The world simply can’t get enough hero franchises and this year is set to mark the rise of the super-coffee.
The prophets have spoken, the forecast instruments have been set: Pinterest, having noted a 218 per cent surge in the number of super-coffee recipes “pinned” on its lifestyle site, included the term in its top 100 trends for 2018, as amateur baristas take their turn creating healthier, hotter, more deliciously caffeine fixes for us to swallow. Coconut oil and whey protein as well as turmeric, cinnamon, nut mylk and ginger are all hot ingredients right now.
When the internet demands, business follows.
The city’s bean-counters have long been locked in an arms race to make their refreshments leaner, cleaner, and 2018-er. In Seven Dials, Timberyard sell “a vast amount of cold brew coffee which we let infuse for 14 hours in cold filtered water, filtered in-house using reverse osmosis, so it’s the cleanest and most refreshing coffee drink available.”
Of course, you can’t delve too far into the murky world of super-coffees without coming across Bulletproof coffee, the liquid super-food that styles itself as a replacement for breakfast, packing in mystical-sounding ingredients such as “brain octane oil” (a coconut oil distillate) and “grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee” for “the creamiest, most delicious cup of coffee you’ve ever had”. David Beckham and Ed Sheeran are apparently signed up.
The company claims it’s packed with essential nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium and manganese, which give its disciples a sharper brain, a happier outlook and better physical performance. It’s sold at Crussh and Black Sheep Coffee, which does a version with coconut oil and water instead of butter.
Others are less convinced. Jane Ogden, professor of health psychology at the University of Surrey, says there is no scientific evidence that Bulletproof can allow people to eat more fats.
If you’re in the market for something experimental, Men’s Health has reported that ultra-athletes are adding raw egg to their coffee for an extra workout boost. “I’ve used egg coffee a few times before, doing some fasted cardio in the morning,” Marc Bubbs, director of nutrition for the Canadian men’s national basketball team told the magazine. “It was a nice boost, similar to Bulletproof coffee, but with the nutrient-dense bonus of the yolk, compared to simply fatty acids.”
Colour is king. Tasting nice or being good for you simply won’t suffice for the image-conscious modern latte, which must compete feverishly with the most Instagrammable options on social media.
At members’ club The Ned’s Malibu Kitchen in the City, they offer a traffic light trio of red (beetroot), green (matcha) and yellow (turmeric) of immunity boosting perk-me-ups. Turmeric, for example, is good for the digestive system.
Palm Valuts in Hackney, meanwhile, has a velvet latte, an earthy combination of juiced beetroot and steamed milk which has high-blood-pressure-busting nitrate content.
For early adopters looking to steal a march on the next big hue though, blue is the colour. E3 blue algae gives drinks an icy-blue tint and packs a surprisingly high dose of protein. Notting Hill café Farm Girl stocks a blue matcha latte, while Planet Organic supermarket boasts a “Smurf latte”, which is nutty, blue-hued and protein-rich, stuffed with brown rice milk and blue-green algae.
Also in Notting Hill, Farmacy’s take is a smooth blend of reishi and chaga fungi, dragon herb he sho wu, maca and vanilla protein powders, dates, almonds and coconut milk, which they say is good for the nervous system.
“Adaptogens are natural substances that work with a person’s body to help them adapt,” says Camilla Fayed, founder of Farmacy. “They have been increasing in popularity for some time due to their natural healing benefits, and are most notably used to help relieve stress. They have also been shown to help increase physical endurance, mental focus and boost the immune system — thus making the Adaptogenic latte the perfect morning or afternoon pick-me-up.”
The Rude Health Café in Fulham also offers a charcoal latte, reputed to tap into charcoal’s anti-inflammatory effects.
If all that virtue signalling has you feeling like you need something stronger, fear not. New Soho pop-up bar Kultured boasts a range of feelgood, fermented, probiotic-laden refreshments, including a “Turbo gin and tonic”: gin, espresso and black-pepper tonic. Someone had to save the day.