Thursday, March 30, 2023

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5 Stand-Out Summer time Drinks from Santa Cruz, California

In a beachside metropolis constructed on summer season vibes, chilly espresso drinks shine.


Featured picture by James Coleman; all different images by Eddie P. Gomez

Specialty-coffee outlets have come to this point and turn out to be so more and more simple to search out that it appears regardless of the place you go, you’ll detect a minimum of one nice store. Some cities, although, boast greater than sufficient to maintain a espresso lover sated all day lengthy, and Santa Cruz, Calif., is certainly one of them. In truth, a number of the most lauded espresso firms on this planet name this eclectic, coastal neighborhood—identified for its surf tradition, artwork, and boardwalk amusement park—dwelling.

Because it’s summer season, the time of yr when Santa Cruz shines its brightest, we took a day to pattern the good, unique summertime drinks on supply at 5 of the town’s greatest outlets. 

The Creamy Beige
Cat & Cloud, numerous areas

The Creamy Beige summer drink at Cat & Cloud in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The Creamy Beige at Cat & Cloud.

When three baristas describe the identical drink to you with stars of their eyes, it’s positively one to attempt. Cat & Cloud baristas Dulce and Leah welcomed me warmly to the store and kindly walked me by means of the checklist of elements in Cat & Cloud’s hottest summer season drink, The Creamy Beige.

This drink is a gradual sippin’ dream come true on a sizzling day. Made with espresso, ice, half-and-half, condensed milk, and vegan chocolate, and topped with powdered decaf, the milkshake-like drink is one thing to be revered: an ultra-light dessert that unapologetically delivers a taste overload.

The granita-textured ice permits the drinker to nibble from the ice-concentrated center or sip from the sides of the cup, the place the creaminess flows, which makes the drink’s consistency a formidable spotlight. Notes of peanut butter emerge from the mixture of condensed milk and vegan chocolate, making The Creamy Beige a taste-centered prodigy of unabashed character, an expertise value looking for.

Lavender Chilly Brew
The Ugly Mug, 4640 Soquel Drive, Soquel, Calif.

The Lavender Cold Brew summer drink at the Ugly Mug in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Lavender Chilly Brew at The Ugly Mug

Only a stone’s throw from the center of Santa Cruz, The Ugly Mug Coffeehouse in Soquel is described by one of many baristas as “fairly ugly on objective.” The café definitely radiates an inviting mustiness that happily says little concerning the potential for espresso excellence, which has been served as much as clients since 1996.

The success is the results of a trifecta: educated baristas, fabulous ambiance, and great-tasting espresso. Barista Kate was type sufficient to debate which chilly drink would do the trick in lighting up my afternoon, and we settled on a easy chilly brew sweetened with lavender syrup.

The chilly brew at The Ugly Mug is a examine in stability. The depth of taste and lack of bitterness left of their wake an unforgettable smoothness. Accompanied by a sensory burst of lavender, the primary sips lingered and fell on my palate like a gradual sundown on the close by coast.

The Cascara Jamaica Spritzer
Verve Espresso, numerous areas

The Cascara Jamaica Spritzer summer drink at Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Cascara Jamaica Spritzer at Verve Espresso

The Jamaica Cascara Spritzer is served up Instagram-ready—simply what you’d count on from certainly one of specialty espresso’s most iconic U.S. manufacturers. One have a look at the spritzer tells the shopper they’re about to expertise a whoosh of tropical breeziness.

The cascara-tea-based drink initially delivers a pow-like fruit punch, however a honeyed tea style prevails. The aftertaste is dominated by the Jamaica flower’s perfumed bouquet. The distinction despatched my style buds into hyperdrive, enabled by the spritzer’s effervescence.

In the event that they supposed the drink for this beachy city, Verve Espresso did their homework. The drink completely displays Santa Cruz’s ethos: a spirited closeness to the ocean and laid-back way of life. The spritzer is an ideal alternative for a stroll right down to Pleasure Level to observe surfers experience colossal waves on a heat summer season day.

Raspberry Kyoto Chilly Brew
The Roxa Hammock Café, 110 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Raspberry Kyoto Cold Brew summer drink at the Rosa Hammock Cafe in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Raspberry Kyoto Chilly Brew at Roxa Hammock Café.

The Roxa Hammock Café is another drink emporium with a California beach-goth aesthetic that intrigues as a lot because it invitations friends to loosen up in certainly one of its namesake hammocks or cozy couches.

The store’s web site describes the place as ”artwork, alchemy and natural meals targeted on detox and microbiome well being.” The menu boasts a plethora of drinks and inventive combos of elixirs and tinctures crafted for well being, a metaphysical connection, or only a mood-lifting Santa Cruz vibe. 

I cherished how enthusiastic the baristas have been in exploring the menu with me. We selected a Kyoto Chilly Brew infused with a raspberry-and-honey mash they ready contemporary with a mortar and pestle. The ensuing mocktail’s tea-like physique and notes of tamarind completed fantastically with a lightweight and fruity aftertaste. The one factor left to do was to ease right into a hammock and perform a little studying earlier than a facet journey to the boardwalk for a experience by means of the haunted home.

Chicory Brewed Iced Espresso
Lulu Carpenter’s, 1545 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Chicory Brewed Iced Coffee summer drink at Lulu Carpenter's in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Chicory Brewed Iced Espresso at Lulu Carpenter’s.

It’s fairly uncommon to search out chicory at a specialty-coffee store, so once I noticed it on the menu at Lulu Carpenter’s, I needed to give it a attempt. The woody, herbaceous plant was famously used to make “espresso” throughout wartime for troopers with out entry to the actual stuff.

The barista was type sufficient to oblige once I requested to attempt a pattern earlier than it was blended into the drink. I used to be stunned how the earthen flavors of the chicory root co-existed, with the espresso with neither intense taste overpowering the opposite. Within the drink, it was sweetened and completed off with a splash of half-and-half.

The style imparted by the chicory was virtually indiscernible, however nonetheless current sufficient for me to acknowledge the unusual and engaging influence it had on the espresso. It proved the right option to sip as I wandered by means of artwork galleries and thrift shops.


Eddie P. Gomez (he/him) is a contract author based mostly in Modesto, Calif. When he’s not substitute instructing kindergarten lessons, he wanders from metropolis to metropolis, perfecting the artwork of the meals and occasional journey.


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