Not too bad of a turnaround for Copa Vida, the artisan coffee shop that took over the old redwhite+bluezz space in Old Town Pasadena. Built out by owner Steve Chang, managers Frank La and Sam Hong are scrambling to finish the interior by the end of July, potentially looking at a soft opening as early as next week, pending construction and permits completion.
The expansive area, which stretches across two rooms and features an entire kitchen in the back, preserved the original ceiling and some of the wine storage, which might be used for VIP customers in the future. Until then, there's one of the most aggressive and progressive coffee programs in store for Old Town denizens and office workers.
Right upon entrance is a half-hexagon counter serving a variety of coffee roasters that will use one of the most advanced new espresso machines available on the market, along with a fancy Steampunk brewer that Demitasse utilizes in Santa Monica, only here it'll be reserved for tea. Thus, tea gets nearly the same level of care and treatment as coffee at Copa Vida. Around the counter in a second room is a bar-like arrangement where baristas will make competition-level specialty drinks for people in need of a deeper, richer experience with coffee, not unlike Intelligentsia Venice's slow bar.
As for food and pastries, that's still awaiting finalization, though with the capabilities of a full restaurant, expect sandwiches and other small bites by Erick Lee, previously sous chef at Crustacean and lead line cook at Ray's & Stark Bar. Think dishes that pair with coffee, like stromboli, both meat and veggie, croque madame, roasted veggie sandwiches, and salads like farro and kale. Right now pastries haven't been determined, but they're planning to use a good local artisanal producer.
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