We pride ourselves on our nose for good coffee, so it was distressing to discover that Jameson Brown has been lurking right in front of us for three years now. Well, not right in front — the location on Allen at Locust, just south of the 210, is not exactly on the beaten path, so you’re not likely to stumble across it. But it’s worth the trek for a host of reasons.
First and most important, there’s the coffee, which is roasted on site (as at Jones) and is uniformly high in quality. (Although some of it is served here, much more is sold in bean form, either by walk-in customers or through a booming online business.)Then there’s the terrific setting, a high-ceilinged brick space with a living-room-like café area, where regulars meet friends or bring their laptops (yes, the WiFi is free). Finally, there are the people — owners and longtime friends David Ross and Ryan Hamlin, and their wives and extended family, are warm, welcoming and devoted to good coffee.
Jameson Brown also boasts some deep Pasadena roots — Hamlin’s great-grandfather was the mayor of Pasadena, and Ross’s wife, Sharon Jameson, is related to the Allen family, for which Allen Avenue was named.
One more reason to love this place: Because the owners have both the space and the sense of community, they often share it with others, from friends (often from Fuller) throwing a fundraiser to the terrific Parson’s Nose theatre company, which performs its staged readings here.
260 N. Allen Ave., East Pasadena, 626.395.7585, jamesonbrown.com. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-9 .m., Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.