A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 31, 2010
“Cool beans”

"Cool beans!” is an exclamation meaning “Excellent!” or “Wonderful!” The term “cool beans” appears to have been used in the Cheech and Chong movie Up in Smoke (1978) and is cited in print from at least 1985.

“Cool beans!” uses the slang sense of the word “cool.” The “beans” origin is in dispute. “Cool beans!” might be simply another food phrase, like “Hot dog!” The Wiktionary suggests that “cool beans” might be a joke on “chili beans,” or “chilly (cool) beans.” The derivation of “beans” might come from the drug slang name for quaaludes.


Wiktionary: cool beans
Etymology
Originated in America during the late 1960s. Hits of acid and ludes were dubbed “cool beans” for their bean-like shape. They were also referred to as “whacky beans” or just “beans.” On top of that, there is the homophone connection between the food “chili beans” and “chilly beans”, literally meaning “cold beans”.
Interjection
cool beans

1.okay; a humorous and light-hearted nonsense phrase

Urban Dictionary
cool beans
A slang term that actually began it’s use in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Popularized by the pop culture of the time. Used to describe something very favorable or pleasing. Great. Very nice.
Cheech: Hey man, look at this car made out of weed!
Chong: Oh cool beans, man!

by Reverend Chaos Jan 13, 2004

cool beans
Amazing word used in Hot Rod excessively at one point.
C-c-c-cool b-b-b-beans!!!
coo-coo-cool bee-bee-beans
cool beans used by hot rod.

by Thargh Aug 5, 2007

Google Books
Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang
By Jonathon Green
London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
2005
Pg. 329:
cool beans! excl. [1980s+] (US teen) excellent! wonderful!
[COOL adj.]

Wikipedia: Cheech & Chong
Cheech & Chong are a comedy duo consisting of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong, who found a wide audience in the 1970s and 1980s for their stand-up routines, which were based on the hippie and free love era, and especially drug culture movements, most notably their love for cannabis.

Google Books
Grandpa Ritz and the luscious lovelies
By Marlene Fanta Shyer
New York, NY: Scribner
1985
Pg. 30:
“It’s cool beans!” That’s what Betsy always says when she thinks something is fantastic, and I couldn’t help wondering what she’d say if she could see me now.

Penn State Digital Library
9 July 1985, Daily Collegian, “Rod Serling’s main weapons are the fads and the trends”:
He controls millions of young adults who are, at this very moment, walking around like zombies in their flowered shorts and knit-shirts with up-turned collars, muttering such inanities as “What’s up, dude?” and “Cool beans.”

Google News Archive
14 December 1988, Bowling Green (KY) Daily News, “Groovy is bad, and bad is good” by Nikita Stewart (Warren Central High School), pg. 9A, cols. 2-3:
The most disliked slang words at Warren Central were “radical,” “word,” and “cool beans.”
(...)
“‘Cool beans’ means ‘it sounds good to me,’” sophomore Camille Napier said.

Google Books
May 1991, Cincinnati Magazine, pg. 88, col. 2:
It was really, really neat. It was better than that. It was cool beans.

Google Books
November 1992, Spin, Letters, pg. 24, col. 2:
Your guide to Lollapalooza ‘92 was cool beans!

Google Books
Slang & Sociability:
In-group language among college students

By Connie C. Eble
Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press
1996
Pg. 161:
cool beans!: expression of approval, admiration 87 (Recorded in 1987—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
Cool beans!, #8 : traveling issue.
Publisher: S[an]F[rancisco] CA : Matt Kelly, 1998.
Edition/Format: Book : English

AnswerBag
Why do we say “cool beans” if we mostly eat beans hot or warm? Would “cool beans” usually be pretty gross?
(...)
by MotherGoose on March 25th, 2007
First time I heard the phrase was in a Cheech and chong movie.
Cheech: Hey man, look at this car made out of weed!
Chong: Oh cool beans, man!

OCLC WorldCat record
Cool beans : exploring the function of music in the coffeehouse
Author: Bethany Walrad
Publisher: 2008.
Edition/Format: Book : Manuscript : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Cool beans : a Maya Davis novel
Author: Erynn Mangum
Publisher: Colorado Springs : NavPress, 2010.
Edition/Format: Book : Fiction : English
Summary: Everything seems to be going perfectly for Maya Davis: She has a great job at a coffee shop, gets along with her parents, and is happily single. That is until her best friend starts dating Maya?s high school sweetheart. This funny, heartwarming fiction story by best-selling author Erynn Mangum uses the power of story to challenge teens to discover the relevance of faith in their relationships and their lives. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 31, 2010 • Permalink