Cafe - Coffee Shop - Roastery

Our Story


Our story


Hello!  Allow us to introduce ourselves, we are Jay and Lisa Jones.  We've been together for most of our lives and we've called Waterloo 'home' for nearly 30 years.  We raised our four children here and consider ourselves blessed beyond words that they are now raising our 12 grand babies within about a fifteen minute radius of us.  Jay loves to fish, hunt, and grow tomatoes.  Awesome, amazing, heirloom tomatoes.  Lisa loves hanging out with all those grand babies and dragging Jay into projects around the cafe and at home.  We both love to travel, usually to a beach somewhere.  We also love getting together with friends for a night out and about our wonderful little town.

We're not those people who always dreamed of owning a restaurant.  We still look at each other and shake our heads in bewilderment sometimes.  But here we are.  And it turns out that we love it!  We love seeing familiar faces week after week.  We love when a barista or server asks a regular if they want the usual, and actually knows what their usual is.  We love that the cooks know customers by their orders.  They might not know names or faces but they know that "the guy who always gets ..." is in the house.  When we opened this cafe in 2011 we could never have imagined the community Bean Tree Cafe would create and foster.  We're honored to have a part in it.


Our space


Our kitchen is too small, our floors are uneven, and the temperature is almost impossible to get right; but that's what you get with a 170 year old building.  You also get rich history, impressive craftsmanship, and lots of personality.  This section of Waterloo was originally plotted in 1818 and our building was built around 1850, making it one of the oldest buildings in town.  In its earliest days it was a stately home to lawyers, judges and the town doctor, who also ran his practice out of this home.  As a commercial piece of property it was one of many businesses that made up the "Nickel Block", a term coined in the late 1800's by a traveling salesman who commented on the multitude of items that could be purchased for a nickel. It's been added on to, split in half, fallen into utter disrepair, and painstakingly restored.  (Thank you EC for saving this little beauty!)  Waterloo's Downtown District continues to be the hub of the community with unique shops, restaurants, breweries, and a wine bar.  Just an FYI though, everything costs more than a nickel now. 

Our food

Real food ... it sounds like something you should be able to take for granted.  But in a world of processed, artificial madness, real food is sometimes hard to come by.  We serve real food here.  You know, the stuff that still needs to be chopped and diced, that needs to be measured and mixed together.  The stuff that tastes better because, well, it is better.  Real eggs cracked and cooked to order.  Fresh pork sausage that we patty right here in our kitchen.  Soups made in house using our very own family favorite recipes.  Salads loaded with fresh baby greens and microgreens organically grown right here in Monroe County.  From our local meat market, to local farms, to our local grocery store, we look for opportunities to make purchases in our community.  Local means food at its freshest, local boosts the economy in our community, and local avoids the environmental impact of transporting food across the country.  We are purposeful in our food sourcing decisions even when local isn't feasible.  We purchase food we want to eat.  We prepare meals we enjoy eating and are proud to serve to our BTC family and friends.  Take a look at our menu under the "Food" heading, or better yet, come visit us and taste for yourself!



our coffee

All beans are not created equal.  Some beans can aspire for nothing more than freeze dried instant coffee.  Some beans belong in a can on a grocery store shelf.  But some beans are destined for greatness.  Those are the beans that get to come to Bean Tree Cafe.  They come to us 'green' in 150 lb bags.  We take those beans and roast them 5 lbs at a time.  Not a 'one size fits all' sort of roast, but a customized roast that brings out the very best flavors of that particular bean.  We roast small batches two or three times a week to ensure that we serve and sell the very freshest coffee you can get.