Three Beans – What’s The Significance?

The Significance Of three Beans, A Love Tale and History Lesson

Here’s a little known fact: before we were NuRange Coffee, we were incorporated as Three Beans LLC. Technically we still are Three Beans (for taxes and such), but we operate as NuRange. When we walk into meetings, or when we’re explaining our corporate structure to people, we always get the same question from people. We figured it might be time to set the record straight.

Now we know what you’re all thinking, “Three Beans is such a good name for a coffee company! Why would you ever change that?” and you’re right. It’s a great name for a coffee company. Unfortunately, we weren’t the first ones that thought so. If you run a quick Google search, you’ll see that there are about 100 other people in the United States that had the same idea as us. This raises a question… why are so many people trying to name their coffee shop Three Beans? What is the significance of this term in the coffee community? We wanted to know, so we cracked open some books (Google) and got to work.

Its Always The Italians

It starts in Italy with a glass of liqueur, not with a cup of coffee. Sambuca is an Italian anise-flavored liqueur that has been enjoyed by people on the boot for centuries. While it is only documented in it’s current form as far back as 130 years ago, the Latin word “sambucus” (meaning Elderberry, a spice used in Sambuca) suggests that the drink may have been enjoyed by societies as ancient as the Etruscans. FYI the Etruscans are very, very old. As appreciation for Italian culture spread through the world during the Dolce Vita period of the 1950’s and 1960’s, their love for Sambuca spread with it.

Ok, cool Zach and Collin, thanks for the history lesson. But what does some bottle that gathers dust in the back of my parent’s liquor cabinet have to do with the name of your coffee company?

We’re glad you asked. Italian culture is heavily steeped in symbolism, Catholicism, and respect for history. This fascination with symbolism carried over into their mixology. Hence the birth of the three coffee bean garnish.

Starting To Connect The Dots (Beans)

Ohhhhhhh yes. You know the garnish. We’ve touched on it before, especially in our Espresso Martini Rating Guide. See the pieces? They’re coming together! There’s a method to our madness. LET US CONTINUE!

The traditional garnish for a glass of Sambuca is “con la mosca” translated literally as “on the fly.” When you ask for this, you’re given three coffee beans in your drink. Usually (however, incorrectly) the origin of the con la mosca garnish is attributed back to the Dolce Vita actors and actresses. While they would sit around drinking their Sambuca in fancy suits and dresses, they would toss coffee beans into each other’s drinks and shout “There’s a fly in your drink!” Sick prank! Not sure I’d fall for it or laugh. It appears comedy was at a level in the 1950’s that a coffee bean in a shot went viral before the Internet. Jake Paul is literally shaking in his boots right now.

True Bean-ginnings

This funny anecdote, while something that did happen, does not represent the origin of the garnish. The true origin of the garnish is much more symbolic and wholesome. Three beans are meant to represent three blessings, health, wealth and happiness. The number three itself is a heavily auspicious number, showing up as a symbol of luck in virtually every major religion and pseudoscience. Remember what we said earlier about the Italians and their love for both symbolism and the Roman Catholic Church? Yeah, time to dive into that.

the Church of Three Beans

The number three is often considered one of, if not the MOST important number in Christianity. While it has many uses, meanings, and appearances in both the new and old testaments, there is one use of three throughout Christianity that reigns supreme: The Holy Trinity. Ever heard of it? For some people, they’re a very big deal.

Now, we’re a coffee company, not theological experts. But the connection between The Holy Trinity, the three blessings, the symbol of good luck, and…booze is pretty easy to draw. A society that draws heavily from it’s historical and religious background applied an older symbol to a new love, and con la mosca is now the uniform way that most glasses of Sambuca are ordered. We’re not surprised you don’t know this. Outside of Italy the only people still drinking Sambuca are your grandparents.

Oh yeah guys! Sick burn!

From Sambuca to Espresso Martinis

Let’s fast forward to the 90’s. Dick Bradsell is coming up with his first iteration of the Espresso Martini, but it still needs something to put it over the top. He had a moment of clarity, and realized that the only way an EM could be served was con la mosca. From there on, the three bean garnish was a necessity in every espresso martini made.

Being the espresso martini connoisseurs that we are, we wanted to call back to something about the drink. Hell, it meant so much to us that we dock the score of virtually every martini we see without beans. The BEANS make the drink.  Three Beans was not only significant to the community and us, but it made for a great name.

The rude Awakening

Turns out we weren’t as slick as we thought we were. What seemed perfect to us, also seemed perfect to business owners across the country. Unfortunately, we realized that this made it virtually impossible for us to be able to trademark the name. Even worse, we realized it also made us super easy to be sued. Our lawyer (who is quickly becoming the star of most of our blog posts) advised us to change it before we got too far down the road. We came up with the name NuRange Coffee and pivoted almost immediately. We’ve kept the name Three Beans LLC as our legal name, a silent tribute to our favorite drink.

We must have had such an appreciation for history to know all about the significance of the garnish. SIKE! This is something we looked into way after we had to change our name. It bothered us that so many people had the same name for no apparent reason. So, we dug into it further and discovered the real meaning behind the three bean garnish. What we found not only fascinated us, but we noticed that there was still a lack of information out there regarding this. We figured it was information worth sharing with the world.

A Heartfelt Thank you

That’s been the best part of writing these blogs thus far. We’re a coffee company, but we’re not coffee experts. As we research for these blogs, we still find that we’re learning new things too. All jokes aside, we genuinely enjoy sharing this with you. What are we going to share next? How we came up with the name NuRange. It wont be nearly as involved or as exciting, but you’re getting it. WE DON’T CARE IF YOU ASKED FOR IT.