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Live Well: Are there tasty alternatives to coffee?

By: JEN MULSON
June 22, 2011
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Even if a platoon of my metaphorical battleships have been sunk all day long, I can still go to bed with half a smile. I get to wake up in the morning and drink coffee! Every day! Coffee!

Yes, I do feel a bit guilty pouring a drug into my system first thing in the morning. Research says coffee is good for you, and not so good for you. But I’m all about moderation. Two cups in the morning. Never during the day or evening.

However, on a recent browse through Natural Grocers, a bag practically fell off the shelf stacked with coffee bags and into my outstretched, caffeine-consuming paws. Teeccino. It sounded vaguely familiar.

Promoted as an ideal replacement for your morning coffee, it’s caffeine-free, and roasted and ground to brew and taste just like the beloved magical beans.

I’ll be the judge of that, Teeccino.

The main ingredients in Teeccino are organic carob pods, barley and chicory root. Flavor enhancers like dates, almonds, figs and ramon nuts are added to create varieties such as chai, vanilla nut and hazelnut.

This might make you wonder if this caffeine-free find is also calorie-free, another perk of coffee. To be fair, black coffee does have about 2 calories in an 8-ounce cup. My bag of Teeccino lists the calories at 60 per serving, which is 1 tablespoon per 2 cups of water.

I procrastinated brewing the first pot, but finally forced myself into the kitchen and stuck my nose in the bag for a few good inhales. Nice. This stuff smelled sweet and spicy, like a freshly baked ginger cookie.

In the cup, I could smell bits of vanilla liqueur. In the mouth? Hints of dirty dishwater, I’m sorry to report. The bag I bought was the chai-flavored “coffee,” which was faintly reminiscent of real chai I’ve had, but not close enough. It had an unpleasant aftertaste that made me dump my mug out after three sips.

To be fair, the original Teeccino might be more like coffee, but I didn’t want to fork out another 9 bucks to find out.

Not wanting to give up on finding a possible coffee substitute, I cruised the coffee aisles at Mountain Mama Natural Foods. I found Kaffree Roma, made from roasted malt barley, roasted barley and roasted chicory. It’s made just like instant coffee. I found it to be similar to its counterpart, which doesn’t really say a lot, considering I don’t find instant coffee that tasty.

If you’re in a pinch, though, and craving a hot, dark mug of something and don’t want more caffeine in your system, give it a shot. Also, it could be an alternative for your fifth, sixth and seventh cups of coffee during the day.

Have you tried any coffee substitutes you’d like to rave about? Join me on Facebook and have at it: facebook.com/jennifernmulson.

Jennifer Mulson teaches yoga at CorePower Yoga in Colorado Springs. Read more Live Well columns at gazette.com.

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