Has science gone TOO far?  

By Tim Nelson
June 07, 2018
Harald Walker / EyeEm/Getty Images

Broccoli: the stuff of childhood nightmares, a vegetable so vile that even George H.W. Bush barred the scary green stalks from Air Force One. Now, some mad Australian scientists have found a devious way to hide the food many of us love to hate in a drink we can’t live without.

This week, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Hort Innovation have devised a method for grinding up broccoli deemed too ugly for commercial sale into a powder that can be smuggled into coffee. Two tablespoons of the stuff is equal to one serving of the cabbage variant, offering all of the attendant nutritional benefits that provides.

So far, one Melbourne area cafe is already on board with broccoli-infused lattes, a take on coffee that only the mother of a picky eater could love. Commonfolk Coffee Company adds some broccoli powder after pulling an espresso shot, and again after steaming the milk. According to Business Insider Australia, it’s debuted to “mixed” reviews at their Mornington shop so far.

While this method of broccoli smuggling seems like a concerted effort to torture or troll Australians, its inspirations are pretty benevolent and eco-friendly. The use of broccoli that’s otherwise unfit for sale solely because of aesthetic concerns could helps cut down on food waste. And at a time when a CSIRO survey showed that 80 percent of Aussies don’t get enough fruits and vegetables, it could be a subtle, sneaky way to slip some vitamin C, K, A, and B6 back into the national diet.

‘“Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day,” said Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd. “Options such as broccoli powder will help address this.”

It’s still in something of a testing phase now, but CSIRO and Hort are already working with growers to figure out how they can use the powdering process to get more of their less-than-beautiful produce to market. In addition to coffee, there’s a good chance such a powder could find its way into smoothies and baked goods, meaning that even the coffee averse aren’t safe from the obligation to eat powdered broccoli.

For now, there’s hope that this outbreak of disguised broccoli can be quarantined and contained in Australia before crossing the pacific and winding up on American shores. But consider this fair warning in the event that a future latte brings up suppressed childhood memories of choking down your vegetables.