Monday, February 23, 2015

Coffee Alternatives

People often ask me, do I drink coffee? As a matter of fact, I don't. 

It's not that I think it is wrong to drink coffee (there are some people who make that argument because caffeine is a stimulant, such as the 7th Day Adventists and the Mormons). It's not because I think coffee is terribly unhealthy or addictive. It is because if I started to rely on coffee to get me going in the morning and through the day, I would quickly become so dependent on it, that I would no longer be able to cope without it. In other words, in the quantities in which I would need to have coffee if I were to start down that road, it would not be healthy or advisable for me. 

Still, I like to have a steaming hot cup of creamy and - yes - slightly sweet goodness in the morning as much as the next person. Especially, because that is often my first breakfast, holding me over until I have more time to make myself something later in the morning.

So, here are my favorite beverages that make great stand-ins for coffee.

1) Vanilla rooibos (redbush) tea



Rooibos has been my favorite tree ever since I discovered it many years ago. You can find it in all sorts of flavors, but even just plain, it tastes very rich and earthy. My favorite kind is the vanilla flavored one, and since I drink a lot of it, I typically buy it in bulk. My favorite brand is Davidson's Organic Red Vanilla tea. You can also buy smaller packages with individual tea bags. This tea is great hot as well as iced, with or without sweetener, and with or without cream added. 


2) Caro/Pero Instant Beverage



This hails back to my childhood, when we would drink what we called "kids' coffee." It is made from barley, barley malt, chicory, and rye. It has a slightly bitter taste like coffee, so I like mine with some coconut sugar or honey added, and about half milk.


3) Teeccino herbal coffee


This right here is my current favorite, and a breakfast staple. There are many flavor choices available on their website as well as on Amazon. The one I drink is "Vanilla Nut," which I buy in bulk from Azure Standard. I typically sweeten it with 1 tsp of coconut sugar per pint, and add about 3 or 4 tablespoons of cream. So good! 


If you are looking for a caffeine-free beverage to add to your repertoire, I hope this blog post gave you some new ideas. Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.



21 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for this, Zsuzsa! Hopefully I will get around to trying some of these out. I just LOVE coffee too much. After having a few kids, I got sooooo worn down. I was having such a hard time functioning that it was interfering with my ability to accomplish what I needed to do for my family (homeschool the kids, etc). I later found out that I have some thyroid issues which explains why my every level can get so ridiculously low. I couldn't function that way, so I started drinking coffee occasionally to see if it helped. I guess it did, but it didn't take long to gofrom occasionally to frequently to daily. I just LOVE the stuff. I like some in the evening too, but then I don't sleep well sometimes, so I won't drink it too late even though I'd like to. I like the warm bitterness coming through the sweet creaminess. And sometimes I wish it didn't have caffeine, so that I could drink it more without the effects of the caffeine just because I like the taste. I won't drink decaf, because of the processing. So, I should really try something else that gives me that warm, cozy, "me" moment to help satisfy that mental aspect, so that I don't always go for the coffee. When I sit down with my Bible in the quiet of the morning, coffee just goes with it. So if I could find something else to put in it's place, that would be a good thing, so that I can cut back on the caffeine if I don't need it. I don't believe it is that bad for you as my grandparents drink multiple cups a day for as long as I can remember. There doesn't seem to be any damaging effects in my opinion. If people can drink it a couple times a day every day their whole lives, I'm not afraid of it, and if it helps me function for my family, then I decided I had to do it. I have my theories and experiences, and I believe that coffee probably has it's place in maintaining health. Even though NO health "expert" says so. Even in "Nourishing Traditions" which seems to mostly agree with my food philosophy, it seems to "avoid" coffee. It doesn't say it's bad, and in fact mentions all the antioxidants...But the conclusion is still to "avoid" it. It seems EVERY source had the same conclusion that it's somehow best to "avoid" it. Seems fishy to me, and frankly I just don't believe I should "avoid" it completely. But I would like to cut back and try to go without it for awhile so when I start drinking it again, I can again reap the benefits that I no longer get since my body is used to it now. I want to get UNused to it, so this was such a timely post!

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  2. Oh, and another thing about coffee...When I first started drinking it regularly, I noticed shortly after I drank some, I would need to go to the bathroom...not potty. I noticed this consistently and knew it was no coincidence. I began to wonder if this was a known side effect, and sure enough... that it's part of the stimulant effect. And a valuable effect in my opinion. After having children, things haven't been the same for reasons I don't really know. And a few minutes after the coffee gets into my system, I can literally feel my body wake up. Nerves and tissues are stimulated in such a way that I can feel it happening...And if there is anything that needs moving, it helps it get going. I was just telling my mom about that effect of coffee recently... How I can literally feel nerves and tissues get stimulated. I'm convinced coffee could be beneficial for health...And though maybe TMI, just wanted to put that out in case it's relevant to someone...lol :)

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    1. Benson Jen,
      You make me laugh your comment is so funny, I am guessing you drank a lot of coffee when you wrote it. I love coffee too.

