Hi! I'm hibernating under my electric blanket whilst perpetually sipping hot tea. Wing It Vegan is on hiatus until I'm willing to come back out. Happy holidays!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Alternatives: Roastaroma and Pero

I need caffeine. Whatever form you've got, I haven't had any all day. I'll drink it, shoot it, eat it, snort it, whatever form it's in, gimme! Words of wisdom by Lorelai Gilmore.

So I'm on a quest to find my favorite coffee substitute. There's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one! There's no substitute for coffee, is there? There's no substitute for that morning ritual when you're half asleep still, tumbling around towards the kitchen, you somehow manage to pour water into the coffee maker but not without accidentally pouring some up the sleeve of your pajama top as well, you spend five minutes trying to separate one filter from the rest, scoop the coffee into the filter, clean up the mess you made because it's way too early for skilled motor coordination, hit start and... aaaahhh! It's coffee time! Yea, there's no substitute for that.

So far I have tried two different kinds of coffee alternatives, or as I like to call them - fauxfee. The first one I tried was Roastaroma tea by Celestial Seasonings. It ain't coffee, let me tell you! The Celestial Seasonings website says it's a "full-bodied, caffeine-free alternative to coffee." I wouldn't say it's an alternative to coffee, but it *is* a very tasty and unique tea. When I first opened the box, all I could smell was cinnamon, which made me think I was going to *hate* this tea. As soon as I poured hot water into my mug, the smell changed completely and so did my expectations! The cinnamon wasn't as dominant as it smelled when the tea bag was dry, and there was a wonderful chicory scent that gave me hope! Hope! Joy! The hint of allspice and star anise compliment this tea perfectly without overpowering it. It tastes like nothing I've ever tasted before, and I'm glad I decided to give it a try! It's watery like tea, not thick like coffee, but after a few cups I'm used to that now. The only problem is that it's not available locally, so I have to order it online by the case.

The ingredients are: Roasted barley, roasted chicory, roasted carob, cinnamon, allspice and Chinese star anise.


Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma Tea


Next I decided to try Pero. I spent a few minutes in the coffee isle at Whole Foods trying to decide if I wanted to try Pero or Cafix first, but Cafix lists beet root as one of their ingredients. Hmm. My super taste buds might be able to detect a beety taste, and while I do enjoy beets, I don't want them in my coffee... fauxfee. So for now, I have chosen Pero. It does taste pretty coffee-like. Not like the freshly brewed kind, but like the instant kind. I can live with that! Something that tastes similar to instant coffee is better than no coffee at all. Amirite or amirite?


Pero Coffee Alternative


The foamy foam that forms on top is my favorite part! You just scoop a well rounded teaspoon into a mug (or a well rounded tablespoon if you are me) add hot water and sweetener if you want and you're good to go. It smells good, it tastes good, and it's a little thicker than the Roastaroma tea. Just know that it's not going to taste like a regular cup of freshly brewed coffee made with freshly roasted and ground beans.

The ingredients are: Barley, malted barley, chicory, rye.

Overall I like both Roastaroma and Pero, but I can't really compare them because they are very different products. Only Pero tastes somewhat similar to coffee. Roastaroma doesn't taste much like coffee at all to me, but it's very tasty in its own unique way and sometimes I prefer it to Pero. If you're trying to give up coffee, I can definitely recommend that you experiment with these two products! By the way, I bought these myself and nobody has given me anything in return for these reviews. Just sayin'.


Wheat-Free Orange-Anise Rolls and Pero Coffee Alternative


What? Those rolls? Funny you should ask! My next post will be about these Wheat-Free Orange-Anise Rolls. I already have the recipe ready to go, but this post already has way too much text! Next time, I promise! :)

My next fauxfee adventures: Teeccino and Cafix. Have you tried them? What should I expect? Will the Cafix taste beety? Will either one taste feety?

33 comments :

  1. Haha why how did you know? I was going to ask about those rolls :) Great reviews on both products. What's your reason for giving up coffee? I try to stay away from it now too and only consume it a few times a month. Better than my daily before

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  2. You're mean!! Wheat free? Anise? Be still my heart. You better not renig on this promise. I'll revoke our friendship.

    I've tried Teechino but not Pero. I think they are similar? Anyway, I am sure if you aren't a coffee snob with high expecations like I was they'd be good. As I am...I think I'll pass.

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  3. Can you drink decaf? There's a really tasty one at Whole Foods with the word "mountain" in the name, but I can't remember it. I used to like Cafix, but then I'd get tired of it and buy Pero, then back to cafix.

