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Lamill Coffee, one of Los Angeles’ first hometown roasters, is a home-grown, family-owned business. Owner Craig Min grew up in the business, learning to roast coffee at twelve years of age. He took over the family business after college and started Lamill in 1997. You can find their coffee in restaurants and hotels in Southern California and beyond, as well as at their Silverlake location, opened in 2008. Recently, I got to go behind the scenes and tour their roasting facilities in Alhambra, just east of Downtown Los Angeles. lamill-coffee-1 John Martin, Director of Coffee at Lamill, greeted us that morning. Responsible for obtaining the raw coffee from around the world and overseeing the roasting, I asked him how one achieves the title "Director of Coffee." He explained that the coffee business in an old-school industry. There is no formal education and no certifications. Roasters start as apprentices and work their way up, learning as they go. That is what John did. He has been in the business for ten years and once he was bitten by the coffee bug, there was no turning back. He is fascinated with flavor and loves all the various tastes and is continually learning. john-martin-director-of-coffee-2 Behind the Scenes
Los Angeles is a big city and I am happy to drive anywhere to try something new. But, after heading east to Silverlake to try Lamill Coffee, I so wish they would come to the westside! Lamill Coffee Lamill Coffee is one of Los Angeles' first hometown roasters, having started roasting and brewing coffee in 1998. Their Silverlake location opened in 2008. Lamill Coffee I ordered an espresso when I arrived and it was perfect. It is a constant complaint that no one knows how to make a proper espresso in the US and that they are always too big but Lamill does it right!
Ever since I lived in Italy, a daily cappuccino is a part of my every day routine. Each morning, I grind the beans and steam the milk to make my own cappuccino. I have owned a variety of Italian espresso machines over the years and my favorite has become the Pasquini. While the machines come from Italy, I learned recently that Pasquini is based in the US, actually right here in Los Angeles! I took a trip to the showroom that is located on Olympic Blvd, just west of Downtown LA, for a behind the scenes tour. When Ambrose Pasquini moved to Los Angeles in 1951, he missed his daily espresso(s) that is a common experience in Italy.  So, he imported an espresso machine from Italy and opened Moka d’Oro on Vermont Blvd., the first espresso café in Southern California. As other restaurant owners expressed interest in the machines, he began importing machines and adapting them to American standards and adding improvements, such as pressure and temperature controls. Then, in the 1970s, Mr. Pasquini designed an espresso machine for home use. Five decades later, Ambrose Pasquini still runs the family business with his sons Guy and Matthew. A great espresso machine needs great espresso