Hearing the words “free coffee” will get anyone on a natural high before the caffeine is even consumed. But most of the time “free” comes with paying a price.

Blue Bottle Coffee, an Oakland based coffee chain, wanted to thank Pasadena for their warm welcome by throwing a “Community Day” that involved celebrating with free coffee on Saturday Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds from food and merchandise all went to the Los Angeles LGBT center.

It was quite surprising when Fair Oaks Avenue didn’t have a crowd full of people lined up outside of Blue Bottle upon arriving. When entering this tiny modern building, there was hardly anyone in line ahead of me. The question “Are you guys giving out free coffee today?” had to be proposed to the barista taking orders.

“No, that was last week,” the barista said. “It was a madhouse.”

Being a week too late was the paid price. This meant no free coffee, but luckily no crazy crowd either.

Continuing to order, the “New Orleans” iced coffee with sweet creamy chicory notes was immediately eye catching. Before even asking for it to be topped off with almond milk (the only milk alternative displayed on the menu), the barista offered oat milk instead. Coffee shops that offer oat milk automatically get bonus points, especially being that it’s the new star of milk alternatives these days.

After taking the first sip, it was obvious why Blue Bottle has gained their popularity. This little 12 ounce cup of liquid brought so much joy.

It may very well be that Intelligentsia’s  handcrafted beverages have some competition down the street. Though both coffee shops contain pretty simple menus, Intelligentsia’s really gets straight to the point. And for it being so simple, the price is pretty steep.

Blue Bottle has high quality coffee at a reasonable price, as well as other beverages like the “Cascara Fizz” refresher, which is basically a sparkling sweet iced tea. These beverages can be paired with their fresh pastries and served with impeccable service.

The coffee shop contains limited indoor seating, but offers additional outdoor seating. It is conveniently located right next to a parking garage off Green Street and avoids any traffic one would run into on Colorado Boulevard.

Pasadena has so many gems to discover, but Blue Bottle is definitely top priority, if a visit to the Los Angeles locations haven’t been made already. Though it is a coffee chain, it serves just as much authenticity as other local spots such as Copa Vida, Amara, or even Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters, outside of Old Town.  It definitely serves way more than low quality burnt espresso and heavy infused syrup drinks that can be found at a local Starbucks.

James Membreno/ Courier
The Blue Bottle is an Oakland based coffee shop that just opened on the corner of Lake and Colorado Blvd. Photo was taken on Saturday, November 10, 2018.

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