Coffee Action

Aug 9, 2010

Inside Intelligentsia, where the space is deep and narrow, the tables are reclaimed fir, and the walls are brick and electric-midnight blue.

Pasadena’s coffee people, who are numerous indeed, are abuzz with two new developments. First is last week’s opening of the new Intelligentsia Coffee in Old Town, in the former Wok ‘n Roll space on the north side of Colorado jus west of Raymond. A Chicago native, Intelligentsia first settled in Silver Lake, where it instantly became one of L.A.’s top destination coffee bars. Last year came a new location on Abbot Kinney in Venice, which was such a sensation at its grand opening that it practically turned into a rave.  The Pasadena opening was much quieter… one day it was just making coffee. The opening was quiet for a reason—even though it appears fully formed and has superb coffee drinks and baked goods (from Cake Monkey and Bottega Louie), this is just the beginning. They’re going to be serving beer and wine soon, and since the location came with a full kitchen, they’ve made a deal with a young chef named Matt Poley, who will soon be offering prix-fixe dinners based on farmers’ market products. In the meantime, there’s very good espresso drinks, brewed coffee and baked goods, lots of table and counter space, and great people watching. No WiFi at the moment, although it may come later.

Jones's temporary café

Meanwhile, down on Raymond, the beloved Jones Coffee rolled down its warehouse door for good on Saturday, only to reopen immediately a couple of blocks down the street. They’d become prisoners of their own success, with not nearly enough parking to accommodate the many customers. The new place, in a former light-industrial space across the street from Fillmore Station, is much bigger, with free parking in the front and the back. The interior is under heavy and furious renovation—co-owner Chuck Jones says it will be ready “in a week to six months,” the most refreshingly honest estimate we’ve ever heard—but until construction is complete, the coffeehouse is set up in the back alley. It’s funky and makeshift, but it will work. Once the interior space is ready, the alley side will be for the wholesale bean business; inside will be a roastery, the retail coffee area, a kitchen (meals are a future possibility) and lots of room for sipping, noshing and meeting friends. Bad news for your WiFi junkies: There will be no internet access at all. Mireya Jones and her son and partner, Chuck, want the place to be more about coffee and community than laptops.

A cappuccino at Intelligentsia

Intelligentsia Coffee, 55 E. Colorado, Old Pasadena, 626.578.1270,

Jones Coffee, 691 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, 626.564.9291,

6 Responses for “Coffee Action”

  1. Cindy says:

    I think there is room for both, for sure. I’d actually love to see a great coffee place like Jones come into East Pasadena or even the Eagle Rock/Pasadena border. Old Town seems to get all the love!

  2. Colleen Dunn Bates says:

    But there are a couple of good spots in east Pasadena! Check out Jameson Roasters if you haven’t already. It’s terrific. Zephyr is also good.

  3. I agree with too much of too little going into OT. And, as I said before: I woodn’t mind Alhambra’s LaMill Coffee opening up in Non-OT Pasa.

  4. Sarah says:

    Jameson Brown is really good, Cindy.

  5. Lisa Groening says:

    We love Jones because of their wonderful second-Friday open mic nights with some of the sweetest and goofiest talent in the area. Jim Bumgardner is a superb emcee and a great composer/pianist in his own right. Plus the coffee is fantastic.

  6. Kat says:

    While I love Intellgensia’s beans… Jones always has been my choice for awesome espresso in Pasadena. They’re a small, local business that has grown because of their quality… I’ve been following them around town for years now. Their new space on S. Raymond is going to be awesome and according to one of their barristas, Francesco, they might even be finally moving inside from the alley by this weekend… fingers crossed!



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