Cold Case

Copa Vida makes coffee even cooler in Pasadena

We knew it was you, freddo. You stole our heart.

Pardon the Godfather-esque melodrama, but a frosty new beverage at Copa Vida has us gushing with affection.

The tumbler-sized freddo ($3.25) is but one of several perfectly blended iced-coffee drinks at Pasadena's stunning new coffeehouse, operated by two former members of the Café Dulce pop-up, Frank La and Sam Hong.

To make the drink, two shots of velvety espresso are shaken with ice until a thin slush forms. Sweetened with agave syrup, the potent drink is a summer favorite in Italian cafés, but almost nonexistent in Los Angeles.

"Flash-chilling the espresso brings out some very different flavor notes," muses La. "Sometimes I almost get a sweet pork flavor."

Copa Vida

More substantial is the "Shakerato" ($5), an extra-frothy, double-shot iced latte kissed with Straus cream and house-made vanilla syrup. It, too, traces its roots back to Italian café culture.

With beans from roasters such as 49th Parallel, Verve and Ritual Roasters, Copa Vida is also reliable for a pure, pitch-black glass of cold brew ($3.50), steeped for an average of 14 hours. But even that humdrum order hides a high-tech twist: The tap is pressurized with nitrogen, ensuring freshness and a thicker mouthfeel.

On a sweltering day, it's an offer you can't refuse.