Before there was Copa Vida, the corner of Raymond and Green was occupied by a jazz cafe by the guys behind Dog Haus. When the café opened last year, it was welcomed with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Intelligentsia just a block and a half over — with irregular opening hours, occasional snark and zero wifi — would always have you thinking twice about a stay for anything past loud convos. So this quadrant of Pasadena was in need of a café with serious coffee and a comparatively realistic attitude towards how its space would be enjoyed by locals.
The laptop jockeys here are a mixed, attractive crowd, donning some variation of Madewell matched with J. Crew or Anthropologie. It’s design-conscious with a suburban slant. They often set up solo throughout the two-room layout. Copa Vida addresses almost all of your mobile working needs, whether outlets (plenty), wifi (unlimited), or food more substantial than pastries, which is why it can get pretty packed from late morning until late afternoon. It’s not impossible to find a seat during this time; it just takes a sharp eye and a little patience.
Reflective of the third wave coffee spots, there is just as much attention placed on what accompanies your coffee at Copa Vida, which is a menu of hot sandwiches, salads, desserts and pastries made onsite. They recently added types of strombolis, available after 3 p.m. and pastries from Farmshop.
Ambiance: An ever-present hum of activity, composed of one part coffee-making, one part low tempo electronica, and two parts chatter.
Amenities: Unlimited wifi. Seating of all types from high-tops to benches. Restrooms for both sexes.
Drink/Food: A couple of sandwich and salad options, including croque madame and kale salad with basil aioli crostini. After 3 p.m., the kitchen can take orders for stromboli, a more substantial option. Pricey pressed juices from JUICE. Pastries from Farmshop.