Yesterday, the image of a “carrot-cino”—yes, that is in fact a tiny coffee drink served inside a hollowed out carrot—circulated, prompting the internet’s understandable response of “WHY?” The drink echoed the recent avocado latte frenzy, which sent most of us into a facepalm so swiftly it may have hurt a bit. Locals Corner, the cafe in Australia responsible for the carrot coffee, plays with serving coffee in other produce as well, recently being a hollow green apple on a pineapple slice coaster. Indeed, my first reaction to seeing the carrot-cino was less than enthusiastic to say the least. But then I got a little hopeful. If the hulled carrot was eaten or composted after being used as a vessel, no garbage was produced.
Unlike ceramic coffee cups, which need to be washed with soap and water, and to-go cups, which at best are maybe recycled (and at worst remain in a landfill for eternity), if you’re not counting the waste generated in milk, coffee, and produce production, using a carrot or apple as a coffee cup is a pretty ecological idea.
Of course, produce lattes are more likely intended to be served to customers planning to sit down to Instagram and then drink their coffee than to replace plastic, paper, and styrofoam to-go cups. Even though some cafes offer a nominal discount for using a personal cup, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually seen someone hand over their thermos to a barista on a weekday morning. But considering how often I see someone walk out of a Starbucks with the latest pastel drink, it’s clear people love a good food trend, taste and practicality be damned. Could disguising environmentally-friendly cups as viral and trendy be the secret to getting people to change their ways?
OK, I’m sure eliminating waste was not on the cafe’s mind when they poured coffee into a carrot. And deep down, I know it’s a pipe dream to think there’s a chance that produce lattes could help the environment, but with our current global climate, (and I mean that both in terms of prevailing public attitude and environmental conditions) a little hope is a nice thing to have.