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The Coffee Buzz

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Sometimes Los Angeles may be Los Angeles but doesn't feel like Los Angeles, which is totally the case for the wonderful town they call Pasadena. Nice and far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the self-entitlement of the Westside and the Hip-Factor of Hollywood, Pasadena and the coffee shops that reside there feel normal, comfortable and relaxing.

And yes, that's even the case when there's a bomb scare.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf #12
415 S. Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours: Monday - Thursday 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Saturday 6:30 AM - 12:00 AM
Sunday 6:30 AM - 10:00 PM

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The coffee shop in question, about six or seven blocks south of the tourist trap they call Colorado Boulevard, is part of a shopping center that once was. In its heydey, this Coffee Bean must have been packed to the hilt with people testing the waters of the new Macy's and the wonderfully advanced parking structure. But today, with tourists packing the new "corporate strip," this area of Pasadena is a little more low-key.

Of course, low-key isn't a problem, as long as your neighborhood coffee haunt isn't being dubbed as the coffee shop that potentially may be filled with conspiracy theorists who believe that any bag left alone may contain a bomb coffee shop. Fortunately, this one didn't necessarily fall under that "dub."

On the day LAist visited [yesterday], all seemed clean and calm. The people inhabiting this coffee shop looked normal, acted normal and were even having particularly non-typical Los Angeles conversations:

Guy #1: And really, all you need is one of those plumbers wrenches and you'll have no problem.
Guy #2: Yeah, but that bolt was hard to get off. I'm thinking of calling a real plumber.
Guy #1: Don't call a real plumber. They'll charge you an arm and a leg.

Girl #1: Gillian's garage sale was a great big success.
Girl #2: Really?
Girl #1: She emptied out her garage and sold everything. She made like forty-five bucks!
Girl #2: Wow. Forty-five bucks...

Guy at Register: That'll be twelve-nineteen.
Customer: Oh, shoot. I'm a buck short.
Guy at Register: Do you have a credit-card?
Customer: Not with me. Oh, man...
Guy at Register: No problem, guy. I got you covered.

But then, without warning — this "bizarro coffee shop" (due to it's containing of actual, real human beings with interests other than movies and modeling) turned into something different altogether. When someone left their huge, packed backpack alone on a table, people started to get antsy.

In fact, fifteen minutes went by without anyone picking up said backpack and the natives suddenly grew restless. This backpack must have, positively had to contain, some kind of explosives!!!

Of course, had this coffee shop been placed at Robertson and Beverly Boulevard in "the Hills," police and paparazzi and chaos would have ensued immediately. Here, a friendly-neighborhood Coffee Bean staffer quickly solved the mystery of the abandoned bag. The owner was, uh, a little busy in the restroom.

In the end, Pasadena provided LAist with a window into what it might be like to live in another city, in another state, somewhere far far away. A place where people talk about normal everyday problems, garage sales and are generous to a fault. Where coffee isn't the only thing that keeps you alive and awake — it's the people. People who make you want to hang out, talk to them, and make some kind of honest connection.

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