Broccoli Coffee Is Here

iStock
iStock

First there were Starbucks’s unicorn frappuccinos. Then there were bone broth lattes. Could broccoli coffee be the next brewing trend?

Australia’s main scientific research agency, CSIRO, thinks it's possible. As reported by Mashable, the organization worked with research and development corporation Hort Innovation to create a nutrient-rich broccoli powder that can be added to recipes for an extra dose of protein and fiber.

Considering that two spoonfuls are equal to one serving of vegetables, the foodstuff could be beneficial to children—and adults—who recoil at the sight of leafy greens. It still tastes like broccoli, but the flavor can be masked by adding it to other foods and drinks, including coffee.

Commonfolk Coffee, a cafe in Mornington, Australia, gave it a go and whipped up a “broccolatte” for brave customers to sample. The beverage was met with some trepidation, with one customer telling local TV station 9 News, “It’s freaky. It shouldn’t be green,” and another describing it as “green milky mush.” Another said she was happy to be making her morning coffee more nutritious.

For those who think greens and caffeine simply don’t mix, CSIRO has a few other suggestions. Instead, try adding the broccoli powder to fruit-based smoothies, soups, and veggie dips (any of these recipes will do the trick). Researchers even used it to create a cheese puff snack that was apparently popular with kids.

The powder is good for you, and it’s also good for farmers, who now have a way to use up unshapely broccoli considered too ugly to sell. The heads of broccoli are dried out and crushed into a powder while retaining the taste, color, and nutrients of the vegetable. This product is part of a larger project to cut down on food waste by creating new products from unwanted produce.

Check out footage of Commonfolk's broccolatte from 9 News below.

[h/t Mashable]

George Mason University Becomes First College to Include Food Delivery Robots in Its Meal Plan

Starship Technologies, Sodexo
Starship Technologies, Sodexo

Students at George Mason University will now be able to buy fuel for their study sessions without trekking to the dining hall. As of Tuesday, January 22, the college is offering a robot food delivery service on its Fairfax, Virginia campus.

The new system, a collaboration between Sodexo and Starship Technologies, is the first of its kind to be integrated into a college meal plan. To use it, students must first download the Starship Deliveries app for Android or iOS, and from there they will be able to order food and drinks from a handful of locations, including Blaze Pizza, Starbucks, Dunkin', and the on-campus grocery store. Deliveries cost $1.99 per trip, and usually take about 15 minutes to complete.

The service is made possible by the school's fleet of more than 25 delivery robots. Reaching about knee-height, the boxy vehicles can hold 20 pounds each, or roughly three shopping bags of food. They navigate the campus autonomously, updating users on the journey in real-time via an interactive map in the Starship app, and when they arrive, users can unlock the hatch from their phones.

Food delivery robot outdoors.
Starship Technologies, Sodexo

"With the hectic schedules students lead, there is a convenience for students to have their food, groceries, and packages delivered," Ryan Tuohy, SVP of business development at Starship Technologies, said in statement. "Our goal is to make life a little bit easier for students, whether that means skipping the line, eating lunch on the lawn rather than in the cafe, or finding the time to eat better when studying for exams."

George Mason University is the latest place to experiment with delivering food via robot. Domino's rolled out similar autonomous vehicles in New Zealand in 2016, and 2017, the robotics company ZMP and the food delivery service Ride On Express debuted sushi delivery robots in Japan.

The $13,000 Epiphany That Made Orville Redenbacher a National Popcorn King

iStock.com/NoDerog
iStock.com/NoDerog

Happy National Popcorn Day! While you’re no doubt celebrating with a bowl of freshly popped, liberally buttered popcorn, here’s something else to digest: Orville Redenbacher originally called his product Red-Bow.

In 1951, Redenbacher and his partner, a fellow Purdue grad named Charlie Bowman, purchased the George F. Chester and Son seed corn plant in Boone Township, Indiana. Though Redenbacher’s background was in agronomy and plant genetics, he had dabbled in popcorn, and was friendly with the Chester family.

Eventually, Carl Hartman was brought in to experiment. In 1969, when the trio had developed a seed they felt really confident in, they went to market. They dubbed the product “Red-Bow,” a nod to “Redenbacher” and “Bowman.”

The product was a hit regionally, but by 1970, Bowman and Redenbacher were ready for a national audience and hired a Chicago advertising agency to advise them on branding strategy. At their first meeting, Redenbacher talked about popcorn for three hours. “Come back next week and we’ll have something for you,” he was told afterward.

The following week, he turned to the agency and was told that “Orville Redenbacher’s” was the perfect name for the fledgling popcorn brand. “Golly, no,” he said. “Redenbacher is such a ... funny name.” That was the point, they told him, and they must have made a convincing case for it, because Orville Redenbacher is the brand we know today—and the man himself is still a well-known spokesman more than 20 years after his death.

Still, Redenbacher wasn’t sure that the $13,000 fee the agency had charged was money well spent. “I drove back to Indiana wryly thinking we had paid $13,000 for someone to come up with the same name my mother had come up with when I was born,” Redenbacher later wrote.

Hungry for more Redenbacher? Take a look at the inventor at work in the vintage commercial below.

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