Aztec's Sweet Bean Coffee Shop already an 'artistic' hit in its first month of operations

Matt Hollinshead,
Sweet Bean Coffee Shop, located at 100 N. Main Ave. in downtown Aztec opened its doors on Aug. 22.

AZTEC – In hindsight, Sweet Bean Coffee Shop was undeterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. If anything, the establishment had nothing but time to get creative and add more personal touches.

Sweet Bean, located at 100 N. Main Ave. in downtown Aztec, plastered its wall with dia de los Muertos-themed graffiti artwork.

The shop, which opened on Aug. 22, has 15 different espresso flavors — including banana-mocha, s'mores, raspberry truffle and green apple — with plans to expand the selection this fall. It also has an array of brownies, muffins, cakes, cookies and other sweets made from scratch.

“I just like it to be fun, artistic and happy,” owner Chana Christman said. “We had a chance to actually breathe and say, ‘what do we want to do?’ We wanted to add some color to the building and bring people in. I love it... I’m glad we didn’t rush.”

Sweet Bean Coffee Shop, located at 100 N. Main Ave. in downtown Aztec, prepares an espresso on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

Sweet Bean is now seeing that patience pays off greatly, bringing in anywhere from 60 to 100 customers on any given day.

It also launched operations at a time where new COVID-19 cases across San Juan County decreased dramatically.

“We had to open up at a time where people are ready to go out,” Christman said. “I noticed over this last month since we opened a little later that there’s more people. People are coming through town and stopping by.”

Community interest and support has been profound thus far.

“It’s little spurts throughout the day,” Christman said. “We’re getting our name out there more and more, trying to keep up with the demand for the sweets.”

From left to right: Manager Keeley Christman, owner Chana Christman and barista Jesse Merriman operate Sweet Bean Coffee Shop, located at 100 N. Main Ave. in downtown Aztec.

And with Halloween nearing, Christman said Sweet Bean looks to expand its selection to include pumpkin and caramel apple-flavored espressos and goodies.

By waiting until August to open its doors, Sweet Bean is now primed to meet the constant demand and interest for the long haul.

“It actually just makes you feel better as you go. It keeps me motivated,” Christman said. “We have our slow moments, but people are really loving us and coming in. It seems like I’m meeting more people in the community.”

Sweet Bean is open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Christman said hours may extend come October when people are out walking in the cooler weather.

For more information on Sweet Bean, call 505-334-1324 or visit its Facebook page.

Sweet Bean Coffee Shop owner Chana Christman tests baking equipment in the store's kitchen on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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