4 / 5 stars
Okay, I’ll admit it: It can be difficult to find things to do in Riverside, especially when you lack a vehicle. However, my bias toward charming coffee houses changed my opinion of Riverside after my visit at Molinos Coffee. Molinos offers a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy well-brewed coffee and a hot cinnamon roll with a great view of Riverside.
It’s only a short journey from UC Riverside to downtown, where you’ll find the coffee shop placed in between a small alleyway toward the Hideaway Cafe and the Mission Galleria thrift shop. I think what I enjoyed most about the coffee shop is that the “get your drink and go” rush doesn’t exist. The coffee is actually brought over to you rather than having your name being called as you stand in a large herd near the counter.
With this, I was inclined to enjoy my order a little more. I purchased a vanilla latte, a warm cinnamon roll and one of their “especiales,” the affogato — a unique combination of coffee and ice cream. The vanilla latte was poured into a ceramic coffee cup and neatly decorated with a leaf design on top. I was hesitant to taste the coffee since I almost took the design as an attempt to distract from the actual quality of the coffee but when I took a sip, my apprehension dissipated. The vanilla latte didn’t have an overbearing artificial taste of excessive sugar and cream, rather it had a sweet taste which refrained from overpowering the coffee. Simply put, it tasted like how a latte should taste.
The cinnamon roll was warm and moist, which made it easy to break apart the layers. Between each layer was a cinnamon glaze and the entire thing was topped with light cream. Yes, it was delicious. It was a little expensive for my liking at $2.10 (or $1.90 with a student discount) but the flavor and warmth of the bun made me forget about my stinginess. However, Molinos doesn’t seem to have anything more substantial to eat other than cinnamon rolls and muffins. More options in the way of food would be a good addition to the place for starving individuals such as myself.
I tend to be partial when it comes to items that taste just like ice cream, so the affogato was my favorite item and probably one of the most unhealthy but satisfying options on the menu. If someone wants something that will both keep them up all night for studying and gratify their sweet tooth, this is definitely the option to choose. The affogato had chocolate drizzled inside the cup with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with the coffee poured on top of it. You can either drink the coffee first or indulge in the ice cream. I chose the latter of the two. I took my spoon and scooped into the the cold ice cream and enjoyed the contrasting coldness of the vanilla and the warmth of the coffee. It was absolutely delightful.
Other than the items on the menu, I think what pleased me the most was the set-up of the entire place. Molinos seemed to have a very open ambiance with the grand window in the back as well as an open-door entrance to the next-door Mission Galleria thrift store. So while you are enjoying your coffee, you can’t help but look out through the large window and gaze upon the Mission Inn Hotel. Molinos is a quaint place to enjoy a cup of coffee which may give you a change of heart toward the city of Riverside.