Standing next to maple glazed bacon doughnuts underneath a homey black chalkboard menu (complete with white-chalk cursive), I had no choice but to fall in love with Lavender and Honey, an espresso bar in Pasadena. But before lunch was over I knew we would never last.

There is nowhere to sit in Lavender and Honey. I counted about ten seats, and those took up way too much space inside the lobby. Standing in line at the register, one could easily knock over a patron’s coffee on the table to their left, while hitting their funny-bone on the counter to their right.

With patrons packed like bees, at least we can say the restaurant is well titled.

Being so spatially cramped, Lavender and Honey is not the best place to meet and chat with a friend, or even have a solo study session. Every conversation is heard by everyone in the store. Most of the seating is taken up by large tables, such that social groups have to yell over each other, and individual’s attempting to study are easily distracted even while wearing headphones.

Kate Maas/Courier
The Honey Bee Latte from Lavender and Honey on Sunday, Sptember 24, 2017. It is the perfect blend of milk, honey, and espresso.

That being said, out of all the ways to rid oneself of a $10 bill, partaking in “Lavender and Honey”’s Caprese sandwich might be the most delicious.

The ciabatta bread is perfectly crusted (its outermost edge cracks into light, crispy flakes when squeezed ), while airy and flavorful on the inside. These balanced textures meld with equal poise into lightly oiled (olive) mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes sliced in perfect proportion to the other ingredients, and a couple leaves of basil that taste as good as from a personal garden.

Lavender and Honey is firstly, an espresso bar, and with that in mind, the coffee is alright. To dive right to the comparison you’re all waiting for, yes, it’s better than Starbucks, but only slightly. Without being bitter, the “honeybee latte” actually tastes more like coffee than it does liquid sugar, which is a refreshing change from the current social norm. As for the brew itself, it’s synthetically flavorful, without being pungent. Coffee here is good, but not good enough to make this a go-to establishment.

Finally, as the business clearly prides itself on a laid-back but classy mood, Lavender and Honey seems to have put more effort into its web design than its store design, so that counts for something, or does it? I’m really not sure these days.

In any case, with stellar food, decent coffee, and poorly used store-space, Lavender and honey receives a C+.

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