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Copa Vida is Pasadena's Lively New Coffee Mecca

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[Photos: Matthew Kang]

With long windows looking out to the streets of Old Pasadena, Copa Vida officially opens tomorrow Friday morning, serving caffeine-seeking customers a variety of coffees and teas, from espresso and drip coffee, to cold brewed coffee and iced tea served via a unique tap system. Founded and produced by Steve Chang, plus Frank La and Sam Hong (Cafe Dulce), this bright, dapper new bar is sure to be a hit with local office workers and residents, thanks to a wide floorspace, a multitude of calming wood panels and accents all around, as well as plenty of seating to linger.

Coffees come from a bevy of roasters, including Ritual Coffee, Verve, 49th Parallel and more. With all the attention that coffee gets, tea service sometimes becomes marginalized. Not at Copa Vida, which has a full brewed to order tea bar via a fancy Steampunk device that other shops mainly use for brewed coffee. There's also a selection of teas available on tap, which means cold-brewed stuff that's refreshing and energizing.

Back to beans. A brew bar is lined with Hario V60s for individual coffees, along with a nifty "honor bar" up front, which uses a Fetco airpot (much like 7-11, but with way better java) for just $2 a cup if you bring your own, or $2.50 to-go. Who said specialty coffee has to be expensive or require a long wait? And, of course, just in time for summer, there's cold brew coffee kept fresh with nitrogen and available on tap, so the brew is perfectly chilled right into the cup.

Finally, espresso is currently pulled on a top of the line three-group La Marzocco Strada, but will eventually be replaced by an even more state-of-the-art machine in the weeks to come. Toward the back is a slow bar where customers can hang out, perch up to the stool, and watch some more creative coffee and tea beverages come to life, much like Intelligentsia Venice's slow bar.

Also, there's a short food menu from chef Erick Lee, with coffee-friendly savory stromboli, sandwiches like croque madame and turkey melts, and salads of farro and kale. Pastries come via Cake Monkey, and include croissants, muffins, among others.

Current hours are Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m, Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
·All Copa Vida Coverage [~ELA~]

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