Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teeccino: Caffeine Free Herbal Coffee

Warning: This is going to sound like an infomercial. 

I used to drink entirely too much coffee. The first thing I did every morning was brew Italian coffee in my moka. Later in the day, I'd have more coffee or a coffee soda (I love illy's coffee soda and Manhattan Special. I always felt proud that I'd stop drinking caffeinated products by mid-afternoon. What control I had!

And I was always a terrible, terrible sleeper. I'd wake up during the night and wake up ridiculously early. If I didn't have my coffee first thing, I'd have a searing headache and be annoyed all day, even if I eventually drank coffee and tossed back some Tylenol. Traveling was hell because I needed coffee immediately and of course, that wasn't always possible.

Clearly I was addicted.

I decided to try to break myself of the habit. Completely. It took me about two weeks to stop drinking any coffee. Emotionally, I still want it. I meet clients in coffee shops and now order sweet treats instead of the coffee whose delicious scent is everywhere. I tend towards sweets in the afternoon for a sugar pick-me up instead of a caffeinated one. While I deeply desire a beautiful cappuccino, I'm enjoying the effects of not being addicted: Less headaches and better sleeping.

I think I was able to cut the coffee out in part because I continue with the morning routine I've had for years. Every morning I prepare Teeccino in my moka and then sit quietly to drink it before doing anything else.

I started by replacing some of the regular coffee with Teeccino coffee and eventually replaced all of the coffee with Teeccino. Yes, even though I slowly cut back on the coffee, I still had a low-grade headache for days (back to the Tylenol for that period.) Eventually, the headaches faded away.

Teeccino is a combination of barley and fruits, like figs, that are roasted for a coffee flavor. No, it doesn't taste exactly like coffee and no, you wouldn't be able to fool anyone who is a real coffee connoisseur. But, it does the trick.

The grind is a little too fine for the moka (the last sip is grainy), but I can deal with it. The barley coffee is similar to Orzo Bimbo, an Italian, instant barley coffee for kids, but since it isn't instant, the Teeccino is better. The Teeccino also has a more complex flavor than a straight-barley drink.

The company was kind enough to send me some samples so I could try some other flavors that I haven't been able to find in local stores. I was always a purist when it came to coffee, so instead of flavors like vanilla nut, chocolate or hazelnut, my favorite is the Mediterranean Original (see picture above.) Order it here.

Have you tried giving up coffee and caffeinated products (chocolate/sodas)? 

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