The Coffee Habit Unbeaned

I love a good cup of coffee.  Okay, my husband would say that's not accurate.  I love my flavored coffee creamer accompanied by a cup of coffee.   I've never been one of those people who consumes a pot a day... one to two cups is usually my max, in the morning, and I'm done.

That was still enough to cause me to get a raging headache that ibuprofen wouldn't touch by 2 pm if I didn't consume my morning cup.

I got pretty tired of this, so I started investigating alernatives.  I tried chai... not what I was looking for.  I wanted something full-bodied, something... well, something very much like coffee.  And I know that the flavored creamers on the market are not a model of healthfulness, but I LOVE THE STUFF.  More on that later.

Why not decaf?  Because the caffeine is taken out of the coffee with toxic solvents including ethyl acetate or dichloromethane.   They are SOAKED in this stuff, then roasted, ground, and packaged.  According to Toxipedia, "Ethyl acetate is an effective poison for use in insect collector as its vapors are a respiratory tract irritant whose vapors can kill the insect quickly without destroying it, leaving it intact for study."  No thanks, I'd rather not.

So I wanted something UN-caffeinated rather than decaffeinated.  The week I made this decision I was in TJ Maxx (where I often buy my coffee because you can get organic/free trade for way cheaper than normal) and stumbled upon a box of "Caffe Orzo."  It's basically roasted barley, and they've been using it in Italy for ages, serving it to kids instead of "real" coffee. 

I bought a box, took it home, LOVED it, went back and bought all they had.  It's lasted me probably four months.  I cut it with regular coffee about half the time because I don't necessarily want to eschew coffee entirely, I just want to cut way down on my caffeine load and reduce my headaches.  What I really liked about it was that it brews the same as coffee in the beloved coffee maker my son got me for Christmas.  

Well, I've run out, and of course, TJ Maxx doesn't stock anything permanently, and I haven't seen it there since.  So I started a quest online and I can only find a place to import it from England.  A Google search didn't turn much up.  Amazon had it but "currently unavailable." 

So I thought I'd try this Ayurvedic Roast from Amazon.

This is a non-caffeinated blend made from roasted barley (cafe orzo), roasted rye, roasted chicory, ashwagandha, shatavari, brahmi and natural vanilla flavor.  Okay, I don't know what those last four things are except for the vanilla so maybe more research is needed.  

It's good.  It's much less bitter than coffee, brews in a pot, french press or percolator.  It's organic.  It's supposedly vanilla flavored but I'm not getting a lot of that.  I did notice that it does not want to come out of my reusable coffee filter, not sure why that is.  If you're concerned about the acidifying effect of coffee, it's non acid. 

Only one problem:  I paid $16.95 for 11 ounces of this stuff.  Holy moly!  I can't afford this habit, even at two cups a day, even cutting it with nasty bitter cheap coffee (and then what would be the point?).  Also, I find that it takes a little bit MORE of this to make a pot that tastes like it's not watered down. 

So it's back to the drawing board to try to find something I can drink.  Curse you TJ Maxx for getting me hooked on something I can't get more of!

Then I started thinking... barley's cheap.  Why couldn't I roast my own barley?   Mother Earth News came through and here's an article on how to do exactly that (and recipes for other coffee substitutes I may have to try).  I love you, Internet!  I'll be letting you know how these experiments work out.

How about you, what's in your warm morning beverage mug?