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​​​​​​​​​​​​By Roxana Vosough

​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

Our society today is quite reliant on the virtual written word more than ever before. We send text messages to get our point across, send emails for immediate responses, research the internet for our answers to random inquiries. This face to screen interaction, leaves little room for what is natural, to look up and see people in front of you, and strike up a conversation, gaining a perspective of what is going on around you on a personal level. However, there is an exception to our modern society, the coffee shop; a place of refuge throughout centuries, although the concept in the US has become more of a place for meetings, studying, and working, versus solely a place of casual social interaction and catching up with those around you.

In California, one man and his team are making a difference in their community by bringing people together (with no wifi) to chat, catch up, and take a break from their hectic days over a great cup of coffee. Pioneer of this modern day revolution, founder of Kean Coffee, Martin Diedrich, sat down with Mode-Moderne Journal to discuss the progression, sophistication and international impact of coffee on society:

“Great coffee is rare,” claims Diedrich, who emphasizes that proper, labor-intensive techniques is what maintains the essence of great coffee; from the raw bean to the final product one receives from the barista. The process begins with roasting the raw, green coffee beans (initially selected by Diedrich), which are exported by coffee growers primarily throughout Latin America to Diedrich’s Newport Beach store. This is where head roaster, Ted, begins the gradual melodic process of roasting the beans to the ideal roast for that type of coffee, whether it’s a light roast for more floral and effervescent flavors or a dark roast, which is more bold and intense. “Coffee beans are treated the same way as wine grapes… The way it’s treated informs how it is going to taste,” explains Ted (please see clip below).

​​​​​​​​​​​​Film Credit: Ozzie Clark

After the roasting process, the coffee’s undergo the ultimate tasting, called “cupping.” This cupping is led by Diedrich and Ted, who taste each coffee by taking quick sips with a spoon, acquiring the essence and embodiment of each coffee. After an intricate grading process, Ted and Diedrich compare scores and determine which they would like to import and those they wish to send back.

Once the coffee is stored in-house, the process of preparing the ideal cup comes to fruition. In order to ensure the handwork the farmer has put into growing the coffee takes a team of people at the coffee house.“The lack of properly ground, brewed or proper water ratio can screw up the world’s best coffee,” explains Diedrich, as each detail is taken into account, from roasting to preparing the final product. Heightened water quality, and by using a reverse osmosis filter, which Diedrich calls a “tricky and sophisticated method,” ensures great quality, as 98% of coffee is water and the other 2% is physically extracted from the coffee bean.

The last touch comes from the barista, who embodies all the handwork. They brew the coffee, create the espressos, steam and foam the milk and present the drink in the matter of upmost sophistication, which is then there for you to enjoy.

​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

The coffee shop today has become a place of a modern, urban refuge, or “the new town square,” says Diedrich. Diedrich, who came from a background in archaeology and interest in sociology, spoke to Mode-Moderne Journal about the need in today’s society to escape technology, instead placing more of an emphasis on a face-to-face relationship. “Even more profound than coffee,” he explains, “is people, bringing [coffee] back to its roots in Ethiopia, where families would gather around a fire in sacred circles.” This notion of ‘community’ is instilled in the mantra of Kean Coffee, filling the gap in today’s society.

​​​​​​​​​​​​Roxana Vosough, 25 is the Founder and Publisher of Mode-Moderne Journal

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