CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coral Bean Cafe at 7426 S. Staples in the La Encantada Village Shopping Center provides great specialty coffee, light breakfast and lunch.
Curt Flowers' business has been open for just more than a year along with barista Barry. On this episode of the Coastal Bend Black Excellence, Flowers explains how Coral Bean Cafe sprouted into what it is today during a pandemic.
“I was tricked! I was only supposed to do the marketing and set up all the systems for Coral Bean Cafe," Flowers said. "I would come back and forth from Chicago and on my second trip, COVID-19 hit! As it was new to everyone, I decided, it wasn't worth getting back on a plane.
"All the staff had to be let go and it was just me running the place solo for about 6-7 months before sales became too much even for a Jamaican. My lease ended in Chicago and I had my friends pack up my place. I came down here with a backpack and have been here ever since living with my friend."
Flowers explains how he came up with the concept of Coral Bean Cafe.
“Coral Bean Cafe's mission is to be the hub of Corpus Christi. During the Winterpoclyse, we stayed open as a warming center and provided free hot chocolate and clean water. We collaborated with Meraki Drybar Salon to provide free hair washes for those didn't have water and power.
"We've given away sourdough starter for bread baking because COVID forced people indoors and they picked up now hobbies. We've worked with the Humane Society to get dogs adopted.
"We are a meeting center for the Black community after people found out we were Black-owned. We try to promote people doing well. We've provided consulting to other businesses free of charge to help out who we can.
"We've donated our venue to help raise money to pay for children with cancer. The atmosphere is great and makes it a central place to meet people and collaborate."
Flowers' business is a natural derivation of his previous work and education.
"I'm a certified permaculture consultant. Permaculture is a design science that creates sustainable human habitats that work with nature. So, ultimately I'm a planet guy," Flowers said. "The Coral Bean is a local native plant that grows along the coast in this part of the country only. So it's like saying Corpus Christi or the Coastal Bend with plants. That's how the name came about."
The significance of being a person of color and owning a cafe business in the heart of Corpus Christi is vital to Flowers.
“Each element of the question presents is its own perception," he said. "When you combine them, it becomes a very unique muse. After some time I've realized that those notions are a distraction. I would say the main objective is to ignore ideas that don't help you focus on the goal. Provide the best experience that the world have ever seen with the resources you have. And that takes a lot of effort!”
And here's his definition of what Black excellence means to him.
“Do what you have to do until the job is done. Additionally, you must have a zero-tolerance for excuses from yourself and others. You must be laser-focused and remove all distractions from your life," he said. "The cost is sacrifice. The result of that is excellence. It doesn't matter the ethnicity. That only lays out predictable obstacles in your path. But like I stated before, ignore these conventional constructs that people and media try to project whether knowingly or inadvertently and forge forward relentlessly!"
To vote for Coral Bean Cafe visit here.
And to check out their menu visit here.