On a family visit to Boston, MA, Bill and Joan noted that they could not drive more than a block or two without coming across an espresso bar or coffee shop of some sort. Upon their return to Bethlehem, they noticed the now-obvious fact that Downtown Bethlehem had no independent coffee shops or espresso bars. You know, a spot with big comfy chairs and a great leather couch, somewhere where locals could spend a few minutes getting to know each other and not just get by with a quick wave to each other while mowing their lawns or cleaning the snow off their cars. They wanted to create that environment in Bethlehem.


After many months of talking with people and lurking around the internet acquiring as much information about the coffee business as he could, Bill convinced Joan that they were ready to give Bethlehem the espresso bar it was missing. Together, with daughters Sam and Kelly, they took a gigantic leap of faith and created The Wise Bean Coffee & Espresso Bar, which opened for business November 15, 2004. Bill and Joan struggled with the early stages of operations, learning the hands-on nitty-gritty of the business and managing to attract some of the early “Wisebeaners” that remain to this day. After her short-lived dalliance in North Carolina, Sam returned and came on board to help with the day-to-day operations and the adventure really began.


From the beginning it has truly been a community affair. Lawyers, postmen, professors, meter maids – our neighbors all stop in. More than just serving incredible coffee and tasty baked goods, “The Bean” has become a catalyst to the bonding of our neighborhood through the ongoing conversations, cultural, political, and personal, of our locals and our guests.