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Yeekai Lim, founder of Cognoscenti Coffee (and affectionately known as Cog Coffee), started Cognoscenti as a coffee pop-up. Prior to coffee (and a world away in New York), he founded miL Studio, after working for architectural notables that included Frank Gehry, Frank Stella, Leeser Architecture, 1100 Architects and Chong Partners. When the economy slowed down and projects dwindled, serendipitously he discovered his passion for coffee.
Bit by the coffee bug after having an amazing cup at Intelligentsia in Silverlake, he started to research machinery and technique. Yeekai began looking into spaces after acquiring his very first espresso machine. Becoming one of the first US “popup” coffee shops, Cognoscenti first began at Urban Eats (a restaurant that he designed), and soon after, Cognoscenti Coffee began serving out of Blu Dot Yogurt in Eagle Rock. At Blu Dot Yogurt, he met like-minded creatives, and discovered that the slow pace of coffee culture allowed for interesting dialogue with guests.
Through social media, Na Young Ma, a baker who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, heard of the coffee pop-up and stopped by the shop. Impressed with the taste of the coffee and espresso, Na Young invited Yeekai to pop-up at the bakery she was preparing to open, which would become the Los Angeles vienoisserie institution, Proof Bakery in Atwater Village.
Cognoscenti Coffee and Proof Bakery’s partnership spawned a wave of true craft in Atwater Village. Established in 2010, Cognoscenti Coffee in Proof Bakery had found a permanent home in December 2012 arts district of Culver City. Two locations have opened since, both in 2016 - Olive St and San Julian. This is all due to my belief - I believe in paying it forward; just as the small coffee community has been helpful and supportive of us, we share what we have learned.
Cognoscenti Coffee is now roasting coffee on a Probat UG15 and retail purchase can be found in any of the 3 locations.