Review of Ethan and the Bean: Little Falls’ Coziest Coffee Shop

For years, companies have maintained low standards for hiring adults with disabilities, with many businesses claiming that workers with disabilities will reduce the performance of the company. Ethan and the Bean, a non-profit coffee shop located in Little Falls, New Jersey, aims to end the stigma that surrounds hiring the underemployed minority. 

Pam Donovan is the owner of the coffee shop. Her son, Ethan, has autism and is non-verbal. Donovan was worried Ethan would lack opportunity in the workforce. According to a study by Drexel University, 42 percent of early 20-year-olds with autism have never been employed.

Pam Donovan’s son, Ethan is non-verbal and communicates through an iPad. This way, using a voice on the iPad, he can convey how he feels about certain jobs and even welcome guests.”

Donovan opened Ethan and the Bean to employ and educate adults like Ethan. She hired Toby Hartog and Victoria Gazzillo, two college students, to help with training. Hartog and Gazzillo taught ten employees, both physically and intellectually challenged, how to grind and brew coffee, put logo stickers on cups, give correct change, figure out what to wear for job interviews, and complete job applications.

Ethan is non-verbal and communicates through an iPad. Using a voice on the iPad he can convey how he feels about certain jobs and even welcome guests. One of Ethan’s favorite jobs is grinding the beans. 

At Ethan and the Bean, the staff make minimum wage and above. This is not typical for adults with disabilities. They are often taken advantage of, working for less than minimum wage or volunteering for the experience. 

On a picturesque street in Little Falls, Ethan and the Bean provides a safe and welcoming space for all. Walking in, you are immediately greeted with the scent of delicious coffee and a cute-rustic aesthetic. 

There is no rushed or stressful feeling accompanied by the act of getting coffee as one would get at Starbucks or any other coffee franchise.”

On the brick wall facing the door are the menu and a beautiful porcelain sculpture. To the right is a wall full of unique artwork and adorable hacky sack booths. To the left is the checkout counter lined with scrumptious desserts and treats. 

The overall vibe of Ethan and the Bean is one of positivity and supportiveness; it’s a place where no one would ever feel unwelcome.

The staff at Ethan and the Bean are kind and hard-working. There is no rushed or stressful feeling accompanied by the act of getting coffee as one would get at Starbucks or any other coffee franchise. At Ethan and the Bean, one can simply relax and decide which tasty drink to order. 

There are a wide variety of hot and cold beverages on the menu at Ethan and the Bean. While I’ve only tried one item on the menu, they all look amazing. I ordered a vanilla cream cold brew, and it was ten times better than that same order at Starbucks. It was one of the best coffees I have ever had, and I drink a lot of coffee. 

Overall, Ethan and the Bean is a quaint little coffee shop that gives opportunities to those who don’t have many. It’s a place that has everyone leaving with a smile and good coffee in their hand. 

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