texture that comes with the cool blended, the flavor is so much richer and more inviting than the classic mocha. 

Because the vanilla powder actually tastes like it was made from vanilla beans rather than an artificial extract, the flavor comes through loud and clear. Yes, the scoop of powder may be several ounces, but it doesn't bother us as we believe it only adds to the overall richness of the drink. It's the shot of dark coffee though that keeps us coming back again and again. When combined, you end up with a drink that anyone who loves a vanilla shake will appreciate. 

3. Salted Toffee Latte

Are you an Almond Roca fan? You know, those cute little bites of toffee that are covered with chocolate and almonds? If so, then this is the latte for you. Toffee is one of our absolute favorite candies, so when we saw the Salted Toffee Latte on Coffee Bean's menu, we knew we had to try it. We may have been a little nervous to order the hot latte because salted toffee flavoring can so often be overly salty or have a fake nutty taste. But we were thrilled to discover that Coffee Bean's salted toffee syrup was perfectly proportioned. 

The first sip gave us that delightful shot of salt that was quickly followed up with a rich buttery, toffee flavor. Then hints of almond slowly come in at the end. When combined with the strong notes of espresso, this made for a delightful sipper. One taste and we were whisked away to a salty, toffee-filled paradise that will definitely keep us coming back for more morning, noon, or night.

2. Cardamom Cold Brew

Part of the ginger family, cardamom is that beautiful spice that has a delightful bite with a nice citrusy zing. When combined you get a warmth that comforts from the inside out. It's for all these reasons that you should add cardamom to your coffee — and probably why Coffee Bean chose to create this delicious seasonal cold brew. Even though cardamom is often added to baked goods, it adds a subtle floral note to drinks both hot and cold, alcoholic and non. But we especially love how well it melds with this intense cold brew. 

Coffee Bean's 20-hour steeped coffee finally shines through with this drink. The coffee is strong but also has a subtle sweetness from the brewing process that melds perfectly with the floral notes of cardamom. While some Coffee Bean syrups are too sweet and don't seem to mix well with its coffees, that's not the case here. Those soothing warm notes from the cardamom make this cool drink a cozy treat of which we couldn't get enough.

1. Vietnamese Cold Brew Coffee

Vietnamese coffee isn't like your other standard coffees. It's usually stronger and has more body thanks to the Robusta beans commonly used when making it. That intensity makes it the perfect foil to the heavy, sweetened condensed milk it's usually paired with. So, in today's busy hustle and bustle world, we understand why Vietnamese coffee has become so popular: strong coffee and sweet cream, what's not to love? It's definitely one of our favorites and if we see it on a menu, that's the drink we're imbibing, especially if it's iced. 

So, when Coffee Bean started offering its own version of the popular drink, we jumped at the chance to taste it. We were concerned the measurements might be off and it would be too sweet, but we couldn't have been happier. While Coffee Bean doesn't use the classic Robusta beans that are an essential part of Vietnamese coffee for its caffeinated beverage, it does use its strong cold brew, and trust us when we tell you, it's plenty strong enough to stand up to the thick, sweetened condensed milk. When the two are whisked together and poured over Coffee Bean's pellet ice, you end up with a sweet, creamy concoction that's the perfect answer to a sweltering day.