Refreshing Beverages for the Start of Fall

By Madison Gillespie


The first day of autumn was not even ten days ago, but weather-wise, Chambana has not quite received the memo. With days in the mid-to-upper nineties throughout September following a swelteringly hot Syllabus Week, campus has yet to fully experience the chilly bite of fall weather. Fortunately, there are some new cold drinks available around UIUC to help us all stay refreshed until the temperatures drop below 75 degrees.


Frozen Lemonade


Credit: Original Image

Available From: Any Espresso Royale location on campus (Daniel, Oregon, Krannert Art Museum, Grainger Engineering Library, Undergraduate Library, Business Instructional Facility)


As an avid drinker of Espresso’s tea lemonades and Italian sodas, I was excited to try a new fruity beverage from them. Visually, the drink is just what you’d expect: thick, blended lemon ice that seems to cool you down even before the first sip. It seemed reminiscent of shaved ice I would eat after track-and-field games in elementary school (who else remembers participating in these as a kid??), so I couldn’t wait to try it.

What I did not expect, however, was how tart this drink is. While there is certainly some sweetness mixed in, the overall flavor is bold and sour enough to sting your tastebuds. Personally, this was a pleasant surprise and the added tartness gave me an energy boost, which was just what I needed between classes. If sour drinks are not your favorite, I would consider trying the other two flavors of this lemonade (blueberry and strawberry) as these include real pieces of fruit and could likely help to balance out the flavor profile.

Final Rating: 4 / 5 stars


Agua de Sandia


Credit: Original Image

Available From: Maize Mexican Grill (60 E Green St, Champaign, IL 61820)


After being intrigued by this newer drink option from Maize for a while, I made sure to try one earlier this semester in the midst of the humid, 80-degree days. The drink is very light and not overly sweet, making it perfect to pair with your chips and burrito or to have on its own.

There are small chunks of watermelon in the drink, which adds some nice flavor but also makes for a grainy texture when the pieces make their way up the straw. There is also the occasional watermelon seed that you will need to watch out for as you drink. Aside from these details, however, I really enjoyed this drink and plan to order it again on a future Maize run!

Final Rating: 3.8 / 5 stars




Credit: Original Image

Available From: Brewlab Coffee (5617, 630 S 5th St, Champaign, IL 61820)


While several places on campus sell milkshakes, Brewlab’s take on the classic dessert is sweet and noteworthy. Served in a cute mason glass or mug, these shakes can be topped in whipped cream and come in four tasty flavors (Espresso, Chocolate, Matcha and Chai; I personally tried the Espresso shake, which is the one featured in my photo!)

These milkshakes are very smooth, and while they lack the thick consistency typically associated with shakes, I almost preferred it because it made the espresso flavor even more apparent through the cream. The smaller glass size also makes these milkshakes perfectly portioned desserts. I look forward to trying the other three flavors soon!

Final Rating: 5 / 5 stars


Polar Cap


Credit: Original Image

Available From: Any Espresso Royale location on campus (Daniel, Oregon, Krannert Art Museum, Grainger Engineering Library, Undergraduate Library, Business Instructional Facility)


This frozen drink is not quite a slushee or a shake, but it is delicious. A simple blend of espresso, milk, vanilla and sugar, the Polar Cap can also be flavored with mocha and garnished with whipped cream.

The richness of the coffee flavor is balanced out by the milk and blended ice, creating a semi-sweet drink that is satisfying yet not too heavy. With midterm season starting for many, this is a great beverage to have by your side during a late night of studying. If there is anything to note about the Polar Cap, you will likely have a mound of slush left at the bottom of your cup which you may find yourself poking your straw through to locate the last few patches of coffee. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with this drink.

Final Rating: 4.8 / 5 stars



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