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Delicious Coffee Alternatives

a greek frappe on a windowsill overlooking a Greek village

There are few things as comforting to me as a good cup of tea. I like a good cuppa to start my morning, to get me through the work day, and to wind down at night. Having Tarkington Tea at LYB means I have access to delicious blends for every mood. And yet, sometimes I still crave something richer and bolder. Since I can’t drink coffee without getting the jitters (even if it’s decaf), I have had to look for coffee alternatives that deliver a similar feel without the bean. Here are three finds I am crazy about.


I remember trying Teecino was back when it first appeared on the market in 1995 and liking it. I saw it at the supermarket a few months ago and grabbed a box again. I am so glad I did because I now love it! They have two types of drinks, one is an herbal coffee you brew in your coffee maker. The second is an herbal tea that comes in a tea bag. Both have, as a base, either chicory or dandelion. I find they both deliver the same robust flavor that coffee provides. My two favorite flavors are the Dandelion Mocha Mint and the Chocolate Raspberry Chicory. I like adding a splash of creamer to these along with a couple of teaspoons of erythritol (here is why I choose erythritol: for a milky, rich taste that is reminiscent of a latte without the caffeine. A big bonus is the health benefits of dandelion. I had no idea about these benefits when I started drinking teecino, but apparently dandelion is anti-inflammatory, helps detox the liver and may even help fight the flu (source). It’s also the tea with the highest concentration of antioxidants (source)

Crio Bru or Choffy

As an avid dark chocolate lover, when I first found out there was such a thing as brewed cacao beans, I got very excited. Both Choffy and Crio Bru are 100% roasted and ground cacao beans. You can brew it in a coffee maker, or in a French press. I prefer brewing mine in a French press. This is not a sweet drink as there is no sugar added. I like to add some erythritol to mine. Sometimes I also add a splash of creamer. Crio Bru has a selection of flavored mixes, like peppermint and pumpkin spice. Choffy does not. Both come with some good wellness benefits delivered by the cacao, including a caffeine-free burst of energy courtesy of Theobromine, Phenylethylamine--a chemical that helps our bodies produce serotonin, and lots of antioxidants.

Dandy Blend

Dandy Blend is a mix of extracts of barley, rye, dandelion, chicory and beet roots. It comes in powder form, just like instant coffee. To me, it’s the most similar in taste to coffee, though I confess, I am not a coffee connoisseur. It is extremely convenient as you just add it to hot or cold water and stir. It dissolves instantly in hot water and pretty well in cold. When I drink it hot, I like to add some erythritol and a dash of cinnamon. But my favorite way to drink Dandy Blend is iced and blended in a way that is reminiscent of a Greek Nescafe Frappe.

The original is just instant coffee, sugar, water and ice, though some people add some evaporated milk. There used to be a Greek deli near my work years ago that served these and I would drink them even though they left me feeling sick from the caffeine. My Dandy Blend version leaves me feeling great, and tastes so similar I truly don’t miss the original. Here is my recipe:

1 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla)

2 teaspoons of Dandy Blend

1 tablespoon of erythritol (or more to taste. Erythritol is not as sweet as table sugar)

A handful of ice cubes

Place it all in a blender and blend until the ice is slushie-like.

Again, I was blown away when I learned about the benefits of dandelion. It’s supposedly full of minerals and antioxidants, it supports liver and kidney health as well as the good bacteria in our gut, and helps regulate blood sugar (source). It’s incredible to think one can be getting all of this and a delicious drink at once!

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