29 Unorthodox Coffee Beverage Innovations That Will Blow Your Mind
Weird coffee drinks certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (Ha! Get it?).
However, they’re worth checking out if only for the humour or shock value. Seriously, who thinks these things up? And maybe one day you’ll be hanging out at home, bored. And you’ll realize you have all of the ingredients you need to make one of these crazy, caffeinated concoctions – and you’ll just go for it!
Or maybe you’ll invent your own – and become famous for it. It could happen. For now, sit back, buckle up – and come on a tour of 29 of the most wackadoodle coffee drinks imaginable.
1. Ride the Unicorn
If a Unicorn Latte – a spectacularly colourful drink – doesn’t tickle your soul, you might be dead inside.
Strangely, there isn’t actually any coffee in this latte – apparently it is made from coconut milk with ginger, honey, lemon, and blue-green algae.
Magical unicorn lore has it that it was born at The End Brooklyn Café’s Plant Alchemy Bar, which looks like it’s a beverage bar for eccentric, healthy types.
This is one of those beverages that is both Instagram-worthy and good for you.
You haven’t lived until you’ve ridden the Unicorn by drinking this bluey-green, creamy beverage. (Although we vote they add a shot of espresso to it).
2. Slip Sliding Away (on A Rainbow)
Sometimes you just need to throw yourself onto a rainbow. This rainbow latte, which comes courtesy of the Good Sort Café in New York, is a celebration of springtime – and it will make you want to dance in a field of flowers.
Each shade comes from magical combinations of blue algae, beetroot, turmeric, coconut sugar, black pepper, vanilla bean and agave – along with espresso and three types of milk: almond, coconut and oat.
This drink tastes like happiness and espresso (which is also happiness).
3. Make It a Strawberry Summer
While you can drink a strawberry latte hot or cold, there is something about the surprise of the strawberry taste in a hot beverage. Lots of recipes call for strawberry syrup for this drink, but you could also use strawberry ice cream or blend up some fresh strawberries, too.
If you’re a purist – and who isn’t? – you’ll want real strawberries in your drink. So wait until they start showing up in gardens, grocery stores and farmers markets if you are going to try this berry, berry good latte.
4. Chasing the Green Monster
Seriously, there are places in the world that are serving lattes in avocados. Apparently the Avolatte is a thing. People are buying them. Now, there is still some discussion on whether there should be avocado in the latte or if it’s just served in a scooped-out avocado shell.
Whatever your decision, it seems like chasing the green monster is the moment when hipsters collectively jumped the shark. Although, perhaps it’s delicious and there’s no shark in sight.
5. Going Goth
There are definitely people out there who are the absolute opposite of sunshine and rainbows – and the Goth latte has them covered.
It hasn’t really caught on anywhere except a few places in Australia, the UK and, of course, Instagram. It’s apparently made by adding active charcoal to a regular latte.
If this intrigues you, it might be good to know that active charcoal tastes terrible – like soggy cement. Except to show off on social media, the value of this drink has yet to be determined.
6. A Heart That’s Black as Night
For those who are even darker than Goth – you know, the people of the night – this matte black latte should be the beverage of choice.
Invented in New York City’s Round K coffee shop – this latte might look nasty, but in fact a lot of thought appears to have gone into it. It’s made from cacao powder, almond milk and espresso. And organic coconut ash is where the blacker-than-night colour comes from.
Vegans can do a happy dance since it’s dairy free – but if you drink this, you should definitely carry a toothbrush.
7. There’s a Fungus Among Us
Believe it or not, mushroom coffee is growing in popularity.
According to some reliable sources, mushroom coffee has many health benefits and, while it can seem weird at first, once you get past the idea that you’re drinking mushrooms – it’s pretty good.
Mushroom coffee (which, for the most part, is mushrooms ground into a powder and mixed with ground coffee – and no, it’s not the magic kind of mushrooms) has a high level of antioxidants and other elements that can enhance focus and thinking.
They also work for lowering anxiety (still, not those kind of mushrooms, folks).
Interested in brewing a mushroom+cappuccino drink? Here’s how to make a chagaccino!
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8. Chai, Chai, Chai!
Sometimes you need a lift – and the Chai Turmeric Latte does just that.
It might not be the most dramatic non-traditional coffee beverage on our list, but it is pretty with a nice yellow-orange hue. It’s also a very delicious choice. And, if you have a cold or the flu – it will make you feel better – just like a hug from your mom. It includes turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla.
