In a city with such a diverse caffeine scene as LA, it’s no surprise that Angelenos are passionate about their coffee. True coffee culture aficionados seek a fusion of décor, design, ambiance, and of course, unique brewing techniques. For those reasons, Cognoscenti Coffee has become a staple in LA, in part for their top-notch espresso.
That’s why we’re excited to announce that LEVEL is now home to Cognoscenti’s latest brick-and-mortar location! This week, we’re chatting with Cognoscenti’s founder, Yeekai Lim, who shares why he has passion for cultivating the perfect cup of coffee.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m of Taiwanese descent, and came to California from Malaysia in the late 70’s, growing up in Sacramento. I went on to study architecture at the Pratt Institute in New York and received my Masters from Columbia University. After graduation, I practiced at Leeser Architecture, Chong Partners and Frank Gehry Architects.
What were you doing before you opened Cognoscenti?
I was running a small design office in NYC and Los Angeles, doing hospitality and residential projects. I then decided to transition from my career in architecture, and focus on my true passion: coffee.
What was it about the coffee industry that encouraged your career shift?
Coming from a high-stress environment in design and dealing with demanding clients, I found renewed passion in the world of coffee. I was fascinated about the social, cultural and multifaceted aspects from which every cup of coffee came into our hands. I was also challenged by the complexities of flavors and the inconsistencies of brewing.
What is your favorite thing about making coffee?
I enjoy the morning ritual of coming in, opening the shop, going the first grind and making the first espresso of the day.
What’s the secret to a good cup of coffee?
Hard work, continuous learning and a lot of discipline!
How long have you been in LA?
I first moved to LA in 2005 and stayed there until 2007. I came back in 2009, and have been here ever since.
What are some of your favorite spots in downtown LA?
I recently visited the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery, and I love what they’ve brought to the art landscape in LA. I always love being near to the San Gabriel Mountains and my favorite restaurant is Le Comptoir.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to start experimenting with roasting my own beans.
Cognoscenti Coffee is now open and is located in LEVEL, at 868 South Olive Street. To learn more, visit their website!
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