Odds are by now you’re familiar with the incredibly divisive snack, chia seeds. I’m here to plug another gelatinous chia-based concoction, so prepare yourself. Chia fresca (also known as iskiate) is very similar to blended fruit, sugar, and water beverage agua fresca. OK, I’ll be honest: Chia fresca texture could be described as challenging. It’s like a more liquidy, less creamy chia pudding (I’m really selling it to you, huh?). While you can make chia fresca with just chia seeds and water, the drink tastes roughly 100,000,000 times better with the addition of fresh fruit juice. Still, the plain version is still a very enjoyable beverage. No matter how you plan to prepare the drink, you probably will need to like chia seeds in order actually enjoy this one.
For plain chia fresca, simply mix 2 tablespoons of black chia seeds into 2 cups of water (coconut water works too) in a large jar or bottle. If you’d like the drink to be a tad sweet, stir in ½ teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Finish the drink off with a good squeeze from half a lemon or lime. Chill the drink in the fridge for about 1 hour, and give it a quick shake before drinking.
Fruity chia fresca starts with 2 cups of juice. For flavor reasons, it’s best to either make your own (especially if you’re working with citrus like grapefruit or blood orange) or buy a bottle of the not-from-concentrate, no added sugar stuff. You can hit up your local cold-pressed juice shop if you have one, but it’s certainly not necessary, as more grocery stores than ever have diverse juice options available. Mix 2 tablespoons black chia seeds into the juice. Unless you’ve started with unsweetened vegetable juice, it’s unlikely you’ll need any additional sweetener here, but feel free to do so if you feel the need.
If you’d like to get fancier when it comes to flavoring the chia fresca, try starting with a flavored coconut water or herbal tea base instead of water. I’d also highly suggest adding mint, basil, or grated ginger—these flavors sharpen the base and create a zingier-tasting drink.