Being a coffee lover (and addicted), I find it very difficult to adapt to any alternatives, but I am also a food scientist and a naturally curious person, so, even if I think I might hate a product, I still give it the benefit of the doubt and try it. I try to keep an open mind when talking about coffee alternatives. Even though I haven’t tried any yet, I am sure I might like some of them.
But let’s talk about the reason why coffee alternatives might be needed. Coffee is widely consumed thanks to its energising effect, aroma, and caffeine content. However, overconsumption of caffeine can be concerning for some. This is why coffee alternatives are developed, and here you will read about some of them:
Chicory root ‘coffee’
Dried and ground Chicory root blended with coffee is a strategy to reduce the caffeine content of a coffee. Historically even Napoleon aimed at replacing coffee with chicory root, and nowadays, France (with Belgium and the Netherlands) is one of the worlds’ primary producers of chicory. It is worth mentioning that chicory root is used as a healthier alternative to coffee, and it also contains inulin which is a powerful prebiotic and can contribute to our gut health.
Not only chicory roots. Nowadays, many new blends and alternatives are being developed too.
Based on upcycled ingredients, Atomo, a US company, produces a blend of chicory root, date seeds, and grape seeds, their alternative to coffee has a decreased bitterness that some might not like (however, most of my Italian friends like coffee because of its bitterness. I guess that the US market prefers something a bit less bitter).
Mushroom beverages are not a surprise. Specific mushrooms were used for medicinal purposes for centuries, and there is also evidence of the use of mushroom beverages as an alternative to coffee during World War II when coffee beans were not easily available.
Mushroom coffee alternatives are a good strategy if you aim at cutting the amount of caffeine you ingest per day or if you are curious about trying other functional beverages. I would be very interested in trying a mushroom cappuccino with oat milk.
Would the combination work taste and flavour-wise?
If you are curious to try some, here you can find several blends from London Nootropic. I haven’t tried this product yet but it looks very promising!
Although not necessarily used as a coffee alternative, these beans contribute to reproducing coffee flavour thanks to their composition in pyrazines, pyrroles, and pyridines. These are the compounds present in roasted Aduki beans and are also responsible for coffee’s pleasant aroma and flavour.
Adzuki beans are produced in Asian countries, and if you happen to go to a Japanese Starbucks, you might be able to order an Adzuki Frappuccino.
Now that I have given you these little hints let’s start the hunt and look for available products to taste. If you already know about brands that produce alternative beverages that are coffee-like, feel free to mention them in the comment box below.