Our goal is to over time turn our business into one who is diminishing waste in all facets.” – Jonathan Harris (co-owner of Jonny Bean)

This is the attitude with which Jon and Cali Harris have approached the establishment and growth of their coffee shop situated right in the bustle of 13th Street North in Lethbridge. Started in 2017, Jonny Bean has grown into a welcoming hub for everyone in the community from busy families grabbing a quick snack, to entrepreneurs filling their laptops with plans for a new business, to friends sitting down to reconnect.  Beyond the wafting smells of coffee and freshly baked pastries is an underlying awareness of appreciation. Talking to Jon for even a moment fills one with a new appreciation for the care and consideration that is put into every piece that makes this place tick.

Jon says “Cafes can be inherently wasteful, just based on the type of business and consumer habits. Our goal is to diminish waste in all facets of our business and also support local farmers and producers. 

Lethbridge and Southern Alberta have an amazing food-producing culture. One of the ways we’ve sought to reduce waste is by buying local. If food is traveling less, it’s better for the environment. Also, more of the cost of that food is passed directly to the producer, rather than bigger corporations.”

By sourcing local products, Jonny Bean has lowered transportation emissions for approximately 70% of the ingredients used in the café.

The eggs used in their breakfast sandwiches and other recipes are purchased from Mans Eggs; a collection of 30 small-scale farms located no more than 50 kilometers from Lethbridge. All of the 300 chickens are given the freedom to roam in a pasture or hunker down in a shelter as they choose.

High-quality dairy is essential in making great milk-based drinks, both from the perspective of taste and of latte art. Jonny Bean originally sourced it’s milk from D-Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous BC because they are a producer committed to a high standard of milk. Jon is now looking to switch, however, to a more local dairy producer. By switching to a local supplier within 50 kilometers of Lethbridge, Jonny Bean will be taking another step towards significantly lowering emissions related to the business reducing how far their milk travels by over 900 KMS. 

954km from D-dutchmen.
50km from a new supplier.

Although coffee plants aren’t able to grow locally (sadly), the organic coffee beans used at Jonny Bean are purchased from small scale farmers in coffee-producing regions and processed by high-quality roasters that focus on creating superb flavor. Used coffee grounds are made available to customers for use in their backyard compost.  Johnny Bean is currently investigating the possibility of sending their grounds to a local composting company. 

Having recently begun serving cocktails on Friday evenings, the team realized that the glassware for their drinks was going to be a problem due to breakage and the expense of replacing each vessel. So instead of purchasing new glasses each time, they opted to purchase glasses from second-hand and vintage stores (giving them a deep and thorough cleaning, of course). This not only gives these items a second, or perhaps even a third cycle of use, but it provides unique glasses that can once again be used and enjoyed by many.

Even the tables and benches placed around the shop have sustainability in mind with most of the materials being salvaged from the leftovers of other construction projects and local artisans contributing to the design.

Beyond continually seeking to reduce their waste and emissions, Jonny Bean is always working with other local artists and businesses in a unified effort to uplift the local economy and provide excellent products and service to the community they serve and are a part of.

Written by Annette Kerpel. 
jonny bean eggs

Jonny Bean sources local products, like eggs from Mans Eggs, to reduce transportation emissions.

jonny bean materials
Many of the cafe's furniture is salvaged from construction products with the help of local artisans.