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Community Highlights: Meet Lisette Gavina Lopez of F. Gavina & Sons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisette Gaviña Lopez.

Hi Lisette, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story begins over 150 years ago in the coffee fields of central Cuba, where my family’s passion for coffee was born. My family, the Gaviña family, has been in the coffee business as both growers and roasters for 4 generations. Today, we are LA’s own roaster celebrating over 50 years of roasting coffee in Los Angeles. Our roastery is a zero waste to landfill facility located south of downtown in the city of Vernon. It’s where my family proudly makes Don Francisco’s Coffee, Cafe La Llave espresso and Gaviña Gourmet Coffee. We are immigrants who started their lives over in Los Angeles, then started a business and achieved the American dream, and in doing so, we have created jobs, contributed to the growing local economy, and each year we support over 300 local charities with coffee donations. There is no question that we are proud Angelenos!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is never a smooth road when one is forced to leave their country due to political reasons. The future is uncertain, but hard work, sacrifice, dedication, determination, and love for coffee made it possible for my family to start roasting coffee again in Los Angeles in 1967. Our humble beginnings in Los Angeles were challenging. English was not our first language, and the American way of making and drinking coffee was different from the intensely flavored dark roasted espresso coffee we were used to making back home. We had to learn about the market, the American consumer and other ethnic communities like the Middle Eastern and Vietnamese communities who also sought specific coffee blends and roasts from their homeland. We learned and evolved and never gave up on the dream to build a life and future for the next generation.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We are a multi-generational family business specializing in coffee–roasting and packing our flagship brand–Don Francisco’s Coffee–our Latin-style espresso brand–Cafe La Llave–and our wholesale coffee brand–Gaviña Gourmet Coffee. We use high quality coffee beans, sourced from the world’s best coffee growing regions. We are still a family business after all these years and are currently on our 4th generation. We live to give the consumer the best and most delicious coffee around. We are sustainably minded, coffee driven. Our partnership TerraCycle now extends our sustainability efforts to the consumer where they can do their part for the environment and recycle coffee pods and espresso capsules in four easy steps and shipping is FREE. Through this program, one can earn points for their favorite charity.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Early memories for me are going to work with my dad, helping to pack the coffee in the plant or making special coffee deliveries over the weekend. I also fondly remember stories of my grandfather, Don Francisco, dipping my pacifier in espresso. He would say “if they are going to live from it, then they need to learn to drink it”. Coffee has and will always be a part of our family.

Contact Info:

  • Email: hello@donfranciscos.com
  • Website: donfranciscos.com
  • Instagram: @donfranciscos
  • Facebook: @donfranciscos
  • Twitter: @donfranciscos

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