Photo By: Kolini Faagata
Photo By: Kolini Faagata

You Voted: Here Are Your Favorite Coffee Shop Owners in Costa Mesa

Grab a Cup of Joe at These Shops

Written By: Ameihia Turingan Costa Mesa Coffee Shop

Coffee shop owners truly showcase their specialty for creating a high-quality cup of coffee by serving delicious and satisfying drinks daily. In our poll, you chose your favorite coffee shop owners in Costa Mesa—a group of individuals who have honed their craft through the years. From sourcing and roasting beans to providing a great atmosphere to sip on these drinks, your Costa Mesa coffee shop owners imbue passion through every brew and shot of espresso. We had the opportunity to learn more about your favorite Costa Mesa coffee shop owners and their businesses below!

Costa Mesa Coffee Shop

Martin and Karen Diedrich of Kéan Coffee

Q: What is your favorite drink on the menu?

Karen Diedrich: In some sense, my favorite drink is always whatever we are serving that is new and exciting, but my standing favorite remains our ever-popular signature Turkish latte. I also enjoy a simple espresso macchiato, and our affogato as an indulgence, because ice cream!

Martin Diedrich: My favorite is always whatever brewed coffee we happen to be brewing because each coffee we roast is my personal favorite pick of the hundreds of green coffee samples from around the world that we cup throughout the year. When I’m going with an espresso drink, I enjoy an espresso macchiato.

Q: What is something unique about Kéan that most visitors don’t know?

KD: Those who knew Diedrich Coffee would know this, but some visitors may not know that we were the original farm direct coffee roasters in Orange County, back when Starbucks was just a fledgling company as well, in its own neck of the woods. Also, most people don’t know that we have a mini-coffee farm growing at our home in Costa Mesa, and we periodically harvest the ripe coffee cherries, manually process, roast and brew the coffee as an exercise for our staff to learn about coffee from a seed to cup, personal, experiential perspective.

Q: Kéan focuses on being a community coffeehouse and has a few locations in Orange County. What do you enjoy most about serving this community?

KD: Orange County has become increasingly more vibrant, diverse and culturally stimulating as more people have come to appreciate what our beautiful county has to offer. In both of our locations we have many regular guests who enjoy our coffeehouses often, some daily. We love the dynamic that happens in our coffeehouses when people congregate and spend time together, engaging in meaningful, lively discussions, even forming new friendships in the coffeehouse.

Q: Coffee has played a major role in the Diedrich family for generations. What does it mean to you to be able to continue this legacy?

KD: In the course of our day to day activities, the awareness of our several generations of family history in coffee is not necessarily always a conscious focus for us. Rather, it is something that sort of runs in the background and guides and shapes all that we do, as the depth and breadth of the many years of living this coffee life permeates everything.


Jeff Duggan of Portola Coffee Roasters

Q: What is your favorite drink on the menu?

Jeff Duggan: Now this is like being asked which child is my favorite. And depending on their behavior, the answer to that question changes—just kidding. I love all my children the same, all the time. I love the cappuccino. I know, a bit of a boring answer perhaps, but the milk to espresso ratio is just right for me.

Q: What is something unique about Portola Coffee Roasters that most visitors don’t know?

JD: One of my most proud accomplishments is the development of our direct trade coffee sourcing program. We are engaging farmers in a much deeper, more meaningful way than merely exchanging money for raw coffee beans. We are assisting farmers on a scientific level in order to teach them a better, more reliable way to process coffee at the farm level—all with the intent of improving quality.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

JD: Being the reason so many people start their day with a smile on their face. Coffee is much more than just a stimulant. It is a culinary experience, so taste really does matter. Knowing that the product we source straight from the hands of some wonderful farmers is an integral part of our customers’ daily lives. The efforts of all those involved in the journey is not in vain.  

Q: The word “journey” is a key theme for your shop. What has been one of your most integral moments on this journey so far?

JD: Understanding that the bean-to-cup journey is multifaceted and the success of our product is in the hands of many, not just ours. Fostering relationships and supporting all those involved in this supply chain is not only good for business but good stewardship.

Sonny Nguyen of 7 Leaves Café

Q: What is your favorite drink on the menu?

Sonny Nguyen: There’s so many great drinks on a menu, but if I had to choose one, my favorite drink on the menu would be our large house special coffee [with] extra ice and easy sea cream.

Q: What is something unique about the cafe that most visitors don’t know?

SN: There are quite a few things actually. First, we have a community printer that we donate to our local customers [and] second, most of our drinks are cooked! For example, our herbal tea is cooked with seven different types of raw ingredients such as artichoke, sugarcane, chrysanthemum, jasmine tea, etc.

Q: What was the inspiration behind your business’ name?

SN: There are a few reasons but I’ll give you two. First, there were seven original founders that started 7 Leaves Café. Second, one of our drinks, the herbal tea, has seven natural raw ingredients cooked together.

Q: You started 7 Leaves Café with your brothers. What is your favorite part about sharing this business experience with them?

SN: My favorite thing about working together as a family is the aspect of trust and respect. Things just get done much faster, people care for each other and everyone’s on the same page. We all left our corporate jobs because of all the red tape and bureaucracies.


Maurizio and Barbara Cocchi of Vitaly Caffe

Q: What is your favorite drink on the menu?

Maurizio Cocchi: [My] favorite espresso drink is the classic espresso one shot—the base of all our drinks. [My] opinion is that the best coffee shop should be evaluated on the best one shot espresso and not on latte art or sophisticated recipes variations.

Q: What is something unique about Vitaly that most visitors don’t know?

MC: First time visitors usually miss the concept that we do everything. We serve Italian recipes homemade from scratch [such as] our pasta, our piadina, our gelato and so on. If we cannot do something in-house, we usually import it from Italy apart from the amazing vegetables and fruit, usually organic, that are possible to find in the area. Also, our Italian espresso is roasted in Bologna, Italy, where we are from, by the most famous roaster in our town.

Q: What is your favorite part about bringing Italian culture to Southern California?

Barbara Cocchi: We decided to move here in 2011 to bring the real Italian quality in a market where Italian restaurants and food have been modified so heavily from the real modern Italian top-quality food. The favorite part about bringing our culture to Southern California is the fantastic compliments that we hear every day from customers on the authenticity and quality of our products.

Q: You moved here to California with the idea of Vitaly in mind. How did this idea to open Vitaly come about and what skills from your experience have been most important in running your business?

BC: We were coming very often for business and pleasure to Orange County since 1986 and we were missing tremendously our real Italian quality products. When we sold our company in 2008, we decided it was the right time to move here and to bring some really authentic Italian food specialties like gelato, espresso drinks, piadine, pasta and obviously wines!

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