The Caramel Cup is a new coffee and iced tea house on the corner of York and Richmond streets in the heart of the downtown core.
Owner and brewmaster Alex Ponce says he was inspired to open the shop by the success of the local brews and the excitement it has sparked.
“We really wanted to make something unique,” Ponce said.
The first Caramel Cups opened in August of 2017.
A few months later, the owner had a change of heart.
It became clear that the coffee and teas weren’t doing well, and it was time to move on.
Ponce said he’s happy with the results.
With the help of a small army of volunteers, the Caramel is now on its second run, with two locations planned for the fall.
In addition to its coffee and breakfast offerings, Ponce has been serving coffee, iced iced coffee, a coffee and juice bar and a new iced teas bar.
We’ve been able to create a little more than we would have if we had stayed on the current business model.
But Ponce’s experience has taught him that there’s no reason for a new business to stick around forever.
“We can’t afford to lose our loyal customers,” he said.
“We’ve done a really good job and we’re really happy with our results.”
Pasadena-based Ponce, who grew up in the area, has been a coffee aficionado for nearly 30 years.
He started making coffee in the late 1960s at a coffee shop he owned in Pasadena, Calif.
He also used to brew and serve coffee for his high school class.
“I really enjoyed the process,” he explained.
“It wasn’t like any other thing I’d done in my life.
I liked being part of something special.”
At first, Pascale was only a coffee enthusiast.
I had no idea I was going to be making coffee,” he recalled.
One of the first things he learned was to roast his own beans, and he started with just a small batch.
Eventually, Pause started selling the coffee beans to local coffee shops.
By the early 1980s, he had sold all of his beans to other owners, and by 1986 he had a business that would eventually become one of the largest coffee roasters in the world.
At the same time, he was also working on his first brews, including iced drinks.
As the decades passed, he began experimenting with new brewing methods.
Over time, Pase began making more and more iced coffees, and the coffee shop evolved from a simple coffee shop into an artisan coffee shop.
For Ponce and his staff, the transition has been an eye-opener.
More than 100 years after the coffee was first brewed, Pleased is a coffeehouse on York Street that serves up the very same coffee Ponce made.
The new brews are available daily and offer a variety of iced beverages and ice creams.
This is Ponce at his new coffee shop in Pasadena.
Owner Alex Pase, left, and brew master Alex Pascales new coffeehouse, on York and York streets, in Pasadena in 2018.
All the drinks at Pleased have been created with a special blend of coffee beans and coffee and milk.
To create the new brew, Paces team blends a special coffee blend from Caramel and Caramel Cups, a company Ponce founded in 1973.
Cherry, espresso and other specialty blends are blended with vanilla, vanilla bean, coffee and a dash of sugar to create the most unique coffee drinks possible.
Pleased also uses a specialty iced drink called the iced creamer, which is made with iced milk, coffee, vanilla and sugar, and then topped with vanilla ice cream.
After two years of development, Pased is ready to open its second location, with a grand opening date of Sept. 25.
That’s a couple of months before the city of Pasadena officially reopens after being shut down for a few months.