Tag Archives: cacao

Unless you are just checking out my blog for the first time ever, you probably already know that I am pregnant. Actually, 8 months along at this point. And some people already know that most pregnant women aren’t suppose to have coffee- or rather they are only suppose to have so much caffeine. I am pretty sporadic about my coffee intake, but because I don’t have it all the time, I can accidentally guzzled too much in one day. And top it off, pregnant women have a harder time getting caffeine out of their system. I had a day or two where I accidentally drink too much caffeine and was rather jittery.

But I know many people like to drink less coffee, or can’t have any caffeine in their diet for medical reason. Because of these reasons, I was really happy to try out some coffee like products on the market. I tried to have the products in various styles to try and fill everyone’s coffee desires.

Two Quick Notes! I bought all these products on my own. So these are all my own opinions, though I never give my input about if the cost is worth it. Truthfully I like buying expensive coffee so I say all are worth the price. But if you are looking for cheap- go for the teeccino. My second note is that I don’t think caffeine is evil. I think out of most plant based stimulants caffeine is pretty awesome and safe (when in a natural state of coarse, you can overdose on the purified powdered stuff.) I am reviewing low caffeine or caffeine free products so no tea and yerba mate reviews. I also wanted the flavor to be in the same ball park but still be fairly easy to find in stores.

crubru

Crio Bru

Website: Crio Bru.com
Where to buy?: Amazon, Online Shop, & Store Locator
Style: Ghana Light Roast

What is it?: I’ve heard about this drink for awhile and have wanted to try it ever since I’ve heard of it. Pretty much the cacao bean is roasted in the same style as the coffee bean

Positives: It isn’t 100% caffeine free, which to me is a good thing. I like having a little bit of a caffeine kick, and it also provides a little bit of bitterness. It also never claims to taste like coffee so you can drink it with an open mind. But the cacao is easy to mix with coffee beans if you are trying to help wean yourself off of coffee grounds. Mixing the two also give a really awesome and unique flavor (think mocha)

Negatives: It is a little watery and pre-ground. The drink is thinner than normal brewed coffee, and I think it would help if the grinds were a little smaller. But you can’t do that since they are pre-ground.

How to Brew: I’ve tried this in many ways, pulled an espresso shot, french press, and drip. I have found the only way to drink this is by using a french press. The espresso was a watery mess, and the drip was alright but tended to have trouble filtering. The French Press will give the best full body flavor.

What it tastes like?: It tastes like a watered down mocha latte- kind-of. There is a distinct chocolate/cacao flavor going on, but you have some rich notes that give a subtle notes similar to coffee. This clearly doesn’t taste like coffee, it has a totally different flavor profile, but can fill the void of full body, bitter, hot beverages.

teeccino

Teeccino

Website: Teeccino.com
Where to buy?: Amazon, Official Shop, & Store Locator
Style: French Roast, Mocha, Maya Chai

What is it?: A blend of various plants and herbs. The main ingredients being used are carob, chicory root, nuts, barley, dandelion root, and some nuts and dried fruit. There are many blends available in different packaging. There are some that are gluten free (without the barley), tea bags, loose for drip, and lots of accessories.

Positives: This is 100% caffeine free for anyone who wants it. The drink also comes in various different methods so you can either brew it at home, or have tea bags for on the go. There also many flavors which works well for anyone who might be a picky eater. This brand is also probably the most widely available coffee substitute as I found it at Whole Foods, Wegmans, and small mom-and-pop health food stores. 

Negatives: It is easy to mess up the brewing process. There have been times where I over brewed and had horrible tasting teeccino. Because of this, it isn’t so easy to mix the teeccino with coffee grounds if you are trying to get rid of caffein from your diet. The brew time is less than regular coffee, and you need much less grinds as well. I am also not a huge fan of their push for a caffeine lifestyle as they use very questionable spokes people sometimes.

How to Brew: I’ve tried many methods, and found my favorite is the tea bags and pulling espresso shots. The tea bags make it so you don’t add too much tea to the brew, and you want to use less than the average cup of coffee. Because of this strong flavor, it works perfectly for an espresso machine. I pulled a shot, added it to iced soy milk, and had a yummy latte, though it highlighted the flavors that aren’t as coffee-like.

