For whom the brew tolls
By MAKAYLA TENDALL
The chimes of the Bell Tower are as consistent in the morning routines of many Jefferson residents as their cups of coffee.
Now the two can be combined into one brew while a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Bell Tower Foundation.
Rich and Reagan Osborne, owners of the Greene Bean Coffee Shop, are celebrating the town’s icon after creating the Bell Tower Blend.
The couple — who chose to move to Jefferson from Colorado on a whim — happened to first come to Jefferson during the Bell Tower Festival. It was right before this year’s Bell Tower Festival that Rich came up with the idea to use one of his products to benefit the tower.
The Bell Tower Blend started as a mix of Guatemalan, Mexican and Brazilian beans that Rich had been meaning to brew together. Using trial and error, Rich roasted and ground a mix.
“I only roasted once. I made it, we tried it and we were blown away,” Rich said. “I put it on the menu and labeled it Test Brew.”
The Test Brew took off.
“I was thinking what can I do with this? It was just before the festival. It popped into my head: Bell Tower Blend. That sounds awesome,” Rich said.
Rich contacted the Bell Tower Foundation, pledging to donate $2 of every $13 bag of coffee sold to the foundation.
Carole Custer, president of the Bell Tower Foundation, said that though they do get some donations, this will be the first product dedicated to helping the foundation.
“We’re delighted. It will help us maintain and enhance the tower. We are always looking for ways to enhance,” Custer said.
Custer said the money will help purchase the 19 additional bells needed to complete the Bell Tower. With each new bell, Custer said Jefferson residents will hear the improved sound created by a full-range, four-octave bell tower.
“The richness of the bells will be much improved, and we will be able to actually play the bells. We could have concerts, and play specific songs and take requests,” Custer said. “We’re trying to breathe new life into the tower. As the town gets more and more visitors, more people will see the tower and want to help further.”
With money raised and the tower enhanced, Custer’s hope is that Jefferson residents will realize for whom the bell tolls.
Jefferson residents will be able to interact with the Bell Tower. They can rent it for receptions and gatherings, request songs for weddings or celebrations like birthdays and other ceremonies.
The bell can be used for memorial songs, such as what could be played on Sept. 11.
So far, customers have treated bags of the blend like caffeinated crack.
“Wow” was Rich’s reaction when he discovered that the Bell Tower Blend had sold more than almost every other blend combined in the last week since he put it on the permanent menu.
He said one customer who drank the same blend for four years decided to take a leap and try the Bell Tower Blend after hearing the buzz.
Rich said he believes both the flavor of the coffee and its pairing to the Bell Tower Foundation has helped grow the popularity of the blend.
“It’s gotten a very huge response since I’ve put the name on it and said we’re doing it for the Bell Tower,” Rich said. “It’s smooth, mellow, has some sweetness to it and just enough body. It’s very chuggable. People will buy a cup and all of the sudden that cup’s empty.”
The Greene Bean already uses conscious coffee beans, meaning most of the beans are fair-trade certified and ensure that farmers in third-world countries are able to sell beans for a price that will provide a profit. Many of the Bean’s beans also benefit wildlife.
“We’re always doing something,” Rich said about his and his wife’s penchant for volunteering and community consciousness. “Now that we’re spending a little bit more time in here, we can still help out there. It was such a no-brainer. It just fell together.”
Custer said she looks forward to the donations to the Bell Tower Foundation and can’t wait for the Bell Tower to become an even more integral part of the community.
Custer, who is also the director of marketing for Iowa State University, said she envisions the Bell Tower representing what the Campanile represents for ISU.
“It celebrates with us, helps us with our sorrow, memorializes with us,” Custer said of the songs played on the Campanile at ISU. “That campanile at ISU is very much a part of the university, and we want that for the people of Jefferson.”