Introducing The “Caribe”


While on a recent trip to Woodstock, NY, I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Sunfrost Farms, a greenhouse/market/café hybrid managed by Dr. Know of ‘70s hardcore punk band Bad Brains, which is irrelevant to the story but slightly interesting enough for inclusion here. The fish tacos were excellent and there was an adorable child selling lemonade along with the most superb collection of Anne Klein shift dresses and silk blouses at a yard sale 20 feet away, but I didn’t let either distract me from staying put at our garden table and ordering what was essentially the only reason I made the 2.5 hour trip out of the city that weekend: The Caribe.

“It’s life-changing,” said Friend, who’d had one a few weeks prior and wouldn’t shut up about it. “It’s, like, a banana blended with coffee and some other stuff that I don’t even know. I can’t stop thinking about it! LET’S BUY THAT PLACE ON THE CORNER AND OPEN A CARIBE SHOP—WE’LL MAKE SO MUCH MONEY.”

Half-and-half, maple syrup, and ice were the other three ingredients, and it was delicious indeed. The banana-coffee combo had me skeptical at first, but then I realized that it’s also what I have for breakfast several days a week—depending on the ripeness of Starbucks’ banana basket—just mixed prior to consumption. Think of the bananas as a natural sweetener for the coffee, substituting for the sugar substitutes.

I’d always felt an undeniable kinship to the Bluth family, and the Caribe Corner could very well be my frozen banana stand. Just rather than a morning treat on par with something from Dunkin's frozen beverage menu, I wanted a drink with substance—caffeine and vitamins, omegas, etc. I began making my own version of a Caribe in my slightly nerdy but convenient NutriBullet:

-sliced frozen bananas (Anyone who’s used a NutriBullet knows that there’s no room for filler ingredients like ice under that MAX capacity line.)

-a handful of raw spinach (I thought that Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food was patronizing, and as a former child myself, I found the idea of having to “hide” vegetables a bit insulting. Until I started doing it to my own food. You can put spinach in burgers, tacos, cinnamon rolls, sandwiched between s’mores, and in your toothpaste and not taste it.)

-a shot of coffee concentrate (I like Cool Brew’s Vanilla flavor, which comes in a convenient plastic container that allows you to measure out one serving per pour.)

-a spoonful of cacao powder (The chocolate plays off the coffee flavor, making the whole thing taste like an adult chocolate milkshake. Full disclosure: I’m just using Hershey’s basic cocoa powder, which doesn’t have all the same brain-boosting ingredients as raw cacao, but the spinach…)

-some sort of milk—hemp, quinoa, cow, soy, goat—pick your non-poison. I’m partial to unsweetened versions of the first two.

The recipe isn’t an exact science, I just eyeball everything into the cup of my dorky infomercial blender and cover with a pour of milk so that it blends into something liquid-y and slurp-able. You could add things like blueberries, or use fresh bananas and frozen cubes of strong coffee; you could lose the cacao if chocolate’s not your thing. Just don’t ask the barista to put a grande iced coffee into a blender with one of the basket bananas "like a Frappuccino, you know?"—there’ll be a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth before she ultimately tells you “no.” Then she’ll spell your name wrong on your cup just to spite you. Until the Caribe Corner comes to fruition, this is a fully DIY operation.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • kt mo

    If we're talking about ways to get your coffee and breakfast into your mouth in one step, I pour coffee over oatmeal.

    Were we not talking about that?

    • ITG Annie

      Works for me!

    • softy

      i must know more.

    • Elizabeth

      Espresso or regular coffee??

  • Haiku Jew

    The Caribe Corner
    I'd be first in line, Annie
    Starbucks would be stunned!

    • ITG Annie

      Thank you!! I'd write your order in the form on a haiku on the cup.

      • Haiku Jew

        Haiku on the cup
        that's one creative concept
        maybe a biz whiz?!

  • Cinamaron

    I would have this for breakfast everyday if it weren't for the fact that I get up super early and don't want to wake up my boyfriend at 5 am with the blender noises :/

  • Colleen

    I didn't know that this was a thing that other people did. I've been making spinach/banana/coffee smoothies all summer! Totally made all my bruises go away.

  • M

    At the cafe where I worked as a teenager on the coast of BC canada we had a drink called "Funky Monkey" which was a blended banana, milk, chocolate and espresso drink. It was dang gooood.

    • A

      Im from Vancouver where did you work? I'm trying to remember which cafe this is at

  • kathS

    Annie, this drink is life changing. Had one this morning, because, Monday. I make a similar version sometimes, I mostly use avocado instead of banana for less sugar + better consistency, or a combo of avo and banana. Also, when I was in NYC I had something similar at Juice Press - it was called the Harvey Wallbanger.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    Just remember "The money is in the banana stand"!

  • dietcokehead

    The drink certainly sounds disgusting, but the Bad Brains connection has me intrigued, so good call, A!

  • Amelia Molly

    There is always money in the Caribe Corner.

  • starryhye

    I like bananas. I like coffee. Hmmm. Now I just need to locate my blender

  • Aubrey Green

    I use banana, almond butter, chia seeds/flax/etc, almond milk (the dark chocolate one) and the Israeli instant coffee that I'm obsessed with.

  • Cat

    ...Quinoa milk? Oh lord.

    • ITG Annie

      Wait, we're milk shaming now? I just grab for anything that's not dairy, soy or sweetened.

      • Kaitlin Brunsden

        I use almond milk in my morning (read: afternoon) smoothies. They are pretty similar to this except I've never incorporated caffeine. New challenge. And the frozen banana is a life saver.

  • Emma and Emily

    This sounds like an absolute dream! I think I'll be making this this afternoon after my work out. I just bought myself the cheaper version of the Nutribullet, so this will be perfect!

  • Aubrey Green - here's a link, you can also buy it in Kosher Markets - I have yet to find it in Ralph and other mainstream stores. It's a tad sweeter/kind of flavored than normal coffee, so if you're not into that you won't like it. They also have a more 'normal' coffee one, that comes in a class bottle with a brown label.

  • Mariam

    Tried it-loved it.

  • Jer

    2 bananas, 1 avocado, agave syrup, raw cocoa powder, freeze-dried instant coffee, a hint of cinnamon, almond or vanilla flavored soy milk and ice, spinach optional: my way to go! I have been huge on smoothies lately and it has cut down all sugar cravings and boosted my energy. I am addicted.

  • The Supper Model

    I am loving this Annie- Friday morning breakfast tomorrow may make me a convert and all for a Caribe Corner Truck to come to NYC?! Anyone Anyone??

  • anita rivas

    Loved this I want to try and make one.

  • aliwos

    what a great idea! can't believe i've never thought to make this. i might go crazyyyy and throw some oats in there as well. #yolo

  • aliwos

    p.s. why is the nutribullet dorky? that's like my #1 kitchen appliance, for life. it works SO well and is so much cheaper (and easier to clean) than a vitamix. i recently splurged and got the new, allegedly fancier version for a gift and turns out it isn't really any different. for those with the option, get it at bed bad and beyond with a 20% coupon and it's just $80... holds up to repeated wear and tear!

  • Lauren

    Add milk, agave or maple syrup or even just sugar. I do it all the time:)

  • Chloe

    Pretty stoked to see Bad Brains being mentioned on a beauty blog.