UR INSPIRED: Meet Kian Abedini, Creator of Compelling & Rich Coffee
Interviewed by Danasia Fantastic
I recently sat down with the mastermind and creator of Compelling & Rich Coffee, Kian Abedini. Kian shares his story of turning his passion and love for coffee into a full-fledged career.
Location: Los Angeles, CA
We’re obsessing over Compelling & Rich Coffee! Tell us about when you first fell in love with coffee:
I first started working in coffee in 2007, at a small café in Pasadena. I didn’t like coffee when I started, but I ended up really loving our espresso. My personal favorite kind of espresso will taste like caramel, chocolate, with a little bit of fruit juice in it. Over the years I got out of the business and worked as a photographer in New York, but I kept my taste for good coffee.
How did you turn your love of coffee into a full-fledged business?
My business school thesis was on where coffee would be in the near-future. I saw a niche that hadn’t necessarily been taken over yet, and started learning about roasting. For a year and a half, I made myself a student of coffee. I kept my nose in books, read internet forums, met people, and drank a ton of amazing coffee (and even more mediocre coffee). Once I’d objectively developed a talent and a palette, I started sending my coffee out, and eventually put a website up for direct ordering. Over the past year it has grown from something where I was roasting out of my living room and bothering my roommates, to international sales and our first retail location.
Any tips for newbie entrepreneurs?
There’s a ton. Be confident that you’re making a quality product. Use your connections, but don’t depend on them. Don’t take things personally in business. Finding new business and keeping momentum in growth is everything. Don’t take “No,” for an answer; don’t take 100 “No’s” for an answer.
What inspires you? I think if you’re going to grow in this business, and keep growing, you have to maintain a love and a curiosity for what you do. Although my coffees are being highly rated and enjoyed by my peers and idols, I know I’m not perfect, and coffee as a discipline is evolving. I can’t wait to see what the next 20-years of my career will bring.
What are 5 things you’d tell your 20 year old self?
Always have a backup plan. Stop sleeping in. You’re not burning yourself out. Focus. Get better, and don’t stop getting better.
Have you experienced the quarter life crisis?
I think I’m in the middle of it right now! I still have business school loans to pay off, and I’m instead spending my time and effort on building a coffee brand… and as anyone who works in coffee can tell you, you don’t really work in coffee for the money.
What words do you live by (what’s your favorite quote)?
“The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Where would you like to see Compelling & Rich in 5 years?
I’d like to see us having a presence in new and upcoming coffee communities – Nashville, Baltimore, Atlanta – as well as flagship stores in LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle.
Where are your 3 favorite places in LA and why?
I’m a big fan of the growing coffee scene out here: you can usually find me at Andante Coffee Roasters, or either location of Café Demitasse. I think they’re putting together the right formula of consistently great hospitality and a strong focus on the quality of the coffee they’re serving.