In fact, healthy coffee like this is a thing. A real thing and people are finding all sorts of ways to create coffee that helps, heals and nourishes.
This is another drink that we think should include an espresso shot – but we’re biased.
9. Take the Metro!
Espresso and sparkling water doesn’t exactly sound like the best drink combination in the world, but add some vanilla and the Metro becomes a bright and refreshing drink.
It looks a bit muddy, but that’s okay – a take on the Americano (sort of), the Metro is a trip into coffee nirvana that you might want to take.
10. One Night in Bangkok
Looking like someone stole a splash of the tranquil, azure sea, this drink really is right out of the blue. The Butterfly Pea Latte is a thing of beauty. It uses butterfly pea liquid with milk – and it is as tasty as it is pretty.
There isn’t any coffee in this drink – which is a fluttering shame. The rich brown syrup of a great espresso at the bottom of the glass would make this even prettier.
11. It’s a Bonfire Kind of Night
The End Café in Brooklyn (doesn’t it seem like all the cool coffee shops are in Brooklyn?) is a different kind of place, and it’s bonfire cider latte (an Ayurvedic blend of carrot, apple, cayenne, turmeric ginger, and raw honey) is the bees knees.
According to the café’s owners, their healing lattes bridge the gap between juice and coffee – what more could you want?
12. Red, Red…Velvet?
Yep. It’s not just for cakes, cupcakes or cheesecake anymore. Red Velvet lattes bring some soft, cushy comfort to your day.
It’s really just a latte with vanilla extract, semi-sweet chocolate chips and some red food colouring dripped into it – but with this drink, can’t you just imagine yourself draped in red velvet, swishing down a staircase a la Scarlett O’Hara?
13. La Crème de La Crop
July 27 is National Crème Brule Day in the US. There really is a holiday for everything. However, a Crème Brule Cappuccino could be a nice touch.
Sophisticated, unusual – and filled with caramel sauce and caramelized sugar – it’s freakin’ delicious! Unless you have a Crème Brule blowtorch, this can be a bit of a pain to make. If you EVER see it on a menu – order, for crème’s sake – ORDER IT!
14. Pump(kin) It Up
You had to know it would turn to beer or other ‘adult’ bevvies at some point. This seasonal beer might be a little different (and you wouldn’t catch us anywhere near a pumpkin spice latte), but if there’s alcohol in it, it’s worth a shot… or a pint.
This is a stout made with dark roasted malts and cold pressed coffee beans. They also added vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the rich pumpkin. The cold press beans add a nuanced and yet distinct coffee flavour to the brew, creating a unique drink that is worth a try.
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15. Jack It Up
It ain’t their first rodeo, that’s for certain. The smart folk at Jack Daniels are always thinking up ways to make our lives better.
This time, they decided to take their authentic JD Tennessee Whiskey and pair it with 100% Arabica gourmet coffee to create a medium roast that will knock your (cowboy) socks off. Hallelujah – there is a God!
If you are looking for that rich Jack Daniels taste first thing in the morning – without actually having booze in your beverage – this is the coffee for you.
16. I Can See Clearly Now
The big draw to this clear coffee (like water!) is that it won’t stain your teeth – and that it has the equivalent of a double shot of espresso.
Made with Arabica beans and some sort of magic, it has a special taste and aroma – described by some as a mix of coffee-flavoured water and coffee dregs, and by others as delicious (the world is a wonderful mix of tastes)!
It’s not clear what the purpose of this drink is, but hey, it’s caffeinated.
17. When Life Gives You Lemons…
Make coffee! Adding some lemonade (and maybe a splash of sparkling water) is a growing trend and one that looks pretty delish. It’s kind of like the coffee drinker’s Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade).
It also could be good with a shot of Kahlua, vodka, or both. Toss in a sprig of mint and slice of lemon (with or without the booze) and you have yourself a pretty little cold beverage.
18. Bag that Coffee
Javazen puts coffee in what would normally be called a “teabag”. Genius! It had to happen – after all, there is wine in a box, yoghurt in a travel pouch and potato chips in a can.
Coffee in a (tea) bag is a convenient thing of beauty and should make travellers everywhere who are sick of crappy hotel room coffee do a happy dance. They also have a range of loose coffee blends with rooibos, vanilla and superfoods.
19. It’s Not Unusual…
Um, yes it is. So much so that a can of Pepsi Kona (yep, Pepsi with Hawaii’s Kona coffee) might just be a collector’s item these days.
Launched in the late ‘90s, this product had a lot of hype. Back in the day, it was launched with much acclaim by Tom Jones, of all people.
