Diedrich personally roasts each variety of bean to achieve its optimal flavor, avoiding the harsh, generic Starbucks-style roast. A menu behind the bar shows that the cafe only serves "in-season" beans. "Except for producers right on the equator, there are seasons for various coffees," Diedrich says. "Every year there are different climate conditions and temperatures that create different roast profiles. Starbucks and the other chains don't really buy quality coffee. It's all perception."
The differences with Starbucks and Diedrich Coffee don't end there. Unlike the large chains, which offer expensive bags of free-trade coffee as window-dressing, 75 percent of Kéan Coffee's entire menu are both fair-trade and organic. "Whereas most other coffee stores just do it as a token, for me it's fundamental to my philosophy and worldview," Diedrich says. "The best coffees are made by small farmers who respect the environment and their workers, because if you don't do that, it comes out in the coffee. Diedrich Coffee started out that way, but lost it over the years. You can't mass produce quality."
Diedrich: "You can't mass produce quality." Photo by Jennie Warren