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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Hit a Brick Wall? Hit Up Brick and Bell!

A review of Brick and Bell cafe’s drinks
Brick and Bell is always crowded with La Jolla locals, all hoping to grab drink or a bite to eat!

Everybody needs a pick-me up drink, whether it’s on the way to school early in the  morning, or during a study session after school, when your stomach is grumbling and you’re just craving something. I joined La Jolla locals, including many Bishop’s students, in a line in front of a cozy red-bricked shop on Silverado Street — the iconic it-cafe: Brick and Bell. But what to choose? Here are my top five favorite drinks at this local coffee shop!



1. Strawberry Smoothie – Overall Rating: 10/10

Putting a smoothie at the top of my list was definitely surprising for me, considering my love for coffee, but the smoothies at Brick and Bell are creamier and richer than any other. My personal favorite, the strawberry smoothie, is creamy, sweet, and delightfully fresh. I usually don’t drink smoothies because they tend to be too sugary or icy, but this smoothie was perfectly sweetened and thick in consistency.

And I can’t forget how gorgeous the smoothie looked when I first got it. Streaks of fresh cream swirled on the edges of my cup like clouds in a strawberry sunrise and seeds dappled throughout the drink like little freckles. The delicate tanginess of the fresh strawberries, combined with the richness from the cream created a symphony on my tongue.

Brick and Bell also offers their smoothie in Strawberry-Banana, Blueberry, Blueberry-Banana, Acai-Strawberry-Banana, and Strawberry-Banana-Orange. I haven’t tried all of them, but I have tried the Strawberry-Banana, and it’s safe to say, they’re both in the same, perfect formula. If you’re not a smoothie-lover, maybe this Brick and Bell smoothie will change your mind!


2. Iced Caramel Macchiato – Overall Rating: 9.5/10

If you ever go with me to get Brick and Bell, you will know that their iced caramel macchiato is my go-to coffee. For my fellow caramel-lovers, this is definitely a coffee you need to try. Rich, fragrant, smooth espresso shots infuse themselves with the milk of your choice, which flood between ribbons of thick, amber caramel sauce lining the cup.

One of my favorite things about this coffee is that it can be enjoyed with all types of milk, from oat milk to almond milk, or regular milk. While it’s easy to substitute your milk for plant-based milks in a coffee, the flavors of each milk definitely change the flavors of your drink, and it’s not always in a good way. Personally, many milk substitutes don’t work well in a lot of drinks, and so as someone who is lactose intolerant and really picky, this is a game-changer.

This coffee can also be enjoyed hot and cold, though I will always get it iced. The caramel sauce definitely adds to the aroma of the espresso, but I will say, sometimes the amount of caramel you get in the cup is inconsistent, and it is a bit frustrating when I have to try and scrape the caramel off the sides of the cup with a straw, but overall, getting little nuggets of unmixed caramel sauce is always a delightful surprise in my mornings. Definitely give this one a try!



3. Mexican Hot Chocolate – Overall Rating: 8.5/10

This drink is not officially on the Brick and Bell menu, but ask for it, and they will definitely deliver. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy this steaming, classic hot chocolate, and the hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom add a spicy twist. Sweet layers of whipped cream conceal a creamy, chocolatey, aromatic elixir that will bring you back to life on a freezing day.

Brick and Bell’s hot chocolate manages to somehow preserve that chocolatey flavor while keeping the drink light and smooth. While I would have wished for a bit more chocolate, the flavor is especially good for someone who likes their drinks on the less-sweet side. And the spices infuse themselves into the milk to create a cozy warmth that fills you up from head to toe.

Interestingly, their frothy drink also creates an ombre gradient of texture between the sweet whipped cream and hot chocolate. I’m not the biggest fan of foam, however, but I do know many of my friends love it, so it’s all up to personal preference. Just make sure you don’t burn your tongue while sipping on this delicious drink!



4. Iced Vanilla Chai Latte – Overall Rating: 7/10

Brick and Bell’s iced vanilla chai latte is the only tea on this list, and for a good reason. While tea is personally a bit too bland for me sometimes, this chai latte is a sweet explosion of spices that manages to be just a step-up from black tea but not overpowering. Perfectly balanced between the chai spices and creamy vanilla, this latte changed my perspective on tea.

I originally drank this drink while it was hot on a rainy day while the sun was just starting to poke through the clouds in La Jolla. And I definitely saw the sun after the warm concoction slid down my throat and the smell of cinnamon and cloves wafted to my nose. It’s deliciously light and comforting, when hot, and, if you know me, everything is ten times better when iced.

While I’ve tried to get into tea, it’s still not much of my thing, and this chai latte was an impressive breakthrough, coming close to my liking for matcha. I still prefer coffee over tea, but this chai latte rises to the top. 

Brick and Bell also has a Spiced Chai Latte, which has more of a spicy punch to it. I’m personally not a fan of strong spices, so I definitely like the Vanilla Chai Latte for a lighter and sweeter flavor, but one of my friends loves the spiced version. Either way, if you’re looking for a gateway into drinking tea or you just love chai lattes, this drink is for you!



5. Iced Mocha – Overall Rating: 7/10

This is a classic when it comes to coffee, and that’s what Brick and Bell does best! Mochas are a very sentimental drink for me, because it was the first coffee I ever drank, and the Brick and Bell iced mocha takes me right back to that first sip. Its velvety chocolate swirled throughout in a cocoa and coffee bean frenzy will flood all your senses until you’re just craving more and more chocolate.

Personally, I also find the iced mocha to be a kind of coffee that few places can nail to a T due to its simplicity. A mocha is made with chocolate (often chocolate syrup), espresso, and milk. But if you add too much chocolate syrup or drizzle, your coffee is too sweet and grainy from that sauce. If you add too little chocolate syrup, you don’t have a mocha.

Brick and Bell’s mocha is almost perfect. It’s not too sweet, not too bitter, not too creamy, and not too light. The chocolate flavor is overall balanced throughout the drink and I can taste equal parts of espresso and chocolate sauce. 

However, sometimes, the chocolate sauce that gathers on the bottom of the cup can turn grainy if you let it sit for a while without stirring, and that texture, when left behind in your mouth after a sip of coffee, isn’t too pleasant. But overall, Brick and Bell’s iced mocha is definitely for my chocolate lovers to try out!


As a classic La Jolla treasure, Brick and Bell has a lot to offer, from soups to sandwiches, and my personal favorites, coffees, teas, and more. And a five-minute walk from Bishop’s to this cozy cafe is definitely worth the delicious drink waiting for you on the glass counter inside. Whether it’s a smoothie, an iced or hot coffee, or any of the goods they have to offer, you won’t be disappointed!

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About the Contributor
Lisa Pan
Lisa Pan, Assistant Graphics Editor
Lisa is in her second year of The Tower as a sophomore and an Assistant Graphics Editor. She loves writing articles, whether fun or serious, mainly about performing arts and entertainment recommendations. When she’s not at school or working in Los Angeles as a professional actress-singer-model, she spends her time writing novels and songs in addition to news articles somewhere in the library. And you better believe she’ll have a Harry Potter book in her backpack, an iced latte in her hand, and a smile on her face every day at school. If you ever see her around campus, feel free to stop and say hello!

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