What started as a smoothie-centric cafe in South Yarra, Green Cup has morphed into a health food restaurant selling acai bowls and toasties, along with an expanded range of smoothies. With outlets popping up across East Melbourne (and Tik Tok) are their products worth getting excited about, or is it just hype?
Location: 1242 High St, Armadale, VIC 3134 & 233 Faraday St, Carlton, VIC 3053 & 207a Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North, VIC 3161 & 763 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122 & 593 Chapel St, South Yarra, VIC 3141 & CBD coming soon.
If you live in the East of Melbourne and have a young woman in your house, the chances are that you know all about Green Cup.
Although the original Green Cup actually opened in South Yarra back in 2014, the business has gone from a single cafe to a burgeoning chain over the last year or so. In fact, we’ve just heard that they are about to open another outlet in Wesley Place in the Melbourne CBD.
So what’s the appeal? We headed to the Armidale venue to find out.
The decor at Green Cup is minimal, light-filled and clean. It’s not quite as brutalist as the sparse interior at Mile End Bagels, but it’s a not too distant cousin.
We are firmly in the world of concrete floors and white-washed, exposed brick walls. A simple counter separates customers from staff and a prep area which is sectioned off behind a shoulder height divide.
There’s a set of shelves against one wall selling a curated selection of drinking chocolate powders, candles and the like. If you want to eat your smoothie bowl in situ, there’s the ever popular communal table to one side, or a few tables and stools by the window. Further to this, there’s a few seats out on the street in the sunshine.
It’s bright, functional and clearly designed for people to slurp their chilled health drink before it melts and then go. Which is all most of the customers appear to want to do.
Why not balance the healthy with the odd indulgence? Check out our review of Levain Doughnuts for some naughty inspiration!
We’re starting with the beverages as this is the business’ first love and claim to fame.
These days, the basic smoothie has evolved into 4 main types:
First up, these drinks all include spinach – hence the ‘green’.
Currently featuring 8 choices, they range from The Green Cup 1 ($12) packed with Spinach, Kale, Banana, Strawberries, Blueberries, Spirulina, Mesquite, Chia, Date & Coconut Water to the lighter Green Detox ($9) – Spinach, Cucumber, Chia, Mint, Lemon, Apple & Filtered h2.
Not green. We’re serious.
You’ve got a choice of 5 combinations including the Antioxidant ($12) – Blueberries, Banana, Coyo, Chia, Date, Vanilla Brown Rice Protein & Almond Milk. There’s also a nutrition-rich Chocolate Shake ($12) with Cacao, Cacao Nibs, Cinnamon, Maca, Almonds, Banana, Date & Oat Milk.
Want to blitz up your own smoothie blends each morning? The Nutribullet 900W Series Blender makes healthy drinks in seconds.
Then there are smoothies with a dose of collagen added.
The Berry Glow ($13) with Banana, Blueberries, Strawberries, Maca, Coconut Milk & Vanilla Collagen is a pretty colour and tastes suitably summery.
Interestingly, these aren’t on the regular menu.
Also, the term ‘Celebrity Smoothies’ is my own.
Standing on the manned counter at the back of the cafe there’s another list of smoothies. The recipes are attributed to various celebrities and influencers.
For example, the smoothie that has gone viral is the Green Cup Hailey Bieber Smoothie. This is the brand’s take on the Hailey Bieber Strawberry Skin Smoothie which has been all over Tik Tok. And they are flying out the door.
If you are looking for a filling lunch, then this probably isn’t the place for you.
The food here is more in the breakfast/snack range.
Not surprisingly, Green Cup acai bowls are hugely popular.
When we visited, all the customers sitting in (all late teen-early 20s young women) were working their way through tubs of thick, purple, acai goodness.
So the big question really is what do you want your Acai Puree blended with?
For our taste test, we tried the Fresh Bowl ($14 – see photo above). Made with Almonds, Strawberries, Coconut Flakes & Banana. It was light and very easy to eat. We also gave the Go-to Bowl ($14 – see photo below) a try. This was a richer concoction of really rather yummy House Made Peanut Butter, Strawberries, Banana & Cacao Nibs. Fortunately, the cacao nibs gave just enough bitterness to cut a peanut butter overkill.
Both Acai Bowls were given a very positive thumbs up by my kids.
Me? I thought they weren’t all that generous and were over-priced for what they are.
If you love Acai but want to control your topping ratios, see our review of Blitz Bar over on Glenferrie Road.
Acia Super Cups
More trendy Acai in bigger portions.
The Nutella Super Cup ($18) with Nutella, Granola & Strawberries is the kind of rich mousse my son would wolf down as a snack.
Lastly, there’s a limited selection of Toasts. These are literally a slice of toasted bread with various toppings.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think $15 for 2 pieces of toast spread with Smashed Avo and Chilli is a bit steep, but then cafes in flash parts of town charge far more.
Summer Time Self-Care Series
With 4 sessions running through Feb to March, Green Cup is presenting a series of ticketed exercise-focused events.
For a pretty neat $10, you get a 30 or 45 mins workout, plus a Mini ‘Go To’ Acai Bowl.
Full details are on the Green Cup website.
The place is busy and online orders are being collected as fast as the team can make them. So Green Cup are obviously doing something right.
But is it just smart marketing? Does knocking out version of a viral smoothie drunk by an influencer convert turn you into the must-visit spot after an exercise class or for a catch up with friends? It appears it might. Certainly with certain demographics.
As for me, I’m still not convinced by Green Cup as a ‘Health Food Restaurant’. I want a bit more to a menu than pimped up shakes and blended fruit and nuts in paper cups.
Yes, there are plenty of good things in their smoothies and acai-based bowls, but I really like to know the nutritional breakdown of something before I believe is good for me.
What’s more, as someone who knows their way around a blender, I baulk at paying ($12) for something served to my in a plastic take-out cup when I can whip it up at home.
However, it’s clearly a place that works for its young customer base, and given the rate at which Green Cup outlets are opening up across Melbourne, that’s all that matters.