Coffee Talk – Lift Coffee Roasters

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If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that I have an obsessions with coffee shops and great coffee. I have been cultivating this obsession for quite some time, I grew up in a home where coffee was a vital part of our existence. The kettle whistled every morning from the kitchen as my mother made “cafe con leche” to accompany breakfast. Now that I think about it that’s probably the reason why I couldn’t stop talking in class.

All celebrations in our home started or ended with a cup of coffee. Coffee is a drink of tradition in Latin America. It has both a humble and royal place in history. Today, there is a thriving coffee culture, sourcing, roasting, and brewing coffee in ways most of us would have never imagined. Lift Coffee Roasters open its doors a few weeks ago and the husband and I have already spent quite some time drinking, enjoying, and talking about their coffee like we know what we are doing.

It seems that Lift will be the place where the cool kids in Riverside will go when they are feeling tired and un-caffenaited. With its cool vintage industrial vibe and cool brewing methods, I know what you are thinking “intimidating!” but actually it was far from. Everyone seemed pretty chill and completely focuses in getting whatever it was that they where doing down to perfection. We waited in line and watched as people collected their foamy and perfectly designed lattes. But what I was interested in was the Black Coffee the Good Old Joe. First time around they were still brewing the “cold brew” so I was not able to get any disappointing I know! Then I decided to order the “iced pour over” and I was pleasantly surprised with my perfect cup of flavor, clarity, and balance. I said it on Instagram and I will say it again “best iced coffee I’ve had in a while.” Overall our experience was a positive one, the only complaint was the time we had to wait for our drinks. The hubs ordered a Mocha and I ordered Iced Coffee and a peanut butter cookie. We got the cookie when we paid, then about 10 minutes later I got my iced coffee (not bad) but my husband did not get his Mocha until way way later. I actually went to the bar twice to ask for it. There seemed to be a bit of confusion going on (I attribute this to them being new and getting use to it all) we ended up getting the Mocha 30 or so minutes after, the barista was kind enough to bring it to our table. Both drinks were delicious, no complaints there. This place is pretty great and I truly believe that the delay in drinks was due to them being new, no biggie.

Plus the store is absolutely gorgeous and the baked goods look great and I know for a fact that their peanut butter cookie is quite amazing!

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Lets all hope and pray that Lift does not become one of those place where you feel scared to order a cup of coffee…we have all been there and we all know what I am talking about. Dear Coffee Shops of the world you are never to cool or too good to acknowledge your patrons. After all their hard earned dollars add up…

Horchata Paletas

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Hi lovelies its going to be one HOT day today! Stay cool and make some paletas! These paletas are so delicious and the perfect healthy treat to keep you cool in the hot days to come. It’s supposed be 110 degrees this weekend. Horchata, the  cinnamon-vanilla rice drink is a frothy Mexican staple – delicious and so refreshing. It only made sense to turn it into paletas. Unlike the sugary not so healthy but super delicious version that I grew up with I decided to make some changes and make it healthier without compromising flavor! Health Nuts rejoice! You can still enjoy this delicious drink and have your paleta too!!My version is sweetened with dates and agave nectar instead of sugar and condensed milk.

I bought my paleta molds at World Market. You can find some at Target and many other retailers. If you do not want to invest in some molds you can use small pixie cups and cover the tops with plastic.

Fun tip – add some some rum to the left-over horchata and you’ll have a delicious cocktail.

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Horchata Paleta

  • 1 cups Rice (soak over night or for 2 hrs
  • 1 cup brown rice (soak over night or for 2 hrs) the brown rice adds nuttiness sort of like a Central American Horchata
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk (or sub light coconut or rice milk)
  • 2 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp – Agave Nectar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  1. Soak rice over night or  in 2 cups very hot (not boiling water) for 2 hours. The rice should be soft but still raw – if you can snap a piece with your fingernail without much effort then you are good to go. Drain and add to a blender.
  2. Add 2 cups water, dates, 1 tbsp of agave, vanilla, and the cinnamon stick. Cover the lid with a towel just in case you have some spillage. Blend for about 1 minute until the mixture seems well combined. It doesn’t have to be 100% pulverized.
  3. Scoop out a small sample with a spoon to test sweetness. If it’s not sweet enough, add the rest of the agave.
  4. In two batches, pour the mixture over a bowl or pitcher covered with cheesecloth, wrap a rubberband around the bowl to ensure it does not come loose, but this isn’t necessary.
  5. Strain the mixture until only pulp remains in the cloth, squeezing to get all of it. It will take a little effort depending on how pulverized your pulp is.
  6. Next, stir in almond milk (optional), whisk and transfer to large beverage container , from there pour liquid into the paleta molds, place paleta sticks, cover, and put in the freezer over night! You’ll have a refreshing drink and paletas.

Watermelon + Basil Agua Fresca

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Now that we are getting so close to July, I think it’s safe to say summer has officially begun! (Right?!) And nothing says summer quite like a sweaty glass of agua fresca sipped out in the yard while relaxing on a hammock and reading a good book! Drink, hammock, book how is that possible you say? With this handy little Mason Jar Tumbler from the Mason Jar Company. My husband gave it to me on my birthday (he knows me so well and my obsession with mason jars) and it has quickly become my favorite. With the summer heat I try to drink a lot more water than I usually do, I have found out that the hangover feeling that I get after working a wedding coined my many pros the “Wedding Hangover” mind you absolutely no alcohol involved is a result of dehydration. So I am trying really hard to drink a lot more water and therefore I am infusing it with different fruits and herbs. The combinations are endless and I usually end up with a super refreshing and tasty drink. My to go mixture is Lemon + Chocolate Mint but its watermelon season so I couldn’t resist giving the typical Agua de Sandia a little makeover.

This recipe is fool-proof and the combinations are endless. I used watermelon because that is what I had in my fridge and basil because I have a ton of it in my garden. This drink is refreshing, delicious, and free of added sugars. Moms this is a great alternative for kids who don’t like drinking water and only want to drink sugary juices.

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Watermelon + Basil Agua Fresca

– 1/2 Small Watermelon blended

– 1 Handful of basil leaves or to taste

– 1 quart water

– Ice

Directions

Blend the watermelon and basil together, once you have a puree consistency pour into a container that can fit both the water and mixture. This should be sweet on its on own, no need for added sugars. Place in a glass with ice and enjoy!

 

Basil-Peach Simple Syrup – Jasmine Green Tea

As you probably know by now, Johnny and I  love the farmers’ market. It literally is a weekend must. Luckily Redlands has three markets, one on Thursday and two on Saturday morning. Something about Saturday morning market makes my heart fill with joy. We have a must list but we always love coming home with a large variety of greens and new things we’ve never tried before. At the moment I have fallen in love with my ability to grow food in my front and back yard…who would’ve thought. Every Saturday morning I look forward to visiting the Rolling Hills Herbs & Annuals stand and picking up new heirloom edibles for my garden. A while back I picked up a 1″ plug of sweet heirloom basil. That 1″ plug has turned into an out of control bush that grows bigger and faster every time I cut it. So in my desperate attempt to consume as much basil as possible in forms other than pesto and an add-on to pasta I have experimented with it in many forms and adding to drinks seems to be one of my favorite. The weather has been scorching so this drink was a nice little refresher.

This tea is super easy to make! Boil  1 cup of organic sugar and 1 cup of water until sugar dissolves. Add basil and peaches and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Brew a batch of your favorite tea. I like green tea! Mix 3 parts tea with 1 part simple syrup. Enjoy!