Tag Archives: maca

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Since becoming pregnant I’ve been scoping the scene for caffeine free coffee alternatives. Yes, you can have some caffeine while pregnant, and yes, it is probably the safest stimulant to consume during pregnancy. But I drink coffee for flavor, never to wake myself up. This results in some days of me drinking 3 cups of a coffee, and none the next three days. And certain times of the year I really just crave a warm and bitter drink.

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One coffee substitute I found was Macaccino. They are pretty new on the market, and is a blend of roasted maca root with some cinnamon, cocoa, mesquite powder, and nutmeg. I can safely say the taste is unique and isn’t something I could easily whip up on my own. The cool thing is that there is some nice nutritional perks of the blend. One serving has one gram of protein, 2% of the standard calcium recommendations, and 4% of the standard iron recommendations. They even have a super serious breakdown on their website (the number cruncher in me loves all the details!) BTW no hate on coffee- it does have a lot of B2 and B5 vitamins, so isn’t totally helpless.

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When I first got macaccino I follow their directions- suggesting to put a tablespoon in 10 ounces of water, and add creamer and sugar. I didn’t like it so much served like a black coffee. It was a little too gritty for my taste. But I liked the flavors and how it was so easy to make. So it hit me that I should drink it more like a latte! It isn’t the first time I used maca in a latte, but roasting the maca really alters the flavor.

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Since it is fall aka pumpkin spice season, I thought I would break out the pumpkin spice syrup recipe I made a few years ago. Just keep in mind, the syrup proportions are suggested with the homemade pumpkin spice syrup listed below. I have found that the best pumpkin spice lattes are from homemade syrups or coffee shops where they make their own. If you are buying a premade syrup (note clear ones are usually the vegan ones) you may want less. I also used an unsweetened milk because otherwise I find it will get way too sweet.

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I am not huge on featuring a recipe that uses a specific product. I bought Macaccino on my own and really like to drink it this way. This is not a sponsored post, and these are just my honest opinions. I would love to give some alternative options, but as far as I know, there isn’t any equivalent to this yet. I used the original mocha, but they also have a mint and black reserve.

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The other day I was at Whole Foods looking for some Eggnog, they were all out. I was a little crabby because that was pretty much why I went there. So I handle it the way I always do, grab a fancy as fuck drink. I love liquids, something about slurping up a liquid really makes my tummy happy. I also am a sucker for trying out new flavors and companies. I happen to notice a matcha latte, grabbed it and went to the register.

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It has been awhile since I’ve had a matcha latte since it is something I kind-of have to make at home. There aren’t many vegan matcha latte, which then prompted me to flip to read the ingredients- NOT VEGAN. I do that often when I am hungry, as it happened with Califia’s Protein Drinks (which are now vegan). Luckily it was only honey in the matcha latte, which isn’t the worst considering I still have some mixed feeling about honey consumption (I try to avoid it, but my husband doesn’t so it kind-of sneaks into my diet from time to time.) I am pretty bummed since tea drinks love using honey, and it has been proven that it doesn’t have any special effect on your blood sugar levels short term.

BUT the drink itself was amazing. If you are a “plant based” vegan and will still eat honey, I would recommend this drink. There are tons of flavors going on, and the coconut wasn’t overpowering. I loved how much you could taste of the plants in it, and reminded me of the matcha spirulina shakes I have for breakfast. Well, that wasn’t too far off since there is spirulina in the drink as well.

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Since it was so good I went to the Rebbl website to see if all their drinks had honey. Turns out that they only put honey in their matcha latte and turmeric golden-milk. I noticed they had some maca drinks which I haven’t had any maca in a while, and boy do I love it. I am haven’t had it in a while since of the insane prices that happened last year. So I was irresponsible and ran back to the store after work and grabbed whatever they had- maca mocha.

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Let me say this is super amazing. I think I will be poor because I want to drink this all day. There is no coffee or cocoa (or not much cocoa) in the drink, which I think gives it such a great flavor. They use chicory root, which is known in the USA in the south to be mixed with coffee during rations. Carob has a reputation of being crappy fake chocolate, but I like its richer flavor, especially with savory flavors.

I am really liking these drinks and the company seems pretty awesome as well. They seem to trying and make sure all food is fair trade, and they donate 2% of the sales to Not For Sale. I hope I will be able to try their maca cold brew, reishi chocolate, and ashwagandha chai. I am bummed about the use of honey in their matcha latte and turmeric golden-milk since I liked the matcha, and the turmeric drink looks pretty tasty. I really hope they change the recipe at some point, but for now I’ll stick with that maca mocha.

*NOTE* After writing the rough draft I went to Whole Foods AGAIN and found the reishi chocolate. It was awesome as well, and pretty much satisfied any chocolate milk cravings. The drink was super decadent and would probably taste great if it was gently heated to make a hot chocolate. Although it was super awesome, it was a dynamic in flavor as the matcha or maca mocha drinks.


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.

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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


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I am sure many of you have been reading blog posts about how cold it has been on the northern hemisphere. On the East Coast of the United States we’ve been stuck in the coldest weather for the past two weeks. I am loving it, but I am craving creamy and hot drinks non-stop.

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Saturday there was the largest “snow storm” we’ve had all winter. Granted that isn’t saying much since, even though it has been cold, it hasn’t snowed much. During Saturday I just laid down on the couch with a blanket over me. I switched out from reading, watching the snow fall, and drinking this yummy latte.

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I don’t want to seem like I should take credit for this drink. I actually saw that Fragrant Vanilla Cake made a Raw Maca Maple Hot Chocolate, and tried it out. I didn’t really like it. I mean it TASTED good, but I had an image already set in my mind. So I figured I would make it the way I wanted it.

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I am slightly hesitant to share this recipe since there is a maca shortage. The price for maca is CRAZY! I managed to buy a bag of it before the prices really spiked, and you can sometimes find some cheaper priced packages on Amazon

macamaple4 Continue reading