What it tastes like?: This tastes the most like a cup of coffee. It doesn’t quite taste the same, but if you ever had a coffee-chicory root drink than you have a better idea what this stuff tastes like. It uses various grains and such that give a similar bitter flavor, but they use coffee flavorings which really give it that authentic flavor. Overall if I am craving coffee but don’t want the caffeine, this stuff is pretty satisfying. It is full bodied, full of flavor, and in some ways better than just drinking decaf coffee. Crazy? Maybe.

macaccino3

Macaccino

Website: Macaccino.com
Where to buy?: Amazon, Official Shop, & Store Locations
Style: Original Roasted Maca Blend

What is it?: These are blends of maca root that have been roasted to give a more coffee like flavor. Their original blend uses maca, cocoa, nutmeg, mesquite, and cinnamon, but they have two other blends. Their black reserve uses black, red, and yellow maca root along with beet powder. Their mint has a little dried peppermint leaf.

Positives: Super portable and quick to make. If you like instant coffee (ugh, so bad tasting) this is the coffee replacement for you. Just add hot water, stir, and add any creamers and sugar. Because of the powder form, it makes it easy to make other coffee flavored snacks like lattes, smoothies, and desserts. I also like how this brand promotes the use of other vegan products when making.

Negatives: It is a little gritty overall. I find that towards the end of the cup it gets a little too thick, which could be remedied by adding more hot water. Even when I make my macaccino latte, it still gets a little thick at the bottom.

How to Brew: There is pretty much only one way to “brew” and that is to dissolve the powder. You can use hot water or add mostly soy milk like I do. You can sub any recipe that uses espresso powder with this.

What it tastes like?: Just like the Crio Bru there is something very coffee like that comes from roasting the maca. But you most definitely can taste the maca flavor coming through. There is no way you could just sub the macaccino powder with just maca. As mentioned before, since it is a powder that is mixed with hot water, it does have some off the pitfalls as instant coffee does. But I would think more on par with Starbucks super finely ground instant coffee.


Depending where you are, this recipe roundup is either late or just in time. Anyone on the northern hemisphere is coming out of winter and are probably looking for iced tea recipes. But if you are in the southern hemisphere, you are probably dreaming of hot chocolate and lattes. This post right now is for you guys.

hotchocolate

I usually start these posts by talking about all the recipes as a whole. But truthfully, it is hard to talk about all these recipes and not compare them. Out of all the different styles and techniques, I noticed one ingredient made one hot chocolate shine out of all the others- using chocolate bars. Yes, out of all the different recipes the Luxurious Dairy Free Hot Cocoa from Oh She Glows takes first prize. Why? Well she uses chocolate that isn’t just in a powder form. Using a chocolate bar or even bakers chocolate, she adds a whole lot more dimension to the dessert. That being said, all the other hot chocolate recipes would benefit from using a chocolate bar over cocoa powder. But all the different hot chocolates have their positives.

Hot Cacao with Cinnamon, Coconut + Dates

This sounded super yummy and low in fat. Sometimes I don’t like how rich hot cocoa can be. Emily uses coconut to make the milk base, and uses ginger tea and cinnamon to add flavor. The end result tastes great, I love how you get a kind-of chocolate chai drink. But, I found that even with long blending, the coconut didn’t blend all the way. If I made this again, I would probably toss the coconut in while the tea was brewing.

Bottom Line: A little chunky, maybe pre-soak coconut

Luxurious Dairy Free Hot Cocoa

I love the idea of being able to make hot cocoa from scratch instead of using mixes. Most mixes have dairy in it so why not just make it from scratch? This recipe uses an actual chunk of chocolate, making the drink incredibly rich. And if that isn’t enough, she uses a little cocoa powder as a big double punch. The biggest downside? It makes more than just one serving. I probably have “two servings” and added the rest in a smoothie for my husband to make sure it didn’t go bad.

