/ Food & Drink

Would you drink your coffee from an avocado or a carrot?

coffee cups

Cafes in Australia are serving coffee from scooped-out avocados and carrots – is this a fad too far?

Hail the weekend – it’s finally here! And as I sit down to my weekly Saturday treat (French-press coffee in my giant bowl-like mug), I’m pondering whether I could ever be persuaded to consume my coffee out of an avocado skin…

Veggie vessels

Yes, you read that right.

At first I thought someone was ‘aving a laugh when I read about ‘avolattes’: a latte served in a hollowed-out avocado.

But then this week I read that a cafe in Sydney has taken experimental drinking vessels one step further – by serving a piccollo-sized coffee in a scooped-out carrot – and I wondered if perhaps I’m missing a trick here.

The cafe behind the ‘carrotcino’ claims its main motivation is to just keep trying to produce something different. But is this different for different’s sake, or is there method in this madness?

Could it be that the avocado or carrot somehow improves the taste of your coffee? Maybe it’s a new way to dodge washing-up (albeit expensive)? Or, given that in the UK alone, seven million coffee cups are thrown away every single day, a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy a takeaway coffee?

Plus, once you’ve successfully swerved avocado hand while making your brunch on Saturday morning, you can then make use of the avocado skin. Or would that lead to more avocado-related cases at A&E with people scolding their hands because the skin has cracked or caved in, spilling the hot coffee?

Cup of choice

Knowing how particular my grandmother is about fine china, I can’t see that hollowed-out fruit and veg will take off as a drinks receptacle.

Personally, I don’t like the taste of coffee served in paper, plastic or, worse, polystyrene cups. For me, it has to be in a solid mug with a good handle, and be big enough for me to clasp my hands around it – a hug in a mug-style vessel.

Recognising that my bigger-than-my-head mug isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee), when I’m hosting, I’ll get out my more dainty tea cups. No saucers, though – I’ve never seen the point unless you intend to serve the drink with a chocolate or a biscuit. Although my mother tells me that my great-grandmother used to pour her tea into the saucer…

I certainly shan’t be trying an avolatte or carrotcino anytime soon, but will you? Can you think of any other fruit or veg that could be hollowed out to serve coffee in? What’s your go-to drinking vessel for your morning brew?


I think the quoted coffee/vegetable combos are simply ways for said cafes to get media exposure. Works doesn’t it.

I’m not sure whether to have a long coffee in a cucumber or go straight for the melon.

The original story was a hoax, of course, but there was such interest in it that it fired imaginations and odd ways of slurping coffee are being conceived – purely for the publicity, I imagine. However, it does give rise to considering some creative options…

Cappucino: served in a gatsby cap and garnished with flowers.
Americano:served in a hollowed-out figurine of D Trump, Esq.
Espresso: served in an OO gauge model of the Eurostar
Macchiato: served in a bio degradable plastic bag
Short Macchiato: served in the hand
Long Macchiato: served in a banana
Mocha: served in one half of a Chocolate Easter Egg
Latte: served in one half of a coconut.
Ristretto: served in an enamel mug
Flat white: served in a saucer (for Lauren’s G/mother).
Affogato: oh, who cares?

You’d either have to drink it fast or get it iced…

And what happens to all the avocado flesh cut out of the fruit to make the ‘cup’. Is that puréed and served as an accompaniment on a blini or something, and with a kiwi fruit topping?

At least with a hollow carrot the vegetable can be consumed after the coffee has been drunk.

Has anyone tried serving coffee in a coconut? I could see how that might appeal. A pineapple is another possibility and would certainly pep up the beverage.

I find tea more agreeable in the morning for restoring my tissues and would hate to have it served in anything other than a china cup or mug.

Lauren – A saucer is essential when serving a drink in a cup or mug mainly to hold the spoon but also to catch any drips that might run down the side of the vessel and spoil the tablecloth. OK, so you don’t have a tablecloth, and you don’t provide a spoon? You’d better re-check your wedding presents list as these are absolutely necessary for civilised living.

Pouring tea into the saucer was done to cool it but it led to excessive slurping and was generally frowned upon from Harrogate to Tunbridge Wells where these matters are still taken seriously and where they have no intention of serving their excelsior blend in a grapefruit.

I think the term ‘fruit cup’ has already been used for another purpose, John.

Norman Stone says:
11 June 2017

Does the 1st. of April come to mind ?

I wonder if coffee in a vegetable would count towards my ‘five a day’.

I suppose we could genetically engineer vegetables to improve their value as drinking vessels, Lauren. No waste if they are eaten and at least biodegradable if they are not. Introducing some sort of handle would be useful and then we can get John to advise us on where to hold our small finger as a matter of etiquette.

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I am not sure about six fingers, but I have often thought five would be useful, the fifth possibly joining the palm of the hand opposite the thumb. It should be able to rotate 300 degrees and be fully articulated; it would be about 125 mm long on an average male and, if possible, have an extra eye on the end of it. With these two extra digits we would be able to do and see a lot more with our hands. Evolution is a wonderful thing but I wish it would get a move on.

