On the corner of Raymond Avenue and Green Street in Pasadena, Copa Vida is much more than a typical coffeehouse. Rather, it is comprised of coffee and tea lovers with a resolute focus to serve the community. Three qualities exemplify Copa Vida: approachability, transparency and community. These humanistic qualities are not typically found in a cup of coffee. However, I found Copa Vida to epitomize the “cup of life” from which its name translates.
The white coffered ceiling and wide-set windows invite light into the space. Positioned on a street corner, Copa Vida witnesses the music of city life. Coffee shop patrons seem undisturbed by the crescendo of honking cars. The overflowing tip jar was a testament to the shop’s competent and amiable baristas.
As I looked around, I took note of the cozy nooks that are ideal for studying. Inside, a prominent announcement board promoted local cultural events in Los Angeles. This coffeeshop is the promise land to minimalists everywhere. After taking in my surroundings, I ordered three drinks: a Vanilla Latte, a Mocha and a Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea.
The Vanilla Latte was like a dependable cardigan — warm, comforting and reassuring. The rich creaminess of the latte balanced the sweetness of the vanilla. Refreshingly sweet, this latte invites you to take another sip. This symphony of taste left me wanting to order another.
The Mocha had an entirely different flavor profile. At first sip, the chocolate tasted overpowering, but the milk counteracted its heaviness. The chocolate tasted incredibly decadent, and the barista confirmed that it is made on the premises.
For non-coffee drinkers, the Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea is a great option. The use of loose leaf teas added a stronger flavor profile. Served in a mint ceramic cup, this tea was filled to the brim and fragrant with notes of jasmine. The generous serving has a distinctively natural flavor that supersedes artificial flavorings.
As the night came to a close, the lights in the shop were dimmed. Filled with socializing friends or millennials hard at work on their laptops, Copa Vida is a space that welcomes and serves its surrounding community.
Lara Sassounian is a junior majoring in art history. Her column, Show Me the Coffee, runs every other week on Friday.