If you crave a cup of joe that’s better than the break room and closer than the crowded coffeehouse, The Roast Truck may bring a stroke of luck. Stocked with single origin coffees, signature lattes, and authentic French croissants, this cafe on wheels offers a mobile solution to your finicky caffeine fix.
Before rolling out The Roast Truck, owner Justin Fishman had learned many aspects of coffee making as a sales representative for a coffee service company, supplying office break rooms with quality blends. So he can relate to office workers who go out of their way for a good cup of coffee.
“Just to get out of the office and get a nice treat—or even on the way in or after lunch—it really impacts their morning or their afternoon. So, that’s a big part of this truck,” said Justin.
All the coffee drinks on The Roast Truck are brewed with beans from Los Angeles roaster Caffe Luxxe, known for their handcrafted coffees and handpicked fair trade sources. “They really stood out because it’s the best espresso I’ve ever had in my life. And they’re an all around good company to work with and learn from,” he said.
The drip coffees on The Roast Truck use Caffe Luxxe’s single origin beans, which each come from a specific grower without getting mixed together with beans from other places. This gives each coffee a pure taste, with a flavor profile that’s unique to its particular farm source. Justin brews batches based on what’s in season and changes the lineup every three months, referring to these selections as their “rotating tap.” The summer featured Guatemalan and Ethiopian coffees, and current brews are made with beans from Costa Rica and Sulawesi.
Espresso blends from Caffe Luxxe also make their way into several drinks on The Roast Truck menu. The cappuccino, confidently named “That Cappuccino,” is an 8-ounce drink of doubleshot espresso and frothed milk. Rather than burying the espresso under a thick cap of stiff foam, The Roast Truck baristas craft a “wet” version of cappuccino, which mixes some of the foam into the espresso with plenty left to create an artsy flourish on top.
It may seem impractical to swirl a heart, swan, or rosetta atop each frothy cup given the truck’s brisk pace of service, but Justin thinks it reflects the effort the barista puts into crafting the drink. “I see it as kind of like a stamp, a signature of care for that specific cup,” Justin said.
Among The Roast Truck’s selection of foam-designed drinks, the most popular is Primo’s Spanish Latte. It’s made with an ounce of sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, double espresso, and steamed milk, finished with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. “If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different, a little bit sweeter, then the Primo is a good one. People really enjoy it a lot. When they start to get it, it’s the only drink they get afterwards,” he said.
On the spicer side, the Turmeric Latte will wake up your taste buds and widen your eyes with its yellow hue. This drink adds a light mix of turmeric, ginger, and black pepper to the steamed milk along with a double espresso shot. “Our espresso has a lot of chocolatey taste to it. So, it gives the Turmeric Latte an almost gingerbread taste,” Justin described. “People are always pretty impressed with, not only the look of it with the yellow latte art, but the taste of it as well.”
Though a handful of cafes offer beverages with turmeric for its health benefits, the characteristic bitterness of the spice makes it an acquired taste for some. Justin overcomes this by using a liquid concentrate made from fresh turmeric by local spice maker Hector Luna. This liquid turmeric blends in smoothly with the milk, unlike the powdered spice. The Roast Truck also offers a version of the turmeric latte without the espresso shots, called Liquid Gold. This caffeine-free option is more vibrantly yellow and served with contrasting red petals of saffron floating on top.
The Chai Latte and The Dirty Chai with espresso benefit from a similar alchemy. Instead of a chai powder, The Roast Truck uses a liquid chai concentrate also made by Hector. This customized spice blend allowed Justin to control the balance of sweet and spicy with tongue-tingling notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
“It’s more like an authentic Indian chai,” said Justin. “It has a little bit more of that spice to it, instead of being an over-the-top sweet chai.”
All lattes can be served on ice as well, making The Roast Truck a welcome arrival year-round. If you prefer a classic cold brew, the truck makes their Epic Cold Brew with espresso beans steeped for 24 hours, infusing a bit more caffeine than regular coffee. Because Caffe Luxxe roasts their beans on the light to medium side, its smoky flavor is naturally bold and smooth without tasting burnt or acidic.
Another lively cold coffee option is The Bubbly Roast. A doubleshot of espresso is poured into iced sparkling water, creating a fun coffee-flavored fizz of carbonated bubbles rushing toward the rim.
To complete your cafe experience, The Roast Truck offers a selection of delectable pastries from Pascal Patisserie & Cafe in Woodland Hills. This European-style bakery was recently recognized for having among the best croissants in Los Angeles by the online magazine, Frenchly.
“Their almond croissant is the best croissant I’ve ever had. And I’m not saying that just because I sell it. It’s truly amazing,” Justin raved. On his way to the truck’s spots in West LA, he picks up an assortment of plain, almond, and chocolate croissants, along with some Nutella and cinnamon rolls, all of which tend to sell out quickly.
You can find The Roast Truck in the mornings, usually parked at UCLA near Westwood Blvd and Le Conte Ave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they’re near Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Robertson Blvd and Alden Dr). To track down The Roast Truck on evenings and weekends, look for their updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also submit a request to book the truck on their website.
“There’s something special about street vending, bringing that quality product to the public,” Justin said. “That’s a lot of fun.”