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  4. Fauxfree...oh wow. I personally just took the plunge to tea over coffee alts last year. I'm intrigued that barley is a main ingredient in both of these 2 fauxfrees--stinks for glutenfree people, but I do wonder what it is about the barley-chicory combo that seems coffee-ish. Hmm.

    For a deeper tea taste, try out matcha. It always hit the spot when I was coffee-free!

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  5. Great post! I am trying to get myself off of coffee and I haven't heard of either of these. I tried Teeccino; you brew it and it's not too bad, but there's a hint of sweetness to it that I just can't get past (I like my coffee black, not sweet... this stuff isn't very sweet, but it's a little sweet). You should go with the Mayan French Roast (the package also says Dark Roast) if you want the one that tastes most like coffee. One thing that has been sort of successful for me... I don't mind Teeccino if I mix it with regular coffee. So sometimes I will put 1 Tbsp of coffee and 2 of teeccino in the machine and I can deal with that (you still taste the teeccino, but I think the coffee makes it a bit stronger in the unsweet direction).

    Another thing I've tried is this stuff called Macafe--roasted maca powder from a company called Maca Magic. I had to order online. It's instant, so you just mix 1/2 tsp into hot water. I actually kind of like this stuff, but it does taste really burned. It's like taking the slightly burned or roasted flavor of coffee and intensifying it a whole bunch. The texture is a bit thicker than teeccino as well, but it might depend how much powder you put in. One plus is that maca powder is really good for you (less good if it's roasted and not raw, though). But I really don't mind the taste of this stuff. Warning, though, one of my friends said it tastes like "a big cup of burned"--and it did grow on me a bit as I had more cups of it.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing these 2 new alternatives that I hadn't heard of! Let us know what you think of teeccino. (I'm not sure if I've commented here before... I was following you still from Veganmofo 2009. If not... hello!)

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  6. Love this exploration! So fun. How are these price wise when it compares to coffee.

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  7. I'll always take tea over coffee, and that Roastaroma sounds like one I would really like. I never heard of it before, so thanks for the tip!

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  8. Great reviews! I've had the teechino and I think it's actually pretty good!

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  9. I've gotten really into Dandy Blend, which is gluten-free as well. It also had dandelion root! You can add more or less depending on how strong you want your "coffee." I haven't tried either of the ones you mention, but I imagine it's more similar to Pero. Check it out if you find some!

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  10. Haven't been a coffee drinker for over almost 20 years (I quit after attempting to take a counterpoint final in grad school after drinking a very large coffee. My hand shook so much I couldn't write legibly). I've tried teechino and quite like it. Especially with creamer and sugar! I like the vanilla nut flavor the best.

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  11. Come live in Colorado! You can't go anywhere without there being Celestial Seasonings tea.

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  12. Love the Lorelei comment. I miss my coffee! I've had either Cafix or Pero before, I remember the flavor. Ok, but not coffee. I'm drinking jasmine tea right now.

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  13. There is NO substitute for coffee in my book...

    I do love Pero and Rostaroma as I grew up drinking both of them.. but never would I consider them a coffee sub.. It's kind of like trying to sub Carob for chocolate..! ( I love carob too.. but never as a chocolate sub )

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  14. Is it the caffeine specifically that you're avoiding? If so, then I guess green matcha tea won't do. . . but I have come to LOVE it and my day doesn't feel complete without a tall, neon green cupful! I once tasted teeccino at a store tasting and it was very good. I think the fact that it's brewed, like coffee, helps. :)

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  15. I just had the teeccino in my hot toddy. I got it as a sample so I don't actually know where to buy it. I had the vanilla nut, but the other sample I had ages ago so I don't remember the flavor and was good too. It's sweet without any added sugar and I have to say, quite coffee like. It's apparently non acidic like decaf coffee is. I gave up caffeine over a year ago, but I was a tea drinker mostly so once I got over the 3 day hangover like nightmare, I was fine. The good thing is that decaf tea tastes pretty much the same as normal tea.

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  16. You know Celestial Seasonings used to have the English Toffee tea but discontinued it...the bums.
    I do enjoy the Roastaroma too but Pero is the only one for me.

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  17. Glad to hear you found a coffee substitute you like!

    I never this stuff made with water. Mr. Mihl drinks it with hot milk instead of water and I once tried it with soymilk and thought not too bad...that reminds me, we still ahve a box of a similar drink (it has the same ingredients minus the chicory)! I should make some. (Only to have an excuse to make muffins, too...)

