“Think about this: People get out of bed and spend their entire day on a man made surface, never touching anything natural with their bare feet. People drive in climate controlled cars so they don’t have to worry about global warming. Cars are sold for the entertainments they possess. We’re zipping down the road at death defying speeds in total isolation. We go to jobs where we sit in cubicles all day long. People feel isolated and disconnected.” Martin Diedrich’s Kean Coffee is an antidote to this isolation and disconnectedness, a chance to reconnect and reenergize. His goal is to be the new town square.
We met with him at his coffeehouse in Newport Beach. It was a hive of activity. “You’re established in this business when the guests know each other,” he says looking at the knots of people coming and going from the space. His goal is to create an ‘urban refuge’ a place where people connect over coffee and leave the hubbub of the day behind. To that end, there is no free wifi. Unlike most coffeehouses, people are talking to each other, not staring at screens. On this day, every seat was full and the space was loud with conversation.
“You can make this anywhere; people are people, “he says pausing to sip his coffee, “People are social creatures. They love to gather together, and hang out with one another. The sad thing is (society has) departed from that in a major way. I think today people yearn for opportunities to get together. ”