Avocado. The savory non-fruit loved by pretty much everybody in the world.
While traveling in the tropical southern region of Myanmar we got a random tip from another traveler to try the avocado coffee at the local coffee shop we’d been frequenting. The menu was about 95% in Burmese, so we’d been ordering what we could.
We’re adventurous, or at least we’d like to think we are, and somehow we found ourselves being a little taken aback by the words avocado and coffee used together to describe one drink. Silly, because both of us love both coffee and avocado.
Let me just tell you, avocado coffee is the best coffee drink ever created. And if you’re about to argue and say, “No it’s not, the Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks is the be-“
Please. Please just don’t, for everyone’s sake.
But before we get into why this drink is so delicious, let’s look at what that fleshy green fruit is doing anywhere near a cup of coffee anyway.
Avocado: A Victim of Ethnocentrism
If you like Southeast Asian food or have traveled to the region, you’ve probably come across avocado smoothies. In the US, we don’t usually treat avocado as a fruit, and stick it in dishes where its savory taste acts as a complement to other things. Like fajitas or zesty breakfast omelettes.
In Southeast Asia, avocados are treated as more of a fruit and frequently consumed as creamy smoothies, lightly sweetened with condensed milk.
Frankly I wish both of our cultures did more of a crossover with the fruit. Avocado would be a perfect complement to hot, chili-spiced dishes that dominate Southeast Asian cuisines (and frankly, burn my tender American mouth), while also being a good addition to fruity smoothies and creamy desserts that Westerners love.
Cultural understanding and unity is at stake.
And then there’s the Paleo crowd (*eyeroll*). If you’re unaware, the Paleo diet emphasizes protein and fats, and so you see a lot of paleo recipes with traditionally fatty additives like butter, but also with avocado. There was a craze within the past few years that was popular with the paleo crowd because of its use of butter in a nonconventional way: in your coffee. It was called “Bulletproof Coffee” because much of the craze originated from the Bulletproof Exec blog.
In order to get the oh so important dose of dietary fats, morning coffee was blended together with whole fat butter and sometimes coconut oil for a supposedly energizing, paleo friendly, fat-burning morning coffee drink. The nutritional and caloric (no kidding) content were enough that the exec recommended just drinking a cup of it as your breakfast.
When I worked in an office, I had a hard time with breakfast. (First world problems, I know.) Most weekday mornings I would forget to eat, but I never forget my cup of productivity juice. So I tried the Bulletproof Coffee craze. In my experience it is not more energizing and leaves me both starving and with heartburn, but also with a case of oily, moisturized lips.
The Paleo crowd is really missing a huge opportunity here to have an energizing breakfast smoothie that won’t give them heartburn, all because we are too set in our ways… culturally.
What is Avocado Coffee?
The drink originated in Indonesia, where it is a common street snack. It’s called Es Alpukat (gonna use my detective work here and say that can be directly translated to Ice Avocado) and it is a mixture of espresso, milk, syrup and of course avocado served over ice. Adaptations of the dish frequently blend all ingredients into a smoothie.
This drink works so well because avocado and espresso have similar nutty flavor profiles. The creaminess of the avocado is lightened with the milk, so it’s not too thick, and the whole concoction is lightly sweetened with syrup (or condensed milk) so it smoothly eliminates the bitterness of the espresso. The combination is a flavorful, full bodied drink that is equally creamy and refreshing, and let me reiterate, the best coffee drink ever created.
Here’s an explanation and Indonesian Style recipe.
And a recipe for the smoothie version from Epicurious here.
Now, avocado lovers, coffee addicts and Paleo obsessees, unite! Make yourself an Avocado Coffee!