May 30, 2016

Cafe Culture: The Rise of Smashed Avocado Toast


Smashed, squashed, mashed, sliced, crushed – whichever way you eat it, it’s delicious. Avocado on toast now graces the menus of specialty coffee shops around the world. But where has this satisfying yet simple dish come from? And what makes it so appealing to the coffee-loving crowds?

Read on as we explore what it is that makes this green superfood so great, which coffees you should pair it with, and how to make a sumptuous avocado on toast at home.

SEE ALSO: Interview with the Experts: What’s the Best Coffee-Food Combination?

avocado slices on toast

Sliced on toast with a dash of lemon. Credit: Brain Yap                 

The Rise and Fall of Avocados

Avocados really are the star of this recipe. This delicious green fruit went out of fashion in the 1980s, when the low fat diet was introduced. It quickly became labelled a “fatty food”, leaving it taboo among those conscious about their weight.

Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. We now know that an avocado contains monounsaturated fat – a “good” fat which can help to reduce high cholesterol. Vitamins A, C, E and K are also present, as are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In other words, it’s both delicious and great for your health.

By the early 21st Century, the world had embraced the health benefits of the avocado and it became a must-have fruit for our salad bowls. Over the last five years, a wide range of chefs has also given us their take on avocado toast. Gwyneth Paltrow even shared her vegan recipe in her lifestyle book “It’s all good”. We’re glad to see the world came to its senses in the end…

avocado on tree

Who could hate a food like this? Credit: Liza-Jane Webb

Avocados in Specialty Coffee Houses

So when did it become a staple coffee house dish?

Well, avocado and toast has been common in Australian coffee houses for the last 15 years. And with the arrival of artisanal toast in San Francisco, the boom really took off. Then along came Instagram with its philosophy of #cleanliving, and the oh-so-photogenic dish grew in popularity even more.

For those of us looking for a quick snack to go with our coffee, this is the perfect dish. There are no rules when it comes to eating it: it works for breakfast, brunch, lunch and even as a mid-afternoon snack. Plus, not only is it quick and easy to make, but it also requires very few ingredients.

The soft, buttery avocado with a dash of tangy lime, salt crystals, and olive oil on crunchy sourdough toast is an ideal way to start the day. Just throw in a smooth dark coffee to cleanse your mouth of the rich oily flavour.


Scrumptious. Credit: Benedetto

Why Do We Pay for Avocado on Toast?

We’ve established that avocado on toast is a great companion to your coffee – but why is it so particular to the café?

Is it that avocados can be a bit tricky? When you bring them home they’re a little firm, and after a week you’re still trying to help them ripen by balancing them carefully in direct sunlight.  Another weekend goes by and the avocado still isn’t ripe yet. Talk about frustrating… You also can’t make avocado on toast for a packed lunch – unless you want a soggy brown mess, that is.

Are these issues the real reason that we’re willing to pay for this simple dish?

avocado toast

How do you take yours? Credit: Michele Jenson

Coffee and Avocado Pairings

When you think about the avocado’s clear health benefits, its Instagrammability, and the fact that it can be both vegan and vegetarian, it’s no wonder that it’s taken over coffee houses globally.

But when you’re visiting these coffee shops, what should you be drinking it with? For specialty coffee lovers, that’s the real question! And our coffee recommendation for avocado on toast would be a full-bodied bean with fruity notes, such as an Ethiopian natural.

coffee and avocado toast

Avocado and coffee, a perfect pairing. Credit: Laura Beltran Villamizar  

A Beginner’s Recipe for Avocado on Toast

If you feel up to the challenge of making avocado on toast at home (and have some ripe avocados to hand!) here’s my recommended recipe:


  • 1 piece of bread (I recommend sourdough or rye)
  • 1 ripe avocado (the hass variety works best)
  • A pinch of flaky salt (optional)
  • A drizzle of olive oil (optional)
  • A squeeze of lime (optional)
  • A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  2. Add any of the optional ingredients that you want.
  3. Roughly mash with a fork.
  4. Toast the bread.
  5. Load all of the avocado mixture onto the toast.
  6. Make your coffee and enjoy.

Now that you know what all the hype is about, get creative with all the extras – think eggs, bacon, seeds, tomatoes. The world is your avocado toast, er, I mean oyster…

Edited by H. Paull.

Feature Photo Credit: @mynuttydelights

Perfect Daily Grind.