Bottom Line: Whoa so perfect- hope you have friends to share with

Vegan Nutella Hot Chocolate

I wanted to love this recipe so badly, I mean come on guise?! Nutella AND hot chocolate? Well, it was pretty good, but I think it could of improved. The drink was too bitter, and probably needed a little more sweetener. I probably would of also included some melted chocolate to the recipe, mostly because if the name is going to include nutella, I want it to be RICH!

Positives? The recipe is super easy to cut in half, if you don’t want to make four servings (let’s face it is more like two or three servings). The drink was really smooth, which I liked as well.

Bottom Line: Good, want it to be richer

Vegan Chai Hot Chocolate

This recipe is pretty simple, milk, chocolate, and chai mix. Luckily, it links to another part of the blog that gives a recipe for a homemade chai spice mix. The mix is okay, focusing mostly on ginger, which I though was weird since I smell more cardamom than ginger in chai teas. This is easily overlooked with the final product, I can barely taste the ginger! The recipe is alright, the chai spices give an interesting variation to hot chocolate, but I found myself adding more sweetener to my hot chocolate.

Bottom Line: Not bad, added some sweetness

Raw Maca Maple Hot Chocolate

I feel like I have a sneaking hunch that there might be a misprint in the recipe, because my drink didn’t look like hers and had too much of a chocolate taste. The drink was really bitter, and I found myself adding the max suggested maple syrup AND some liquid stevia. I think if I divided the chocolate in half, meaning 1/8th of a cup for two servings, instead of 1/4th, I would be much happier with this drink. The plus? It was easy to halve, and therefore making only one for me. It is easy to make whenever, just add ingredients and enjoy. I cheated and used store bought coconut milk that is in the refrigerator non-dairy milk section (instead of making a raw-homemade version).

Bottom Line: Too bitter, not enough maca & maple flavors

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate has an nice thick creamy body. It is so thick and creamy from the pumpkin puree, not from fats. The drink isn’t too bitter, but leaves too much open ended with how much to sweeten the drink. I like having defined measurements sometimes, if anything suggested amounts. The overall drink didn’t scream pumpkin or pumpkin spice. In fact, I probably would ditch the pumpkin spice, and just leave as is. The pumpkin got overwhelmed by the chocolate, and I am okay with that. As mentioned the pumpkin did much more for the body and texture of the drink.

Bottom Line: Thick creamy, and delicious


rawbuckwheatcrispies1

I was so excited about this new recipes I posted it RIGHT AWAY. Yup no tweaking, nothing. I had to post it as soon as I could. I pretty much only eat raw foods for breakfast. I don’t like heavy foods in the morning, especially since I don’t have much time to digest before exercising. I’ve been getting bored of smoothies and chia pudding, so I wanted to go back to classic cereal.

I’ve seen a few raw recipes for buckwheat cereal, so I figured I would give it a try. But as most people know, raw foods can be expensive. I always hate tossing the almond pulp from making almond milk. So I figured I would try and make it a binding agent for the cereal. It worked really well.

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I love ice cream. I love fruit pops. I love sorbet, ice cream sandwiches, basically anything that is cold, sweet and creamy. Of coarse that creates issue when you are trying not to eat dairy. Soy, rice, and coconut milk based ice creams pack a lot of sugar and raids your wallet.

Although I own an ice cream maker, I found that making ice cream pops is a quick solution to an ice cream craving. I’ve been trying to also make some raw alternatives, with some awesome results. This week I made some Mexican Avocado Fudgsicles.

The trouble with frozen desserts is that as thing become colder, the flavor isn’t as strong. Which is why so much sugar is added to ice cream, and fruit pops. To sweeten, I used a mix of various sugars; some dried dates, agave syrup, and stevia; in hopes of balancing out flavors. The chipotle powder gives a nice kick, and matches well with the avocados.

I made the mix very thick, to give the pops an ice cream like consistency. This way you can bite into the pop and have it melt in your mouth. If you are too frustrated with your blender, feel free to water down your pops. Just be aware you will dull down the flavors, and taste to before pouring.

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