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  3. I used to drink Teeccino. Good stuff. Dad sells coffee, so we just drink coffee. Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma is good when the budget is tight.

    Nice hot cuppa tea is good for a warm and cozy morning drink. ;)

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  4. Love your blog, Zsuzsanna, and I've been a long-time reader. Just wanted to make a minor correction. Mormons abstain from "hot drinks" (tea and coffee), not "because caffeine is a stimulant," but because that's what we've been asked to do. It's part of what we call the "Word of Wisdom," which gives us some lifestyle guidance (such as avoiding tobacco and alcohol and admonishing us to eat meat sparingly, etc.). Sometimes well-meaning Mormons will say things like "we don't do XYZ because [fill in the blank]," but the truth is we don't always know the reason, other than we're promised blessings if we follow this counsel. And it's up to us as individuals to interpret this guidance for our own lives.

    All that to say, Mormons definitely drink caffeine. Just not the "hot" kind. =)

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  5. I've never had any of them...but I'm not a coffee drinker either. Mostly water, but occasionally I'll have some hot chocolate or herbal tea, mostly if I'm chilly. I've heard Pero referred to as "Mormon Coffee" before. Curious, have you ever tried Postum? Not sure what it really is, maybe similar to Pero, but I heard a commercial for it on a 1950s radio clip and it advertised it as the hot drink for the whole family, no caffeine, etc. Sounded Interesting, but you don't see it in stores often. Amazon has it though. :-)

    Love, Joy

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  6. Oops! Just looked it on Amazon. Right under the label it says Roasted Wheat Bran and Molasses. Hm. That does sound interesting!

    Love, Joy

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  7. Zsu, you should look into Nestle's history of discouraging breastfeeding in developing nations, and then see if you still feel like buying their products. IMO they are pretty terrible, so I am boycotting them.

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  8. Oh Yes! I absolutely love rooibos! Great suggestions. God Bless.
    -Molly

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  9. I don't drink coffee any more. I drink decaf which I enjoy. Hardly miss the caffeine. Other beverages may be healthier but I like coffee.

    Caro reminds me of being a kid, too.

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  10. Thank you for these! I love the ritual of a hot drink before I head to work in the morning, but I can't do coffee (the caffeine makes me jittery and sick) and tea was getting a little boring...Ordered some alternatives from Amazon and can't wait to try them.

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  11. @Robyn

    I must admit I'm confused. what difference does the fact that a drink is hot make?

    is it not the caffeine you're avoiding??

    Sorry don't get that at all.


    shelby

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  12. Shelby,

    It does come across as confusing, if you're looking for an explanation. There are many reasons why it's a good idea to avoid coffee, but none of those reasons are stated in our scripture. There are many (well-meaning) Mormons who will flat-out say, "We don't drink coffee because of the caffeine." It's a good guess, but that's all it would be. A guess. God has not revealed why we abstain from drinking "hot drinks" (tea and coffee). Maybe it's because of the caffeine. Maybe it's because it can be habit-forming. Maybe it's the teeth-staining. Maybe it's the stomach cancer that can result from constant scalding. Maybe there's no reason, only to set apart his "peculiar people." I don't know. To me, it doesn't matter why. It only matters that it's what I've been asked to do. It certainly isn't my job to put words in God's mouth and come up with a reason, though.

    So if you hear a Mormon say they "can't" drink caffeine, you can go ahead and educate them about their own doctrine for me. I'd be grateful. =)

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    1. @Robyn, What Scriptures are you referring to? :)

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    2. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89

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    3. The thing that Joseph Smith wrote is what she's referring to

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    4. Correct! We call this book of modern-day revelation given to Joseph Smith the Doctrine and Covenants.

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  13. Any suggestions on where to find Caro/Pero? I've tried every major grocery store in town, both the foreign food aisle and the coffee/tea section.

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    1. Amazon carries it. I couldn't find it in the store either.

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  14. Robyn

    Thanks for the explanation. I'll be sure to mention it if it it comes up. Sometimes I have had the odd chat with Missionaries who come by. I'm pretty sure the last lot told me it was because it's a stimulant thing. I'm always polite to the missionaries and politely interested in their response to Galations 1:8-10.

    I have a cynical friend who commented, "I guess when the Mormon church has stock in tea platations as it does now in Coca Cola, tea drinking will then become fine, too".

    Good Luck,

    Shelby

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Your KINDLY WORDED, constructive comments are welcome, whether or not they express a differing opinion. All others will be deleted without second thought.