You want to soak the beans overnight, so measure out the 3 cups and go through the beans to take out any bad ones (really shriveled or discolored). It's an extra step, but worth it because bad beans are nasty if left inches Put beans in a bowl and cover with water. Next day, dump water and you are ready to go.
Cut up bacon and fry to a crisp. Chop up into small pieces. Use some of the bacon grease and sauté onions and garlic. Put beans, fresh water, onion/garlic, and bacon into a crock pot. Add salt until the water tastes pretty salty, like you would want it to taste when done cooking. Add bay leaves and cook on high for 6 hours.
Something else that makes it really good (and really Brazilian) is to eat it with a salad made with just lettuce, tomato and dressed with lime juice, olive oil, and salt (I actually put the salt right on the lettuce then add the dressing and toss). My favorite thing to do is have a bite of rice, beans, and salad all together.