A Guide to Pasadena Coffee Shops
The husband and wife duo that operates Copa Vida originally began their entrepreneurial journey with a lone noodle shop, following the sale of that first business, they looked forward to bringing about a community-oriented cafe experience where everyone could feel welcome to come together.
A peek inside this beloved gem among Pasadena coffee shops reveals just that: a creamy white, light hardwood-accented coffee bar set beneath an intricately designed ceiling, and surrounded by an ample array of comfortable seating arrangements – more pointedly, luxurious style meets cozily procured grace in a splendid crossover that devoted java farers and virtual, wifi-enabled nomads alike can appreciate.
Copa Vida brilliantly partners with multiple roasters in an effort to consistently showcase a variety of flavors and tastes that are savored by a myriad of palettes daily.
Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters
Jameson Brown was founded by two friends who shared a passion for coffee and first started roasting from home. Their humble beginnings have since blossomed into a full-blown warehouse-sized operation complete with ample seating arrangements, exposed brick walls, romantic lights strung above, and the tantalizing aroma of freshly roasted java.
Many of Jameson Brown’s syrups and sauces are made in-house, such as the Valrhona chocolate sauce for mochas and Mayan mochas. They also feature a variety of fantastic seasonal beverages and coffee blends, we’re talking iced horchata lattes and once-a-year holiday flavors. It is worth noting, there is no WiFi here so be prepared to hang up and hang out!
Situated on an easy street corner in the city of roses, Highlight’s warm wooden furnishings, minimalistic white walls, turquoise brick storefront, artsy murals, and overall throwback vibes are admirably instagrammable! Their signature beverages impress too, there’s a phenomenal butterscotch latte, espresso pom-tonic infused with house-made grenadine, and coffee lemonade AKA “Nathan Palmer,” whose description reads, “Yup. A coffee lemonade. House-made lemonade with just the right amount of coffee. Trust us.”
Jones Coffee Roasters
Finca Dos Marias (“the farm of the two Marias”), is where Mireya Jones’ grandmother and great grandmother began producing one of the highest-grade coffees in the highlands of Guatemala, in the mid-1870s. Though most of the farm’s coffee is now sold to other sustainability-minded coffee roasters around the country, some of it is kept in the family, at Jones Coffee Roasters.
Of their four Pasadena coffee shops, the two-story Mission Street one is a beauty worth visiting. The storefront features olive green awnings pronounced against gorgeous red rock bricks, and once venturing inside, colorful flooring, crafty chairs, Fosselman’s ice cream, and fresh-baked pastries await! Important note, in the case you really need to get work done, this location does not offer WiFi.
After moving from San Francisco to Chicago, Doug Zell and Emily Mange found that great-tasting coffee in their new home was surprisingly elusive. But instead of complaining or – even worse – settling for bad coffee, they hunkered down and opened a cafe and roaster in the windy city’s emerging Lakeview neighborhood on October 9, 1995.
Their operation has since grown to encompass several visually attractive locations across Los Angeles. Intelligentsia’s mood-lit Pasadena store offers a lofty, open space that carries industrial vibes, plenty of workbenches, and yes, WiFi.
Coffee and Plants
A brick-wrapped, flower-touched aesthetic oasis perfect for those Instagram connoisseurs of cuteness ever on the prowl for all things pretty, Coffee and Plants is on a mission to share a 100% plant-based experience where sustainability and taste co-exist.
Every time you enjoy an item from their menu, it reduces our carbon footprint as a whole. They accomplish this by eliminating the damaging environmental impacts of the dairy industry, and by partnering with friends at the National Forest Foundation to commit to planting a tree for every 100 cups sold. Four-legged friends are always welcome to indulge in a puppuccino here, and proceeds of select items go towards the Hopfield Animal Sanctuary.
Rosebud is Pasadena’s only social enterprise cafe. The founders of this roomy purpose-driven space once upon a time would travel around LA with a faithful small coffee cart lovingly named Rosebud, and they’d empower homeless and transitional-aged youth via hospitality training as the kids practiced their newfound craft – serving an amazing cup of coffee.
Their java is third wave, comes in traditional sizes, and features light to medium roasts. You can also expect to find scrumptious pastries, paninis, breakfast burritos, and delicious handmade chocolates. Stop by, enjoy a mug of joe, chat with the baristas, and find out what it means to be a part of #coffeewithacause.
