From Coffee Beans to Family Dreams: Frank La's Journey

From Coffee Beans to Family Dreams: Frank La's Journey

In honor of Father's Day, we're excited to feature Frank La, the founder of Be Bright Coffee in Los Angeles, which he runs alongside his wife, Michelle. With 14 years of experience in the coffee industry, Frank has truly found his calling, sharing his passion for the perfect cup. As the 2024 US Barista Champion, he's at the top of his craft. But beyond the beans, Frank is a dedicated dad who knows how to balance his love for coffee with family life. Join us as we chat with Frank about his journey, his wins, and what it's like being a coffee-loving dad.

Becoming the 2024 US Barista Champion

"This journey began early in my coffee career. As a baby barista, I first discovered Barista Competition in 2011 when I realized there was this subculture of amazing and innovative baristas at the top of their game. I decided I wanted to compete in 2013 and showcase my own skills and also show that Korean Americans and Asian Americans in general can also excel in this arena. After competing in 2013 and 2014, I took a 9-year hiatus and re-entered competition under my own brand, placing 6th in 2023 and finally winning the whole thing in 2024."

On Family Adventures

"My favorite thing to do as a family is traveling. I wish we could do more of it, but I love traveling with my family and seeing new places, eating delicious foods, and having new experiences with Michelle and daughter Bailey. Bailey is also a great traveler and does really well on planes, so it makes it easy."

Life Lesson for Bailey

"I think I want to pass down the importance of working hard and pursuing the things you love in life, but also slowing down to smell the roses and taking the time to appreciate the people right in front of you. Life is all about balance, and if I can pass down this lesson to Bailey, that would be a success."

On Leading a Team

"Parenthood has definitely influenced my approach to running Be Bright Coffee in the sense that I feel like Michelle and I are pseudo-parents to our employees. It's weird considering being "old" because I feel young, but I'm embracing it now. Especially leading a team of employees in LA, a lot of them don't have their parents or families here in LA, so we do our part by cooking meals for them, taking them out to restaurants, and trying to create a family-like atmosphere for our team."

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

"I love every one of our coffees on our menu like they're my children, but I would say my go-to blend is our Kaleidoscope. It's a lighter, brighter blend that we change seasonally to reflect different flavors coffees have to offer. Although components change, it's always anchored by an Ethiopian and usually another Central or South American coffee. Here's my V60 recipe:

Frank's V60 Recipe:

  1. Start with 26g of coffee.
  2. Boil your water in a kettle and let it sit for a minute after you've hit boiling point.
  3. Grind your coffee fresh.
  4. Pre-wet your filter in your V60 and discard the water.
  5. Add your freshly ground coffee to the V60.
  6. Pour in 60-80g of water to bloom the coffee. This will expel some gas and saturate your grounds for even extraction.
  7. After 30 seconds, pour up to 200g of water, creating a nice stable base for the brew.
  8. At the 1:10 mark, pour up to 300g in a circular motion again.
  9. And then 30 seconds later, pour your final pour up to 415g.

This will yield you 12 oz of freshly brewed coffee that you can either share with a friend or do what I do and just drink it all for yourself!"

Wearing: Deneb Amber, Deneb Champagne

Watch the interview here