Ever tried a Smurf latte? The concoction - created by Melbourne cafe Matcha Mylk Bar - went viral yesterday because of its distinctive blue (of course) shade. A Smurf Latte doesn’t contain any coffee, though - just blue algae powder, lemon, ginger and coconut milk. And it’s part of a new wave of superfood-style “coffees” sweeping the world.
Yep. In the grand tradition of rainbow lattes and red velvet lattes (not to mention The Great Melbourne Deconstructed Latte Scandal of 2016) coffee has once again gone rogue. The memo seems to be: if you’re still ordering a flat white, are you even alive? And of course, that’s the aim of many of these superfood-infused lattes - to use ingredients with strong antioxidant powers to keep you that way.
As well as serving up the Smurf Latte, Matcha offers beetroot and carrot varieties, in pleasing pink and slightly alarming orange. They’re made similarly to the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte in the States - with a small amount of the vegetable puree, plus warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Again - no coffee.
It’s not just an Aussie trend: at Cape Town’s Super Latte Bar, superfood lattes are all that’s on the menu. As well as beetroot lattes, the Bar pours a sesame latte (made on sesame milk), a turmeric latte (which sort of seems old hat, now, doesn’t it?) and a chaga latte. Chaga is a kind of mushroom said to have unbelievable healing powers (though if any of them work better than coffee, I’d like to hear it).
Speaking of sesame lattes, black sesame lattes are also a thing. Using black sesame paste, agave and almond or soy milk, they look quite beautiful and are catching on at Toronto cafe Tandem. There’s also maca lattes, using ancient superfood maca powder, on offer at online superfood retailer BonPom (they have a recipe for lucuma lattes, too, should you be inclined).
If you’d rather have your coffee cold, skip the cold brew or cold filter and tuck into a cool bottle of Coffee Juice, instead. Based in Austin, Texas, Coffee Juice is exactly what it sounds like: cold brew coffee blended with blueberry juice (and a touch of cane sugar).
But if the superfood coffee trend - like Coffee Juice - leaves you cold, take heart in the fact that there are lots of other ways to enjoy your morning cup. Nitro coffee, a trend so popular in the States that Starbucks now sells it, infuses regular coffee with a shot of nitrogen, giving it a foaminess and creamy texture usually associated with milk. And while, yep, it sounds kinda crazy, the folks at Cuvee Coffee in Austin, Texas, say it’s perfect for those who want the milkiness of a flat white, without the milk. At New York’s Mighty Brew Bros, nitro coffee is served with a coffee-flavoured ice block.
For those wanting something a little more decadent there’s the horchata latte, a riff on the traditional Mexican drink (typically made with the milk of almonds, sesame seeds, rice and/or barley). Its sweet, creamy texture lends itself perfectly to a shot of java. We also found a tiramisu latte in South Korea (probably worth the airfare alone), a cotton candy latte (also in Korea) and a toasted marshmallow latte in Canada. We’re also not opposed to drinking our coffee from an eco-friendly waffle cup.
It’s official: coffee has gone crazy.