Kean Coffee in Newport Beach is a local shop run by Martin Diedrich, the guy who started Diedrich's Coffee. After selling Diedrich's to Starbucks, he jumped ship to start another coffee shop just cause he loves coffee so damn much, and it shows. There is an attention to coffee purity that will please any coffee enthusiast.
Located on a busy intersection, this is quite a jewel. It stands out since right next to Kean, are a various stereotypical Newport Beach establishments like plastic surgery shops. You also see lots of moms driving SUVs and bringing their dog. Either way, good for Martin as if you are selling coffee, Newport Beach is a great business decision since its almost recession proof. Just like his business intellect, Martin Diedrich definitely knows his coffee.
The coffee is simply amazing, being put on my own personal list of awesome. They do the whole chain of espresso correctly. Kean roasts on site, and all beans are at most 5 days from roasting time. Every package of coffee has its roast date stamped. Their espresso roast is one of the best roasts I have ever tasted. It has a slight bitter tone, with chocolate after tones that dance on your tongue. Imagine yourself eating some delicious Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, and thats how blissful the espresso is. Coffee Geek has the term: "the God Shot" which is defined as "a homage to God in a way because when someone talks about a God Shot, it is something so special, so unique, so perfect, it's almost as if God Himself has blessed it." Kean is the only place where I have had such a shot.
I vividly remember this shot at Kean in an espresso macchiato. It was so delightful, so delicious, voluptuous and spellbinding, it just made my day. That's how awesome Kean is. As for their cappuccino, they have two types: classic italian, and american. The classic italian comes in a standard 6 ounce bowl cup with saucer! Their proportions are also traditional, with a single shot being roughly 1/3 foam. My only gripe is that the consistency with Kean' cappuccino has been all over the place. Every time i've been there, the shots and cappuccinos are excellent. However, most of the time, the milk for a cappuccino has been airy bubbly foam, with occasional microfoam. Every macchiato however, has had delicious creamy microfoamed latte art inscribed in the drink.
With their coffee being so delicious, their cafe is somewhat a mixed bag depending on what you are looking for in a coffee shop. It is clear that Diedrich tried to create an environment where people come to socialize, and not be yuppish like Starbucks. Most of the time, you will see the baristas develop espresso to its potential, smell the pleasant aroma of different beans being ground, and hear the occasional "cappucino for Mason". There is no free wifi, the tables are relatively small, and the seating is somewhat cramped promoting discussion with your table neighbors. Martin Deidrich, and all the baristas are extremely happy and friendly, allowing you to ask any question about coffee, even as they roast their beans in front of your eyes. Free samples of their roasts are there for the taking, if you simply ask. If this kind of environment appeals to you, Kean's setup will be favorite your oasis. If you prefer a coffee shop where people sit in couches, relax, and sit on a computer, look elsewhere.
In the end, I am grateful to have Kean so close to where I live. For me, Kean is my coffee amore.