Kin-Kin Coffee

Potent Beans Perk Up with Kin-Kin Coffee

By Anna Thomas Bates | Photographed by Sunny Frantz

Gwen and Kyle Johnson have a full plate and a brimming cup of coffee. And as owners of Johnson Public House, the Kin-Kin Coffee stand and the coffee roasting company of the same name, the Johnsons put the extra caffeine to good use.


The Johnsons launched their roasting operation in 2014. “We didn’t want to stop serving anyone else’s coffee, but we wanted to put our own spin on it,” says Kyle.

After experimenting with small batches, the company invested in a Probat roaster that toasts 15 pounds of beans at a time. They work with specific importers and farmers to source the green beans and determine what temperature, airflow and roasting time— down to the second—will result in the perfect finished cup of coffee.

Last April, they began serving their own coffee exclusively at Kin-Kin Coffee Stand, the kiosk at Festival Foods on East Washington Avenue with typically three to four roasts available at a time.


“People shouldn’t choose a coffee based on roast level. They should try to get to know the flavors and origins and discover which ones they like,” advises Gwen. The super-roasty coffee found at Starbucks is not what coffee tastes like. “You don’t realize how good it can be until you’ve tried the best cup you’ve ever had.”

The couple has tasted thousands of different coffees and know what flavor profile they are seeking—they tend toward roasts that are bright, fruity and exciting. The Johnsons are as particular about coffee as some are about wine or whiskey.

Describing a recent roast, their Kenyan karindundu, Kyle says “Bright, notes of citrus, high acidity, but this one is a little toned back, more body, less acidity with dark fruit and chocolate notes. It’s kind of a surprising Kenyan, pretty balanced.”


Developing relationships and community are the driving forces behind the Johnsons’ multiple ventures.

Although their recent venture at A-OK on East Washington didn’t pan out, the Johnsons are invested in the development of the East Capital neighborhood with the Festival Foods Kin-Kin Coffee Stand—and they are hatching a plan to go mobile this summer with a cargo bike serving up cold brew at festivals and events. The Johnsons are building community, one perfectly roasted and brewed cup at a time. kinkincoffee.com

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