BOSTON (CBS) – Roasting, cooling and packaging beans, there are a lot of people working hard at New England Coffee in Malden.
The boss, though, is on one long coffee break.
Joking about his age and sipping coffee, you might think it would make 90-year-old Stephen Kaloyanides unproductive, but he is the straw that stirs the company’s coffee, a drink he didn’t love growing up.
“I preferred milk to coffee,” Kaloyanides said.
It wasn’t until he joined the Navy that Kaloyanides started to enjoy coffee, and when he got out in 1946 he took over for the founder of New England Coffee: his dad.
“My father said, ‘Steve, you have to come work. I’m not well, you have to replace me,’” Kaloyanides said.
Seven decades later, his job is now quality control.
“Consistency is key,” he said.
Kaloyanides and two co-workers are in charge of cupping the coffee, or as Kaloyanides calls it, “sip and spit.” They’re making sure the beans coming in meet their standards. For Bruna Iljazi, every day at this table is something she’d like to package.
“I feel honored to have had the chance to work with Mr. Kaloyanides, and especially being trained by him,” Iljazi said. “He’s my mentor, not just in coffee but in life as well.”
After working full time for 70 years, often 60 hours a week, Kaloyanides recently cut back his hours. He still works Monday through Friday but only about 20 hours. As for retirement, let’s just say there’s nothing brewing there.
Kaloyanides is a little lost in his semi-retirement. As for full retirement, Kaloyanides said it will probably be something forced on him.
“It feels good. The only thing is the other 20 hours I don’t know what to do”,” he said. “I haven’t decided (if I’ll retire). When I kick the bucket, I think.”
After 70 years of cleaning the spittoon and manning the coffee company, Kaloyanides is still enjoying big gulps of life alongside tiny sips of coffee. All that work, he said, means he never has to pay for a cup of Joe.
“I think I earned it,” he said with a laugh.