8 Places You Must Go If You're A Coffee Lover In Central Illinois

8 Places You Must Go If You're A Coffee Lover In Central Illinois

3. Breaking Grounds
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Central Illinois isn’t known for much more than farmland, Caterpillar equipment, and soybeans. It is not the world’s most thrilling place to live. Summers are hot (like really hot) and winters are cold (like really, really cold) and there is about ten days total in the entire year where you could use the word perfect to describe the weather. Summer activities generally range from shopping at Peoria’s mall, going to one of the towns’ public pools, and maybe catching a movie at your closest theater. In the winter … well you just try to stay warm. All of this being said, I do love living in central Illinois; I have grown to appreciate it even more after going to a larger city for college. One thing that I do think central Illinois does really well (even better than big cities, in my opinion) is cute, social coffee shops. Almost every small town in the area has at least one, and each boasts its own charming atmosphere and ample menu. I am somewhat of a coffee aficionado, if I do say so myself, and my favorite drinks come from these small local shops. If you ever find yourself in central Illinois, make sure to check out one of these coffee shops!

1. Eli's Coffee Shop

Eli's has locations in Morton, Tremont, and Metamora. As a hometown Morton girl myself, it is my favorite coffee shop on the list. It boasts an amazing list of signature drinks (make sure to try the Iced Boho!) plus snack and dessert options that will make your mouth water. I also love the atmosphere -- it's a great place to hang out and catch up with friends and has good outdoor and indoor spaces. I also find it a great place to study and catch up on work.

2. Leaves 'N Beans Coffee

You can visit Leaves 'n Beans in both Morton and Peoria Heights. The Morton is a great local coffee shop to visit on-the-go because it has a drive thru. But if you have more time to spend to hang out, both the Morton and Peoria locations have great places to spend the day. I also love to stop by LnB for a meal; they have great sandwiches and salads! If you love their coffee products, you can also visit their Store and Roastery in their other Peoria Heights location near Trefzgers Bakery!

3. Breaking Grounds

Breaking Grounds is the newest edition to Morton's coffee scene. (Who knew such a small town could have so many coffee options!) They just opened in 2017 and therefore are still working on adding items to their menu; however, if you find yourself in Morton, I encourage you to try it out!

4. Thirty-Thirty

Thirty-Thirty is a Peoria coffee classic, and I've been stopping in since I was in high school at PND. They have two locations, one in downtown Peoria and one in Junction City. They have several different brews of coffee to try out, and each one is delicious! It's a great place to spend an afternoon reading or stop by for boost of caffeine during your busy day!

5. The Blend

The Blend is Washington's addition to this CI coffee list. I discovered it two summers ago and immediately fell in love. It's a bit of a drive from my life in Morton, but well worth it. I stop there every time I'm in Washington. The Café has a great atmosphere and a large space to sit with friends, plus booths great for work. If you don't have time to get out of your car, the Blend Express is nearby so you can drive thru to get your drink!

6. Zion Coffee Bar

Zion is another specialty local coffee company with a variety of blends and brews for you to try! Their location in the Warehouse District in downtown Peoria has a beautiful interior with both an upstairs loft and downstairs sitting area in which to enjoy your drink. Their menu also includes a lot of other beverages than just coffee and is continuing to expand, so it's a must stop!

7. One World Café

I had to include One World Café on my list, even though it is not strictly a coffee shop. Located on Bradley's campus in Peoria, One World has a fairly extensive coffee menu plus a full food menu which can be ordered as take-out or dine-in. It is one of my favorite places to eat in central Illinois, and I stop in every time I am home on a break. My personal favorite is to pair a coffee with their hummus and pita appetizer; it's AMAZING!

8. Le Bakery

If you're having a sweet tooth attack, Le Bakery in Washington is the place you need to stop. Predominantly a bakery, Le Bakery also has a fairly extensive list of coffee options to choose from. So not only can you get an Iced Coffee, but you can pair it with a cookie, slice of cake, or a whole cake if you're feeling it!

So, if you find yourself in Central Illinois and are in need of a morning boost or an afternoon hang out, check out one of these amazing coffee shops! I sure plan on it this summer!

Cover Image Credit: Enjoy Illinois

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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Top 5 Hidden Gems In Clemson, SC

What are you missing out on in this beautiful South Carolina college town?

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Clemson, South Carolina. Home to the Clemson Tigers, one of the happiest universities in the nation and full of southern hospitality. I'm sure if you live in or near Clemson you know all the main spots to hang, or just grab a bite to eat. Who doesn't know Red Bowl, Spill the Beans or Bowman Field? Maybe you need a new spot, somewhere to quench your thirst for adventure, or maybe you're just tired of the same old same old. Either way, you're going to fall in love with these ten hidden gems, just as I have.

1. Yolk Asian Kitchen

Whether you're coming to Yolk for the made in house ginger ale, the stone rice bowls, or the kimchi tater tots; you'll always leave satisfied.

Located across from Mellow Mushroom (because you surely know where that is), this small restaurant has a very special place in my heart. I mean, 5 minutes from campus, good prices, and vegetarian options? What more can be said?

2. Todaro Pizza

Todaro Pizza. This small pizza shop that has the right amount of crust, to sauce, to greasiness and cheesiness. Everything aligns perfectly on these large slices of heaven. Not to mention, dollar slice nights every Wednesday from 6:00-11:00 p.m.

3. All In Coffee Shop

This small (but not really so small, its got amazingly spacious seating inside) cafe features pastries like your grandma would make, a bountiful selection of coffees and bubble tea offered every Wednesdays. This place is home to many of my study sessions, friendly conversations, and my large consumption of almond milk caramel lattes.

4. The Barnes Center

Now, I know this one may not be very hidden to those students who live on campus (particularly the high-rises) but, some may not know about the weekend events hosted here (and at least this one isn't completely food related). Whether it's game nights, DIY sessions, or cupcake wars: this spot on Clemson's Campus is a smorgasbord for bored college students.

5. Brackett Hall

Now, of course, if you're a student this building is not much of a secret. Many of us have had classes, exams or walked past this building many times. Though this building is underrated in the fact that in the evening it's one of the quietest places to study, with rows of tables and computers lining the bottom floor. (It even has a secret lounge for geology majors!)

I know these spots are great places to hang out with my friends and as a freshman, they've almost become little spots of home to me. Hopefully, these small little gems in this college town will quench your adventurous thirst and bring some spice to your life!

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