Hot smoothies join liquid nutrition trend

SANTA MONICA, Calif.

Trend-setting Starbucks recently bought Evolution Fresh, so you can now get cold-pressed juice delivered right to your door. If you haven't yet noticed, it's a juice explosion spilling into markets and cafes across Southern California - offering good taste and nutrition if done right.

Pulse Café in Santa Monica has added something new and different to the liquid line up.

"Why not do a hot smoothie, why not try something comforting?" said Yuchen Zhang, the owner.

With a mind for business, Zhang, a Princeton graduate, and her mother were already health conscious but were looking to help heal a family member with cancer when they created their hot creamy concoctions.

"We wanted to share this with as many people as possible but in a fun way," Zhang explained.

The café blends up raw healthy extras like cacao, chia, hemp and poppy seeds along with dates, exotic dried fruit and nuts.

Not only is Pulse Café unique in making hot smoothies, they also brew their own soy, almond and hemp milk as well.

"When we go to supermarket, we don't like the filtered kind. We want something with more robust flavor," Zhang said.

They steam almond, hemp or soy milk like at the coffee house, then add cocoa, hazelnut, dates and chia seed for the "Be Happy" smoothie. The "Paradise" smoothie is hot brewed almond milk with coconut, date, hemp and poppy seed. The end result is something of substance that has a bit of texture to it.

"It's not just a regular milkshake. It's not just a watered-down drink. It's something that tastes really good and different," Zhang said.

A small 10-ounce is $3.75 and a 20-ounce can cost up to $6. The drinks can be served up chilly too.

"Smoothies are easy. It's something that you can readily have for families for kids for everyone," Zhang said.

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