Lavender & Honey
A coveted espresso bar and deli on East Washington Boulevard, Lavender & Honey showcases a charming environment accentuated by minimalistic white walls, soft wooden tones, and romantic lights strung above. Tasty adventures await in the form of tantalizing seasonal concoctions such as the gingerbread maple latte or oat nog latte – made with vegan oat nog, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Home Brewed Bar
The mission at Home Brewed Bar is simple: be an amazing part of each guest’s day. Given their 1,000+ Yelp reviews averaging nearly a five-star rating, it’s safe to say that since opening in 2013, they’ve done a pretty great job at accomplishing that goal on a human-to-human basis. Maintaining one of the cutest Pasadena coffee shops there is certainly helps, the store exudes a wholesome warmth, thanks in part to the rustic decor, sturdy wooden workbenches, and the occasional touch of delicate plant life.
They are most known for toddy lattes – iced lattes made with specialty in-house roasted, 20 Hour cold brew coffee. The delectable drinks don’t end there though, for instance, take the Matcha Pistachio Milk Tea and, what could be considered the best vanilla latte in LA, the Vanilla Toddy Latte made with pure toddy, vanilla, and house milk.
Coffee is a sacred daily ritual, and Republik elevates that ritual into a grand experience complete with shiny copper surfaces, posh cushioned seating, and gorgeous rugs. Each element of the menu has been carefully selected in appreciation of all of life’s little moments, emphasizing the shop’s motto, “life is too short to drink bad coffee.” Republik focuses on high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients and offers an array of hand-crafted syrups that are all made in-house.
They also host some really fun wine tastings, subscribe to their email list to learn more!
As another dreamy cotton candy sunset gives way to the starry night sky, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Urth Caffe upon sighting the patterned tile trimmed entrance of this java palace surrounded by an outdoor patio packed with fellow Angelinos and fitted with lighting and heaters exuding a certain warm familiar glow that people can’t help but gravitate toward like kiddish flys who just arrived at grandma’s house.
Urth Caffé began as Jilla and Shallom Berkman’s aspiration over 30 years ago. In 1989, they met a passionate Peruvian coffee farmer named Jorge who produced organic, heirloom coffee, which is derived from heirloom coffee trees – a plant species that has never been genetically modified. Since opening their first caffe together, the Berkman’s have prioritized serving fresh, responsibly grown coffee amidst an inclusive and charming upscale setting.
Charlie’s Coffee House
This locally beloved gem among South Pasadena coffee shops serves Jameson Brown java in a relaxing, casual environment underscored by ample seating, a quiet study loft upstairs, and beautiful artworks dappled about the walls. Charlie’s is your cozy living room away from home, the perfect place to gather with friends or hunker down and get things done.
Nestled within a gorgeous British-inspired shopping center known as Burlington Arcade, Float is a quaint space serving coffee from some of the finest roasters in the country. Not to mention, they handcraft what could very well be considered the best ice cream floats in LA, there’s even one infused with 24hour cold brew!
Blue Bottle Coffee
Around the early 2000s, in Northern California, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee. His humble vision has since blossomed into a network of cafes across the United States, Japan, and Korea, with that being said, the one most relevant to us is the sleek, modern operation among downtown Pasadena coffee shops.
There, in a modest and immaculate space, this store serves both its community of artisans and innovators, and everyone else who happens to meander on by. Whether you choose to stay inside in the air conditioning, find a seat on its shady patio, or take your single origin, blend, or espresso coffee out to stroll the sunny streets, understand that just a few minutes’ reprieve in a cafe like this one can feel like a tiny vacation.
Let’s rewind our figurative clock to the year 1978 – when Phil Jaber purchased a convenience store in the heart of San Francisco’s lively Mission District. During his off-hours, the young man blended and tested brews, attempting to formulate the perfect cup of coffee. After 25 years of experimenting, he finally decided to move his very own kitchen table into the convenience store, and thus, Philz Coffee was born.
While Phil’s humble java empire now spans all of California, with locations in Chicago and the Washington D.C. metro area as well, since the moment he operated his first storefront, he’s consistently stuck to a single fruitful principle: better the days of everyone who walked in.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Pasadena coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 15 Coffee Shops in Hollywood!