Opened for nearly fifteen years, MoonBeans began its operation in McAllen, Texas at a simple plaza along 10th street. The coffee shop has a very relaxed atmosphere with different types of tables, chairs and couches for its customers to rest upon. The dim lighting makes it an ideal location for friends to gather and students to work.
In the counter, there is a display case of both lunch or breakfast sandwiches, depending on the time of day, and baked breads such as scones, muffins and loafs. On the menu above, written in chalk, is a list of signature coffee drinks. The names all relate to the theme of outer space such as: Comet Cappuccino, Launch Pad, Milky Way Mocha, White Dwarf, etc. What makes this drink shop special is not only the friendly vibe, but the variety of drinks. In their menu includes an ale and lager selection from specialty brands to staples. There is also a selection of smoothie flavors, non-coffee based drinks and teas for those that enjoy the atmosphere, but do not want the caffeine.
In the past few years, the coffee house had begun expanding across the valley with two new locations. Opening on November 9, 2012 is the Edinburg location settled along Trenton road, in front of the new Bistro Theater. This Edinburg building is the first to include a drive-thru option for those on the hurry. Recently in August of 2014, the chain has opened its doors in Pharr, Texas behind city hall. The city used U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development funding of $114,000 and added $60,000 from city coffers for the project under a revolving loan program that covers rent for the coffee shop until the loan is paid. A dozen jobs were created and MoonBeans invested $60,000 and equipment for the new store.
It all began when Luis Beltran, a fifty-four year old man and native of San Francisco, California, moved to McAllen two decades ago and decided to start the coffee house after an illness in his wife’s family. “My grandmother used to make it on the stove, old school Puerto Rican style,” Luis Beltran said in an interview, as he confessed his love affair with coffee from a young age. “The way she made it was more like candy, with sugar and condensed milk… she got me hooked.” Luis Beltran has traveled coast-to-coast in order to scope out what quality coffee really means. Shade-grown coffee from high-altitudes in Central and South America can yield some of the most complex flavors but MoonBeans offers brews from around the globe. Plans to start using direct trade with farmers around the world are in the works, but they currently offer organic fair trade brews. A seven-foot tall coffee roaster churning out dark beans will be behind a glass wall viewable from the coffeehouse floor when the renovations are complete. “Anybody from here to the expressway will be able to smell it because that’s the way the wind blows,” said Beltran, a master coffee roaster who “cups” his coffee after roasting to ensure quality and consistency. During the cupping process, hot water is mixed with freshly ground beans in a ceramic or glass cup and scooped out with a spoon before tasting. There is no filter required.