Just a few years ago, if you wanted a good cup of coffee or tea in Old Town Pasadena, there were mostly chain options. And while there are still two Starbucks locations within several blocks of each other on Colorado Boulevard, the list of homegrown cafés continues to expand with the opening of Home Brewed Bar on Arroyo Parkway.
The café began offering its small, thoughtful menu specializing in cold-brewed coffees and teas on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Brian Molina, who runs Home Brewed Bar with co-owners Justin Cabebe, Dustin Salceda and Jared Williams, says they use a technique called toddy, which takes 20 to 26 hours to brew both coffee and tea. The end result is a beverage that's about 67 percent less acidic than other cups.
“You get a good, solid coffee. It allows for a lot of the natural flavor to be extracted, while cutting out a lot of the acidity,” Molina says.
The coffee listed as their signature is a house blend that comes from Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena. It's a dark roast made up of one part Guatemalan beans and one part Sumatran. The men made a point of sourcing from a local purveyor as a show of community.
The tea selection is wider, including Earl Grey, Liquid Jade and Peach Oolong. You can have your coffee or tea dressed up in several ways, including additions like coffee jelly and boba. There are also milk alternatives — soy, hemp, almond and condensed — and pour-over options in coffee and tea.
The men were drawn to the storefront for several reasons, including the mix of activity in the neighborhood. King Taco is right next door and there's an art gallery nearby. “If you walk down Union, there are more and more places to check out,” Molina says. “We're in that in-between of a main road [Colorado] and the growth that's happening on Union.”
Each part of the name is purposeful, he adds. “We want the vibe and guest service to reflect a sense of home. 'Brew' refers to our process. Each order is hand-crafted. It's also about how coffeehouses and tea bars are places where people can brew ideas. And 'bar' is meant to conjure up a bar. We have long bartops set up as communal tables,” Molina continues. “There's a happy hour–esque feel. We want to encourage people to talk to each other.”
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