OB Beans Coffee Roasters Now Open

by on May 30, 2017 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

A Shave Ice Stand to Share Space

By South OB Girl

What a week for opening days! Monday was the long awaited opening of Apple Tree Market and Friday, May 26th saw the opening of OB Beans Coffee Roasters located at 4879 Newport Ave.

OB Beans takes coffee beans, coffee bean roasting, and all things coffee very seriously. Mark Bell, the principle owner, has even traveled to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Oaxaca and observed the coffee process. He has spent time with farmers. He has held cherries of coffee in his hands.

Mark Bell, the principle owner. (All photos by South OB Girl)

When you order a latte, the espresso in that latte is from a bean blend specially selected and roasted on site. As fresh from the bean as possible. Mark had roasted a blend of Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans for the iced latte he made me on Sunday. The combination of those different beans make a flavor he thinks is quite nice.

OB Beans works directly with small lot coffee farmers around the world to select high quality beans, small batch roast them in OB, and donate back to non-profit partners. Their mission, as stated on their website, is:

“to do as much good as possible from farm to cup while helping people experience and enjoy fresh roasted, high quality, specialty coffee.”

OB Beans is a dream come true for four friends, Mark Bell (principle owner), Ryan Bardelli, Taylor Langstaff, and Ben Nease. Taylor and Ben went to college together at Point Loma Nazarene (they graduated in 2014). And Ben and Ryan grew up together here in OB and went to Point Loma High School. Mark, a Michigan native, got to know everyone through nonprofit work. The young men have all been youth mentors with Young Life. And have also volunteered with Ride for Water.

Taylor, who is originally from Kauai, will also be running a shave ice stand, selling Hawaiian style shave ice. The coffee shop area and shave ice shop will share the space. Wailua Shave Ice is still in the process of opening, and its hours may be different than OB Beans. Wailua Shave Ice has a store in Portland (as well as in Kauai) but there are no stores in California. Wailua Shave Ice was interested in expanding into California and liked the idea of the shared space with the coffee shop in a beach community.

One of the owners of OB Beans will also be running a shave ice stand. The coffee shop area and shave ice shop will share the space.

Mark was inspired to go into coffee roasting and open a coffee shop after a trip to Mazatlan about 5 years ago – where he was fascinated by an American expat’s coffee shop, the Looney Bean. There Mark learned about roasting coffee beans, and about running a business that can give back to the community and those in need.

He learned about the poverty and struggles of so many less fortunate than he. And he learned about the poverty and labor of coffee farm workers. After doing nonprofit work for about 20 years, and after selling the condo he owned in OB — Mark has poured his heart, soul, and finances into creating OB Beans.

Family and friends of all four men helped as well with funding. The men did a lot of the remodeling themselves. All of the demo, and whatever else they could. Ryan made the furniture. Everyone contributed. Their friend Ryan Shoemaker made the pottery dishes that are used — the cups and plates. He also took some of the photos that decorate the walls.

Beans are roasted on site. This is the roaster.

The group started off selling at farmers markets throughout town, donating fifty percent to charity to start with. Mark expects future charity efforts to be project based and there is not a set percentage of sales towards charity. Perhaps projects for water filters in El Salvador, or raising funds to help send American kids to camp if their families don’t have the means. Projects will likely be in San Diego, the US, and abroad.

And how did the young men pick this location? Knowing the owner of the building, John Small, from nonprofit work was one factor. Newport Avenue seemed like a prime location to be the only coffee roaster in OB. But the team was originally not interested in the space. 2,700 square feet was more real estate than they were envisioning in the beginning. And the amount of remodeling that would be needed was originally daunting. But with Wailua on board and the need for a large space for the coffee bean roasting equipment, the location started to feel like the perfect spot.

Green coffee beans in bags. The beans will be roasted in the roaster and then sold to customers. The freshly roasted beans are used in the drip coffee and espresso beverages sold in the shop as well.

There was a steady stream of people ordering coffees and espresso beverages when I wandered into OB Beans on Sunday. There were people studying and working at their lap tops. Groups socializing. The ambiance was very nice. A modern look and feel, minimalist and industrial. Fresh paint on the walls, concrete floors, bright lights, and exposed beams in the ceiling. There is a comfortable looking couch with a coffee table, tables and chairs (all made by Ryan), and a standing bar in the back of the store by the roaster.

Located at 4879 Newport Ave, OB Beans is still determining its hours of operation. Wailua Shave Ice hours are also tbd. OB Beans coffee beans can also be delivered to your door every two weeks if you sign up for delivery. We OBceans weren’t sure what to expect as we awaited the opening of OB Beans and we can all be pleasantly surprised.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

judi May 30, 2017 at 10:48 am

Great article.


Jason May 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Hopefully this chill community will enjoy the efforts of the owner to produce an authentic product without screaming “Cultural Appropriation!”



Madison July 30, 2017 at 10:53 am

Ryan Shoemaker’s pottery dishes are amazing. Would love to inquire about having some of my own. Anyone know how?


South OB Girl July 31, 2017 at 10:06 am

For starters have a chat with management at OB Beans… Perhaps they can get you in touch…


Besca October 23, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Mark, it sounds as if roasting quality coffee is a perfect fit for you. Traveling around the globe to get a feel for the product is very inspiring. I can only imagine what you’ve learned on your journey.

Thank you so much for the inspiring story South OB Girl.


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