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Coffee Substitutes?

Hi. I drink a lot of coffee (4 - 6 cups a day). I've been pounding it down for the past 20 years or so - I've worked in software development all these years and my favorite joke has been "my body converts caffeine directly to source code." Anyhow, I have an interest now in either replacing it or finding a way of diluting the caffeine in coffee. Yeah, I know about green tea and decaf coffee but my body doesn't handle tea well (tummy aches) and decalf tastes so bland! Does anybody out there in the chow universe have any clever suggestions regarding either (a) coffee replacements or (b) ways of diluting coffee with some other substance to make it less caffeinated?

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  1. I have heard there is a cup that removes caffeine from coffee that is in development and should be avaiilable soon. I wish I had more info as it sounds like an interesting concept.

      1. re: luniz

        Yep, at home we mix our beans half and half (Decaf French Roast and Regular Double Dark both from Trader Joe's) and when I get drip coffee I usually mix regular and decaf in the cup.

        High end decaf doesn't taste bland anymore, I find. I just go to better coffee shops and the beans from TJs are quite good I think, for the money.

        You can drink your 4 cups and end up with only 2 worth of caffeine.

        1. re: ccbweb

          I buy the best beans I can find and use 1 oz per batch in a "10 Cup" drip brewer. Its on the light side but I use halfnhalf to make the mouth feel rich. I don't miss the upset stomach that comes from brewing it strong, either. It helps me keep within my budget too.

      2. Four to six cups of coffee a day .. Wow! You must have a very "caffeinated" personality akin to Robin Williams perhaps? Just kidding, just kidding. Anyhow, you can try POSTUM, but I think it might leave you craving to read source code in binary. It's definitely an option to explore, but I would mix it with a "shot" of coffee for good measure. Postum is a very acquired taste.

        Look ---> http://jeffwerner.ca/2004/12/postum_c...
        Read some of the comments on the first page or so for more suggestions.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cheese Boy

          Great link, cheese_boy! Here's a funny excerpt:

          "But so Postum isn’t really anything to write home about. The bottle is a turn-off for one: it looks like some sort of Metamucil or related geriatric bowel enhancer, and it’s got this really dated colour scheme (yellow, red and sea-sick blue) and typography, and a very clogged-colon-looking illustration of two people on a bike ride in some southern marsh. You never see Postum advertised and it’s always on a remote top shelf at the end of the coffee aisle, just one little column of jars for at least $8 a piece and never on sale."

          1. re: GermanShepherdPuppy

            All that was hilarious, but oh so true. What's ironic is, after all that product bashing, the person admits to drinking it and being a loyal customer.

            1. re: GermanShepherdPuppy

              I began drinking Postum in the 1950's with my grandmother, and I still drink it, today. In fact, I had my daughter pick up the last two jars off the store counter in her neighborhood, today. It's not something we drank everyday like tea or coffee. Instead, it's treated more like a hot cereal. So, we drank it maybe once-per-week. The label you refer to is nothing like the one that we've always had on our shelves. Instead, the label's blue and white with a picture of a cup of postum on the front. Like many foods\beverages (avocado, mango, kiwi, lobster, pasteles, coffee., etc.), you must acquire a taste for Postum. In fact, I don't like coffee. However, I have drank original Sanka, when I felt the need for a warm beverage but tea, hot chocolate nor postum was available. If anyone starts a compaign to bring it back to the shelves, I will gladly write a letter to help. Like everything else, when the younger people take over managing companies, they begin the cut what does not interest them. If Kraft does not bring back Postum, I will stop buying their other products, and my grandson loves their boxed mac & cheese. (Frankly, my homemade one is better.)

          2. Hot chocolate has much less caffeine and is very satisfying. Make your own with Hershey's syrup and low fat/skim milk.

            1. Look into yerba mate. It's not tea, but it's an herbal brew, so not sure how you'd handle it.

              When brewed stongly, it has a similar (but not as harsh) caffeine buzz. It's easier on the stomach, and has antioxidant benefits. It tastes sorta like a coarse green tea.

              You can buy teabags of the stuff as a gateway, but the hardcore South American way to do it to have a bag of loose leaf, thermos of hot water, a hollowed out dried gourd, and a straw-like thing with a fine sieve end to sip it through. There's a whole mate break ritual of preparing the drink that's not unlike rolling a joint (that it, the preparation before the partaking) and passing the cup among friends.

              1. Be careful GermanSP of the boomerang affect of cutting back on caffeine too quickly ie: nasty headaches, irritability, a feeling of exhaustion. Have you tried switching to 50% caffeine beans or what is now labeled "light" or a lighter brew or 2 cups a day...

                If you aren't a tea drinker Chai might not satisfy you, but consider trying that as well.

                I'm not a fan of decaff; also find it bland but cutting back and choosing lighter bean varieties did help me. (btw-diluted coffee sounds awful)

                1. Teeccino. It's an herbal "coffee." Brews just like regular coffee (I use a Melitta filter for a cup at a time); comes in a bunch of flavors. Not an exact substitute for coffee, but pretty good, and a damn sight better than Postum. If you Google it, you'll probably land right at their website.

                  You might also try dandelion root tea - it's similar to coffee in that it's dark and bitter and has a nice roasty flavor. It took a bit of getting used to, but now I quite like it. There's no tea of any kind in it (it's just roasted dandelion roots), so not likely to bother your stomach.

                  I like coffee, but it's too much caffeine for me, so I never became a habitual coffee-drinker. Tea, on the other hand...

                  1. I have not been to Italy for at least 15 years but I remember a beverage that I think was called Orzo (not the pasta or the orzata syrup) that was a coffee substitute. It was sold in an instant form and also as brewed like regular coffee in a Moka pot on the stove. I think it was a derivative of barley as opposed to Postum which is wheat based. Does anyone know what I'm talking about or know of a source. I've tried to find information on the internet but have not had any luck. I remember it being quite tasty, caffine free, and a great coffee substitute. We do buy Postum as my husband drinks it but I am an espresso fiend and can't stomach the taste of Postum.

                    1. i was a 4-6 cupper too, and am now a proud 2-3 cupper :-)

                      to wean myself off, I started brewing espresso grinds like coffee -- started with fresh beans that were 50/50 reg and decaf. If I started with good beans, the taste difference wasn't too noticable.

                      Eventually I returned to 2-3 cups of regular, but it was a good way for me to be able to maintain the volume and reduce the caffiene in take.

                      Are you trying to reduce your caffeine intake? if not, iced tea can help a lot. if so, you might want to go hard core and try drinking water once a day

                      1. Have you ever tried white tea? I tmight not bother your stomach like other teas. And it tastes great.

                        1. To Germanshepherdpuppy: Before giving up on decaf, try the Hispanic brands. We find them much more full-flavored than the Anglo kind. Try Goya decaf if you can get it and make it on the strong side---experiment with a few pots. You may get a happy surprise.

                          1. Drink espresso. It has less caffeine than drip coffee because the beans are in contact with the water for less time, but it is very strong and rich. You can have an Americano which is espresso diluted in hot water.

                            1. You can also try Pu-erh Tuo Cha. Basically, steamed tea leaves are packed into a disk shaped mold. The idea was to preserve the tea. I have recently tried my first Pu-erh. It brews up dark and has some of the earthy-chocolate notes coffee can have. With sugar and creamer, its not far from coffee in aroma. The processing takes out the floral notes and leaves a little smokey flavor thats very pleasant.
                              BTW what is our obsession with smoke flavoring? Deep memories of the cave and the long house?