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  18. I haven't delved to far into this realm because I do love my coffee, but Teeccino is actually very good. I was surprised by how much I like it!

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  19. I hate coffee (oh, have I already commented with that a dozen times?) but I love Celestial Seasonings herbal teas ... so now you have me curious! I'm going to keep an eye out for that. My husband is into coffee and tea (of all types) so that might be right up his alley too!

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  20. Glad to hear you're experimenting with alternatives. I've never used coffee regularly in the mornings, but have always enjoyed it's deep warmth the afternoon and evenings. Basically, Adam decided to remove caffeine from his diet and I started looking for other things when my anxiety was going wonky.

    Teeccino: We drink this stuff regularly. Mostly the dark roast because the others just don't quite cut it for us. Teeccino has a more bitter taste, like coffee, and isn't as thin as tea.

    Yerba Mate "Dark Roast" (The Mate Factor): This really just tastes like a more bitter version of yerba mate.

    We tried some other things a few years ago, but I can't remember their names. I wouldn't recommend them, anyway ;) OH! And we tried roasting barley once. I don't recommend that either. At least not without some other ingredients and not mixed with coffee.

    I really look forward to your continued experiments! We might do more as well, but we're pretty happy with Teeccino.

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  21. I might also mention, we use 1 Tbl per cup and brew it in the coffee maker.

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  22. I didn't know there was such a thing as faux coffee (although I guess I should be surprised). I'll have to look into those. I loooove coffee as much as Lorelai, but I haven't been able to drink it much lately. It's giving me really bad headaches. Or, if it's not causing them, it's making them worse. Let me know if you find anything that tastes similar to coffee, but doesn't taste too tea-y.

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  23. I've checked in on Pero a few times and never actually bought it.. ahve you ever tried Teeccino? I get the 'french roast' it's their darkest flavor, the "most similar" to coffee flavor, in fact they add a bit of coffee flavoring to it... anyway, it's pretty good! In case you're wanting to try another alternative. AND, there are tons of flavors to choose from too, if you're a flavored coffee kinda gal... I made it super strong - like 'spresso - and latte it, cause I dont' care for black. Good stuff!
    Thanks for this review, very helpful :)

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  24. OMG...Teeccino is the best thing since coffee. We've tried tons of flavors, but the vanilla nut is the best. Highly HIghly recommend it. If the need the caffeine boost, try using maca powder is smoothies. It gives you tons of energy.

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  25. Ooh! This gives me hope! I don't like to consume caffeine too much, so I'm going to try that roastaroma stuff.

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  26. Sooo, I was looking around to see if my old roastaroma was still on the shelves, (seems it's not) and i found this post.

    I have just the thing for you and your roastaroma. I am definately not a tea drinker, but roastaroma is so much different that I actually like it as far as tea goes.

    If you put a little milk (haha almost forgot this was a vegan post)Or milk substitute with a little honey. Honey is vegan kosher isn't it? Try it, I'm sure you will like it much more than just the straight tea.

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  27. Did somebody say Maca? I can't get past the taste of Maca (caca). No, Pero is the bomb. I use Blue Agave to sweeten it and sometimes put a little Almond Breeze milk or even regular milk. GREAT!!

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  28. I personally just took the plunge to tea more than espresso alts final year. I'm intrigued that barley can be a principal ingredient in equally of these
    When you have nothing to do or unhappy? What should you do to spend the free time? How about the game? like to get Buy RS Gold in WOW, and how to have theRS Goldwith less money, is there anyway to get the for us? We need to think about this.

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  29. I've been looking for alternatives to coffee as well since I drank my last cup about two weeks ago. I am going out tomorrow to buy some Teeccino.

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  30. I can't drink coffee any longer due to acid re-flux disease and barrets esophagus because of the acid. Are these coffee alternatives acidic like coffee? I soooo miss my coffee:(

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    1. I'm so sorry you had to give up your precious coffee! I've been lucky enough to be able to drink it in moderation (not even a full cup or it will bother me).

      To answer your question, this page on Teeccino's website says their product is "non-acidic": http://teeccino.com/about/39/Non-Acidic.html

      On the Pero website, they say it's a "low acidity" product (second paragraph): http://internaturalfoods.com/brands/pero.html

      Unfortunately I can't find any information about the acidity of Roastaroma on the Celestial Seasonings website. You might want to contact their customer service department: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/contact

      Good luck! :)

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  31. Oh and im not suppose to have tea either.

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