Herbert Hyman, founder of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, dies at age 82

By Elizabeth Learned,

On Monday in Southern California, Herbert Hyman, the founder of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, died at the age of 82.

According to The Associated Press, his daughter Anne-Marie Hyman said her father died of natural causes after suffering from a decline in his health.

While a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Hyman didn’t graduate, instead choosing to continue working as an entrepreneur after founding a vending machine business. Together with his wife Mona, they founded The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, after taking a trip to Sweden.

The Los Angeles Times reported Hyman as an instrumental force in America’s love for gourmet coffee. Today, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf chain has over 900 locations in 29 different countries.

When he made the decision to go into the business of “importing, roasting and selling gourmet coffee,” Hyman decided to do so in Brentwood, which he felt would have the client base most interested in the high-end coffee he wanted to sell.

Jim Stewart, founder of Seattle’s Best Coffee, began roasting at Hyman’s original store, Coffee Bean. He spoke of Hyman as being “a ‘grandfather of specialty coffee in the U.S. His standards were just unyielding. He was so very particular about coffee.’”

Hyman looked for quality in his coffee and would pay high prices so his suppliers would continue to stay in business, according to The Los Angeles Times.

While Hyman, sold the company in 1998, according to The Associated Press, the company said in a statement, “We continue to uphold his vision and passion for sourcing the highest quality coffee and tea from around the world, and are forever indebted to the Hyman family for starting this incredible brand and business.”

Hyman is survived by his wife, Mona, a brother and sister, two sons and three daughters, and six grandchildren.

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