It's been a long time, coffee mates, but I'm back (just busy, busy, busy at my day job)! Second-wave coffee shops aren’t dead – they’re hiding in plain sight. Jones Coffee Roasters invited me to their first location in South Pasadena where it was a thriving, tight-knit neighborhood scene that transported me back to 90’s Seattle coffeehouse culture. Jones reminds me a lot of another favorite old-school coffee shop in Long Beach, Viento y Agua – they’re both coffee shops that double as art galleries and a quintessential community meet-up spot.
Local artists, musicians, brick-wall murals and regular customers make Jones a true part of the community – not to mention their direct trade relationships with coffee producers. The story behind the logo (and chairs floating from the ceiling inside) is an adorable extra coffee-cherry-on-top: The roastery was established by Chuck and Larry Jones in 1994. As the retail/café side of the business grew, so did the need for seating. When they exceeded the city’s specified seating limit, die-hard customers began bringing in their own “talking chairs” to assure they’d have a place to sit and talk with friends the next time they came in (taking the term “regulars” to a whole new level). As such, the Jones Coffee Roasters logo is inspired by this act of community building.
Walking into Jones, and up the stairs to the second floor gallery, truly feels like falling down the rabbit hole and into a 90s Portlandia-style wonderland. The baristas were friendly, though I think a bit thrown when I asked some questions about the coffees available (nothing too technical, just the roast, origin, etc.). From a large pastry case (courtesy of Cos & Pi) the manager recommended a strawberry almond pastry which was delicious and fresh. If you’re in South Pasadena and want to get a vibe for the neighborhood; if you want a homey new cafe where you can get cozy and make a corner seat your “regular” spot – Jones is the place to go.
My ratings for Jones Coffee:
Cold brew: ☕☕
Baked goods: ☕☕☕☕
Customer service: ☕☕☕☕☕
First date spot: ☕☕☕☕
Work spot: ☕☕☕☕☕
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