Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea opened its third Southern California store yesterday. Located in Pasadena, most famously known (to me at least) for being the home of the Rose Bowl, the shop once again shows Intelligentsia’s willingness to experiment and deviate from its previous models to create a new space.
It’s a beautiful space: painted a dark cornflower blue, bare lights strung from the rafters, the walls of the former Wok ‘n’ Roll excavated to show off exposed brick, coffee beans in bags colored a Soviet-era red stacked on the shelves, and high tables in the front waiting for the requisite clutter of porcelain and MacBooks. Walk toward the back, past the Synesso machines heating neatly overturned cups and the obligingly tatttooed baristas pulling shots, and you’ll find a long bar made of Douglas fir reclaimed from the 1886 building, and, farther back, additional seating in the form of church pews from Cairo, Illinois.
The location will offer alcohol (wine and beer) and “small plates, a dinner menu and charcuterie from caterer Matthew Poley (Heirloom-LA).”
Meanwhile further south in San Diego, Reuters reports that Starbucks is rolling out something new too. Iced drinks called “Refreshers” are the lastest offering from the mammoth chain, and while Starbucks is well known for roasting their coffees as dark as a Horta’s home, these new drinks feature unroasted coffee. From the story, “It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage Julie Felss Masino said. Hmm…. and that’s a feature not a bug?