Finding one of these might be a bit difficult, but if you do – an unopened plastic bottle of it is up for $999 on eBay.
20. Coke-ing Up
In 2017, Coca Cola launched a new limited edition coffee/coke beverage – Coca Cola Plus Coffee No Sugar. It is only available in Australia and Japan though – guess the Aussies and Japanese needed a new way to get that caffeine in.
Reviews are mixed for the beverage which uses “a dash of real coffee from Brazil” – some are saying it’s great, with others calling it “just plain weird”.
Well, it doesn’t really have rum in it (although that would be delicious). KonaRed is a convenient cold brew in a bottle that you can buy at Costco. It has a few flavours to choose from: Original, Hawaiian Vanilla, Espresso, and Kauai Caramel.
This might not be too crazy, wacky or wild – but cold coffee in a to-go bottle is a ‘new normal’ that is still kind of surprising.
22. Like Butta!
The whole Bulletproof butter in your coffee craze is still going strong and the good folks at Blue Northern have bottled up butter coffee in three tasty flavours – Original, Chai and Mocha.
Butter coffee-to-go with a balanced hint of chai could be the new school drop off, work commute or just driving around the ‘hood treat. Here’s where you can find your favourite bulletproof coffee recipe.
23. When You Truly Sparkle
A simple way to show off your charm on those days when life is hard – a sparkling espresso is easy to make and refreshing to drink. It can be made as quick as you can pull a shot of espresso and looks like you have a professional mixologist on call.
All you need is fresh mint, sparkling water, simple syrup (if you like it sweet), some ice cubes and espresso – and BAM! You’re sparkling, darling.
24. The Salt of the Earth
Sea salt is one of Mother Nature’s gifts to humans. And you can get really gourmet and purchase hand-gathered sea salt from some remote bay in an exotic ocean if you want to coffee-snob it over your guests when you serve this.
For such a complex flavour profile, it’s pretty easy: just cold brewed coffee, some whipped cream and little chunks of sea salt on top.
25. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore
The spiced rose latte might look delicate and sophisticated (and it is), but making it is not for sissies. You need a light hand, a lot of ingredients and some patience to make this bouquet of coffee-based flavours.
You need milk, cardamom pods, rose water, red/pink food colouring or beet powder, espresso, dried rose petals, saffron and fresh thyme. Really, it might be easier to call the florist.
26. It Might Be A Little Cheesy
Little lumps of cheese in coffee is actually a thing. Called kaffeost – this is a Swedish tradition of dipping cheese into coffee or putting little pieces of cheese in a cup and pouring coffee over it.
The Swiss use a specific cheese known as Leipäjuusto. Made from the first milk of reindeer, cows or goats – it can be found in northern Sweden and Finland.
27. Put The Lime In The…
Coffee! Put the lime in the coffee! Typically, lime is used in a gin and tonic or in a Mexican beer … but here we go putting it in coffee! This might sound a bit weird, but it is scrumptious.
You just put two pieces of lime in the bottom of your espresso cup and pour the espresso over – and you have a Guillermo coffee. You can add milk, sugar – or have it straight up with the lime. It’s for those days when your mother-in-law is there and she’ll judge you if you have a G&T at 8 am.
28. Smack The Smurf
It’s blue, it’s vegan, and it’s a secret. A funky, fun and creative vegan coffee bar – Matcha Mylkbar – in Australia has come up with a Smurf Latte that is a little scary and a little sweet. It’s not on their menu so you have to whisper your order to the barista.
This crazy blue coffee contains lemon, coconut milk, ginger agave, and E3 live blue algae powder. With this Instagram star, you can take a step into Smurf-dom and sip blue to your heart’s content.
29. A Coffee Date … With (Carda)Mom?
For those times when your hipster friends and your foodie friends are together, this complicated, cardamom-date coffee will appeal to both groups.
It requires cold brew, sparkling water and cardamom-date syrup (which is made by putting dates, date sugar, cane sugar and cardamom pods in a saucepan and stirring for 20 minutes).
Once you have that done, it’s a simple process of putting the cardamom-date syrup with the cold brew, pouring over ice and topping with sparkling water. Your trendy pals will be so busy appreciating the delicate yet hearty taste, they might even forget to Instagram the experience.
The Last Sip
We hope you enjoyed this list of weird coffee drinks – and that you might try one or two (or 29!) of them soon.
If you had some fun here today – if we inspired you, made you laugh or made you think – please share it with your weird coffee-loving friends or tell us what about your craziest coffee drink in the comments.