Coffee Spots: Copa Vida

Los Angeles is one of the most heavily saturated cities with coffee shops. There are the positives and negatives to this, as you have a lot of choices which exposes you to a lot of coffees, but you also have the potential to make the wrong coffee choice for yourself. I love coffee, because it has personality and character, and roasters and baristas have the ability to pull out the characteristics that she/he desires. This can be problematic for consumers, because a shop’s taste can differ from yours. Let me talk about flavor for a brief moment.


Coffee comes from the processed seed of a cherry fruit. Because of it’s nature, coffee can exhibit fruity flavors, along with more complex chocolaty, nutty, herby, tea-like, and other complex flavor profiles. It’s important to know what you like, but also pursue coffee with an open mind, because it can always surprise you, and you might find your new favorite coffee. I enjoy the fruity flavors that coffees can offer. I love it when my palate gets washed over with blueberry, cherry, grapefruit, and other citrus notes, or as I like to say “fruity pebbles.” Since these are flavors I am looking for, and I have an idea of which coffees express these characteristics, I can go to shops and order with a purpose.

One of my favorite coffee shops is Copa Vida, located in Pasadena. Owned by Steve Chang, Copa Vida is a breath of fresh air, as the staff is welcoming, and the seating is abundant. The menu is full of amazing coffee, tea, and food options, but it doesn’t feel overbearing. I love that they roast their own coffee, and they always have their Grace Espresso blend, and a Single Origin option for your favorite coffee beverage. Single Origin is a term used to show that the coffee bean is coming from a single region, and farm. Typically, the Single Origin option is a little more expensive, but it allows you to really taste what the coffee bean has to offer, rather than experience a general “coffee” flavor.


Copa Vida streamlines the ordering process by breaking down their coffee menu into three tiers: “Go”, “Enjoy”, and “Experience.” Their “Go” options allows you to have a coffee that is easy to drink, but fits the average cup of coffee flavor spectrum. When selecting an “Enjoy” coffee, the flavors become more complex, causing you to really think about what you are tasting, but still invites you to have more. Copa Vida had recently released their first “Experience” coffee. They were serving an Ethiopian Chelchele under their “Experience” line. Currently, Copa is offering a natural processed Ethiopian Wamena. Try it. Let me know what you think.
One of my favorite features of the shop is that they separated their seating space into two areas. One side is painted white, and it creates an ambiance that is lively, fresh, and you get to people watch through their large glass windows. The other side, the “Experience Bar,”  has a warm, intimate feel, that allows people to just bunker down to work, or study. It is almost like having two coffee shops in one space.
Many of you probably have visited Copa Vida already. Hopefully you continue to explore what they have to offer. If you haven’t visited, take some time and grab a beautifully brewed cup of coffee and let me know what you think. Maybe you will see me there. #CopaEra

70 S. Raymond Ave. Pasadena, CA 91105


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