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Good things are brewing (and baking) at Cara Bean coffee shop

Nicole Costa, Katie Scaranari and Chastity Bieniarz proudly display some of their fresh coffee beans and homemade pastries now available at their new coffee shop, Cara Bean, located at 949 Laconia Rd. in Tilton. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
April 13, 2011
TILTON — Winnisquam's latest business venture, the Cara Bean coffee shop, is a winning conglomeration of talents bringing the best in coffee, fresh-baked pastries and customer service to the Lakes Region with an array of both hot and cold fresh brewed coffees and teas sure to suit the casual coffee drinker, or the even the most discerning connoisseur.

Co-owner Katie Scaranari has worked with coffee for many years, and above all else, "I know coffee," she said.

With that knowledge, she joined forces with husband Michael, a pastry chef, and daughter Nicole, a recent graduate of Lakes Region Community College, where she majored in business. Add co-owners Chastity Bieniarz, who is a customer service specialist from years in the restaurant industry, and her husband Matthew, skilled in the contracting field, and Cara Bean is a business that has given them all a niche for their talents.

"Chastity used to work with my husband Mike, so when we came up with this idea, she found the building, my daughter took care of the business details, I got the coffee, and here we are. It's worked out very well," said Scaranari.

Within three weeks, the empty shell of a shop located on Route 3 in Winnisquam was transformed with counters, a pastry case, some café tables and all the brewing and baking equipment they needed. A drive-thru window allows those on the run to pull up, grab a hot cup of coffee or one of the many iced drinks available, perhaps a breakfast sandwich, bagel or fresh pastry as they head off to work. Others are invited to linger inside over their favorite beverage and breakfast choice, where they can enjoy the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and other treats from Mike's kitchen.

"Mike was able to put this all together within three weeks, and just did an amazing job," said Costa.

That got her busy, as well, with advertising and the other details any new business requires. On top of those details, she helps her mother at the counter, greeting their customers from 5 a.m. until closing each day.

"We've really had a good crowd already. It's nice to see we have regular customers already. It's fun to get to know them, and I look forward to seeing them each day," she said.

In less than a week, they gained such popularity for their fresh-brewed coffees that, by popular demand, they decided to stay open an hour later.

"We were originally closing at 5 p.m., but we saw a lot of people coming in about that time, and they asked us to stay open until six so they could stop by again on their way home from work," Costa said.

Scaranari is especially pleased to bring real brewed coffee to her customers. Many restaurants use syrup in their flavored coffees, but Cara Bean offers the real thing.

"Our beans are roasted with the flavor right in them, and it makes for a really good cup of coffee," she said.

Hot coffees include blueberry, mocha mint, Milky Way, Banana, Chocolate Raspberry, Tropical Coconut, and Strawberry. Other Signature iced coffees come in flavors like Peanut Butter Craze, Radical Raspberry Mocha, Very Berry Blast and much more. Mixed Coffees might entice others with names like Kahlua Kool Down and Chocolate Covered Banana.

"We have flavors of the week we'll be featuring to introduce people to all the flavors we have available," Scaranari said.

She pointed out her coffees are all from freshly ground beans, and the mixed coffees are all shaken to enhance their flavor.

Bieniarz said she really enjoys the muddled iced teas she brought to the shop, a southern specialty that is catching on fast in the northern regions. "Muddled" means the tea is placed in a blender with real fruit to give it a rich flavor rather than adding just a syrup to the drink. Muddled teas available at Cara Bean include peach, mango, lemon, raspberry and peppermint. They also serve Spiced and Vanilla Chai tea, either hot or frozen for a cool summer treat as well as latte and espresso, both hot and cold.

Mike's pastries are earning rave reviews from customers already as well. Each morning he is up bright and early whipping up big cinnamon rolls, cannoli, individual cheesecakes, muffins, danish and other tempting treats. Most, especially his popular cinnamon rolls, are sold out by day's end, Costa said.

"It's been a great first week, and we're really looking forward to seeing even more people stopping by to try out some of my dad's incredible pastries and all the coffee and tea selections we serve," Costa said.

Cara Bean is located at 949 Laconia Rd., across from Jay's Marina, just before Mosquito Bridge in Tilton. The shop and drive thru window are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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