It’s important to publish ideas that could benefit people, Duncan. That prevents them being patented, so they can be shared for the common good. Some examples of genetic engineering have proved very worthwhile. Producing ‘human insulin’ in yeast has helped many diabetics, yet the development was rightly highly questionable when the process was being developed. We are right to ask difficult questions when we are concerned about how science is used commercially.

John – Don’t expect evolution to help when the design of mobile phones keeps changing.

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I understand the science but I’m very out of date about current concerns. Commercial exploitation is all around us.

You would need ears as well to put glasses on! Gloves would be a nightmare

For “Monsanto” read “Bayer”? https://phys.org/news/2016-09-bayer-monsanto.html
History of Monsanto https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto.

Patents are often controversial because someone aims to recoup, and profit from, all the time, research and money they have invested in developing a successful product ( and to recover all those resources that have gone into unsuccessful products, and to fund future speculative research).

Our public bodies – universities for example – are equally capable of developing patentable products, whether physical or intellectual, and do; these should be put in the public domain where we have funded them. Where a commercial company develops something that is considered to be of such public interest value that to severely restrict its use would be against that interest then a patent should not be granted or, if it were, it should be accompanied by appropriate licensing arrangements to ensure the public interest was supported. Financial reward should be provided otherwise innovation will suffer.

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Malcolm – Even if you don’t mind third world farmers being exploited, you might question what you have said when you are told that a drug that could prolong your life or ease your suffering cannot be prescribed because the NHS cannot afford to pay for it. There is plenty of innovation going on in our universities and research institutes without financial reward.

Do you believe all the information that Monsanto published concerning the safety of Roundup. I’m not so sure. Maybe we should get back to the trivial subject of drinking coffee out of fruit & veg because it’s something we can all understand.

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I have only known one person who needed a drug that was not available on the NHS, and he obtained it privately.

Anyway, that’s my last off-topic comment on the matter. 🙁

Instead of pandering to gimmicks from the upside down continent we should be promoting British values and the correct way to drink a hot beverage. This is to pour a little from your cup into your saucer, waft it gently with a cloth cap to reduce its temperature slightly, and then to sip it by slurping through the lips to get the maximum taste sensation, the accompanying sound conveying your appreciation to your hostess/companions. Perhaps Costa et al could start providing the necessary equipment.

Well said, Malcolm. There is an art in pouring tea from a cup into the saucer and it requires practice in order to avoid the tea going all over the place but not in the saucer. To start with the spoon needs to be placed in the cup. The cup should be positioned over the edge of the saucer [or even beyond the edge] and gently tilted. Since a cup does not have a spout, the tea will run down the side of the cup and, if the cup is positioned correctly, the tea will fall into the bowl of the saucer. At this point the cloth cap can be deployed to waft cooler air across the saucer, and it is also acceptable to blow onto the saucer if the tea is too hot. Then, holding the teacup in one hand, the saucer can be lifted by the other hand to the lips so that ritual slurping can commence. Good hand-eye coordination is required at this point to ensure that both the saucer and the teacup remain horizontal while the saucer is drained and the cup held steady; this is why it is best not to overfill the saucer. After a few sips, the cooler tea in the saucer can now be reintroduced to the hot tea in the cup, the saucer put back on the table, the cup placed on the saucer, the spoon used to stir the tea in the cup, and then placed in the saucer. Unless the tea in the cup is still too hot, all further consumption should be from the cup, not the saucer, and biscuit dunking is now permitted. When the cup is empty it is polite to smack the lips no more than twice and say a few words of appreciation in the appropriate dialect. Don’t try this in Betty’s or Harriet’s Tea rooms – at entry level it is best to choose a place with vinyl table covers or even bare Formica – the bus station cafe is a recommended establishment. Don’t forget that your whippet might like to have a small slurp from the saucer as well but paws should be kept off the table at all times. Before rising from the table replace the cloth cap on the back or side of the head according to local traditions.

When considering the possibility of using fruit & veg as drinking vessels, perhaps we should consider the options in general use.

Plastic and coated paper cups should be phased out because in environmental terms, they costa lot.

Traditional china teacups with a narrow base are an example of styling taking priority over practicality. They lack stability and good containment of their contents, hence the need for saucers to contain and protect surfaces from spillages. They are also fragile and easily stained by tea.

From an engineering point of view, a mug makes more sense. Mugs are widely available in a range of sizes suitable for use throughout the day. A wide variety of designs are available and on less formal occasions, use of non-matching designs is perfectly acceptable. Sets of mugs, attractively decorated china mugs and even ones with saucers are readily available.

If fruit & veg are to have a role for beverages, some thought needs to go into suitability for safe containment of hot beverages, and how to overcome the poor stability issue. Maybe the saucer industry could be revitalised by a growing demand for earthenware and china saucers adapted to hold avocados and contain spillages.