Good things come to those who wait. In this case, it will be refreshing beverages with the opening of Bakersfield's first Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Saturday.
The full-service location with drive-thru opening in the Shoppes at Seven Oaks Business Park is the culmination of five years of planning and work for Bakersfield-based franchisee Golden State Coffee & Tea Inc.
Golden State, operated by Simranjit "Goldi" Sandu and his uncle Nirmal Gill, already owns a location in Pismo Beach, which it purchased from the company in October 2018 in a deal that will allow it to open up to 20 locations in Kern, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, Kings and Monterey counties.
Sandu said the plan is to open 16 stores by 2028 with a focus on Fresno and Bakersfield, which both Gill and Sandu call home.
The pair, who also own four Chevrons and two Union 76 gas stations in the area, were looking to diversify their business.
"Cars can go on electric but people still have to drink coffee," Sandu said of the decision to team with the Southern California-based chain.
Having sampled Coffee Bean's products while in the L.A. area, they looked for an opportunity, which came when the Pismo Beach store was up for sale.
"It's a really good product," Sandu said of the coffee, which is sourced from the world's best-growing regions for Arabica beans in East Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific and roasted in Camarillo.
Along with the coffee, the chain is known for its variety of teas, found by the company's tea master David DeCandia from private, family-owned tea estates in Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Japan and India.
Sandu's favorite drink is the chai latte. Other popular drinks include the Ice Blended, an icy sweet beverage not unlike Starbucks' Frappuccino, and seasonal options like the current mango Ice Blended and cardamom cold brew, available plain or topped with a cream cap.
Although the pandemic slowed down development, Golden State also opened a location in Fresno and plans to open one at Stockdale Highway and Interstate 5 near one of the partners' gas stations.
First up is the opening of the long-awaited location at 4615 Buena Vista Road on Saturday.
"We will open and have a grand opening after a couple of weeks," Sandu said. "Right now we just want to focus on opening and getting things going."
Those who download the Coffee Bean's Rewards app will be able to enjoy a free beverage of their choice. Enter promo code BAKERSFIELD in the app to redeem your choice of a free handcrafted coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or Ice Blended beverage with a maximum of two paid modifiers. The offer must be redeemed by May 31.
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.