Kian Abedini, a longtime hospitality professional, was born Pomona, raised in Diamond Bar and first got inspired by coffee in 2009 while consulting for Santa Monica’s Espresso Cielo. He started roasting under the Compelling & Rich brand in 2012, and temporarily operated Frequency Coffee inside Gelateria Uli in 2015. Now Abedini is working to open a full-fledged, community-focused Frequency Coffee bar in MacArthur Park in part through an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. Learn more about his background and caffeinated vision.
Joshua Lurie: What did you previously do for a living leading up Frequency, and what prompted your shift to coffee?
Kian Abedini: I’ve worked in Hospitality my entire life, working every position from a line cook to Director of Operations, but I didn’t all in love with the idea of working in coffee until consulting on operations for a cafe in 2009. I was fascinated by how many details go into something that can be so simple; I have specialty coffee to thank for my focus on quality.
JL: What’s your favorite aspect of working in the coffee community?
KA: Just that – the community. I’ve met such amazing, hard-working people in the Los Angeles coffee community and beyond. It’s really humbling to see peers, for example, that have been roasting for 20-years change up their methods as new studies come out on how to increase the sweetness and solubility of coffee. There are a lot of people in the L.A. coffee community that are committed to ongoing education, taking ego out of the question. It’s inspiring.
JL: What distinguishes Frequency Coffee from other coffee bars?
KA: We’re not only focused on serving local products and servicing the local community, but on innovation. Within a month of opening our pop-up, we’d already received national attention for our focus on treating coffee as a market-driven product. We’re looking to continue serving coffee as a craft product; it’s amazing that people are rejecting the now old-school coffee snob ideal of “only black coffee.” People seem to respond to the fact that we’ve been humble about specialty coffee, while looking to serve it in exciting ways.
JL: What’s the first cup of coffee you ever remember drinking?
KA: I’m sure I drank a few instant coffees with sugar and milk in high school, but the first cup I’ll never forget was a dialed-in espresso from L.A.’s Choke. It was 2008, just after my 21st birthday, and I needed caffeine to shake off a hangover. I had randomly been invited to this shop by a local, and I was frustrated because the barista was taking forever to make me my drink. He made me a shot, then dumped it out after tasting it. Then he made me another, poured some of it out for himself, tasted it, then served me my cup. It doesn’t matter what the brand was (I think Ecco?), it was just an amazing espresso, like drinking chocolate syrup. To this day I try to get people hooked on specialty coffee through espresso.
JL: Why is it important to roast your own coffee, and what distinguishes your coffee from other roasters?