Second only to chocolate, coffee is my other food "addiction" that I don't have any interest or desire to give up, at least not any time soon! I just have to have my morning cuppa to get the day going. And most days, at least 2-3 more cups before the end of the day. It was worse when I was younger, sometimes I drank coffee to the exclusion of eating much (8-10 cups of the regular brew!) all in the name of weight control. NOT a good idea. Since then I've been trying to maintain healthier eating habits and curbing my coffee consumption is a big part of these ongoing efforts.
There is a lot of discussion these days about the pros and cons of coffee. Is it healthy or is it something we'd be better off passing on? One thing is for sure, I'm not alone in loving coffee! I don't think it's a staple beverage that's going to disappear from this world, any time soon.
I have been looking for a good coffee alternative as a way of cutting down on the caffeine found in regular coffee. I should also mention that I actually prefer instant coffee (strange but true) so finding a sub. wasn't as difficult as it probably would have been if I was looking for the regular brewed type.
I recently tried Caf-Lib a grain beverage made with chicory and barley. And I'm happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised just how good it was. A very smooth, mellow flavour. I didn't know what to expect but I actually preferred it to my regular choices of instant coffee: Nescafe, Taster's Choice and Encore.
I gave this a comparison test, trying Nescafe Instant Decaf and Caf-Lib at the same time. What I noted that was particularly different was the Caf-Lib had no aftertaste or "bite" for lack of a better word that the Nescafe Decaf did. Both are good products for this type of beverage but I actually preferred the Caf-Lib.
And if you think by drinking decaffeinated coffee that you are completely avoiding caffeine, think again. A regular 8 ounce cup of decaf instant or brewed coffee still contains approx. 5-12 mg. of caffeine. Even that small amount can add up during a day if you are drinking cup after cup.
Another concern: beware of what process the caffeine is removed with. I still found a store brand recently that contained the chemical dichloromethane used to remove the caffeine in that particular instant coffee. This is a chemical that is also used as a paint stripper and for dry-cleaning clothes! It's so important to read ALL the fine print and "clever" wording on packaging. I didn't think this process to remove caffeine was even allowed any longer but apparently it still is. Here's another eye-opening article from Natural News that explains in more detail what manufacturers are actually required to list on their packaging when it comes to all the ingredients.
I found this information about some of the benefits of chicory over at About.com. I already was aware that chicory is considered a good natural body cleanser, in particular the liver and intestinal tract (including dealing with those nasty little intestinal parasites!) and is a beneficial to the circulatory system as well. What I wasn't aware of is that chicory dissolves better in hot water than coffee, another reason it makes an ideal alternative to regular coffee.
Coffee substitutes/alternatives have been around for a long time. Apparently by way of necessity when money was scarce and coffee was simply too expensive for many people to buy. By roasting chicory and other grains, farmers came up with alternatives to the regular brew that have evolved and improved over time. Caf-Lib is a great example of what can come from this kind of innovation and experimentation.
I plan to continue buying and drinking Caf-Lib. It really was a pleasant surprise. Reasonably priced too, comparable to the better-quality brands of instant coffee I checked, about $6. for a 150g. jar. You can check it out over at Amazon too.
Now I'm off to the kitchen for another cuppa!
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.