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The Diedrich Family Legacy
Carl Diedrich Growing Coffee 1970s

For Martin Diedrich, founder of Kéan Coffee™, great coffee has been part of the family for several generations. The Diedrich family's coffee heritage began in 1916 when Charlotte Diedrich – Martin Diedrich's grandmother – inherited a coffee plantation in Costa Rica. Her son Carl Diedrich eventually followed in his mother's line of business. In the late 1940's Carl learned the craft of coffee roasting while working for a roast master in the old city quarter of Naples, Italy. In the 1950's, Carl married Inga. Her family had been coffee, tea, and cocoa merchants in Germany since the 1850's. That company was Friedrich Gutch, founded by Martin's maternal great grandfather. Then in the 1960's, Carl and Inga acquired ownership of a small coffee farm in the Antigua region of Guatemala. Antigua, Guatemala is renowned as one of the world's greatest coffee growing regions.

Tikal, Guatemala As coffee farm owners for much of the last century, the Diedrich family developed a deep, intuitive understanding of coffee. They came to a profound appreciation of the impact of climate and geography on coffee. Through their own experimentation and learning from others, they developed numerous techniques of growing, processing, and roasting to maximize coffee bean quality and flavor. This passionate and deep understanding of the coffee growing process was passed from Carl Diedrich to his son Martin.

Carl Diedrich and the Coffee Van The Diedrich family began California operations in 1972 by importing, roasting, and retailing coffee from the Diedrich Guatemalan farm. Carl was roasting his coffee on a roaster that he had designed and built with his own hands. From 1972 to 1982, Carl would drive in his 1962 VW van the three thousand mile round trip from California through Mexico to Guatemala and back four to five times a year. While in Guatemala, he managed the business of the farm and on each return trip he brought back a vanload of sixteen 154-pound sacks of raw green coffee. Carl was a one-man, vertically integrated business.

In 1982, the Diedrich family divested their ownership of the farm without compensation, because of the severe political and economic hardship that country was experiencing at the time. By now, Carl and his roasted coffee had already become a local favorite in Orange County. In 1983, Martin began taking over the retail, roasting, and importing facets of the family business. Martin founded the first Diedrich Coffee, "a neighborhood coffeehouse", in 1984. Today Martin is considered to be one of the pioneers of the coffeehouse movement in the United States.

Martin Diedrich, 1985

Martin's concept for Diedrich Coffee was to create a Community Meeting Place where people could enjoy a great cup of coffee with their friends and neighbors in an atmosphere that promoted coffee lore and a local feel. These original coffeehouses were exciting, innovative, creative and comfortable places. This concept proved to be phenomenally successful and prompted Martin to grow and expand. By 1991, Martin had built the company's fourth coffeehouse in Orange County. His success allowed him to attract a more sophisticated management team to raise capital, and by 1996 the company had expanded to more than twelve Diedrich Coffee coffeehouses in Orange County and San Diego. After the company went public, expansion continued, and Diedrich Coffee bought several other coffee chains, bringing the company to international, status with locations numbering in the hundreds.

Kean Diedrich, 2006 The Diedrich Family legacy also includes recognition as one of the world's top five manufacturers of coffee roasters. Carl Diedrich invented and hand-built the first roaster on the Guatemala farm in the 1960's. His purpose was to build a roaster specifically designed to custom roast the very fine grade of coffee he was growing. His philosophy of roasting was considered near heresy at the time, but is now widely regarded as the best way to roast high quality coffees. Carl's original coffee roaster was the inspiration for Martin's brother Stephan Diedrich. Stephan vastly improved Carl's original concept utilizing state-of-the-art technology and engineering. He created the manufacturing business Diedrich Coffee Roasters - a completely separate business from Diedrich Coffee owned and operated by Stephan Diedrich, which builds the coffee roasting machines. There are well over 2,500 Diedrich roasters operating in more than 50 countries worldwide.

In 2004, Martin parted ways with his company, Diedrich Coffee, to return to his roots as an independent coffeehouse operator. With the launch of Kean Coffee, the Diedrich family coffee legacy continues.

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