Credit: Sophie Lincoln | Mustang News

Although it may seem as if your local barista is there to simply whip up your favorite cup of joe for your morning study session or much needed pick-me-up, Kin Coffee Bar Co-Owner Julian Contreras believes there is more value in a barista to customer relationship.

“You’d be pretty surprised how much you have in common with someone making your drinks,” Contreras said.

Kin Coffee Bar, which originally opened on Higuera Street in 2019, recently made their second debut at a new location on Taft Street. A more conveniently placed location was something Contreras was striving for.

“Essentially, we want to be able to cater to the people that want to study here, but at the same time we also want to make it like a small little hub for this community for people to come and enjoy themselves without having the struggle to go downtown,” he said.

Contreras hopes the new location will create an atmosphere that is safe and inclusive and he puts major emphasis on the importance of mental health.

“Regardless of us being a coffeeshop, this is also a hub for conversation and a hub for people to be able to feel safe and practice the ability to be able to talk about things,” Contreras said.

Although the Taft Street location just opened in late January, statistics junior Nadia Truong already favors it over the downtown location.

“In the downtown location, it’s hard to find parking and always having to pay for parking and move around. Also, the downtown location doesn’t have much study spots. They have a lot more space in the new location,” Truong said.

Trong also enjoys the coffee shop’s inclusive atmosphere.

“I like all the signage that they have where they’re like obviously anti-racism and they really want to show that they welcome all types of people,” she said.

Kin will also be welcoming the musical and artistic scene to the Taft Street location, Contreras said. He eventually wants to add more of a touch of nightlife to the coffee shop.

“On top of adding more seating and stuff like that, we do want to do like beer and wine and live music,” Contreras said.

The coffee shop also hopes to collaborate with local artists to provide their products to sell in house.

“We want to fill up our shelves with people’s product,” Contreras said.

Contreras also said Kin Coffee aims to provide an ideal space for digital creators.

“We would do like filming here, where they can do their podcast and or their live music. Everything would be digitally recorded, and audio recorded and have some really cool backdrops and stuff like that,” he said.


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Sophie Lincoln | Mustang News

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