Ok, let’s talk about herb coffee. Why did I put it with the teas? Because herb coffee doesn’t contain any actual coffee. It’s also caffeine free, and has a lighter flavor. It’s basically a coffee-flavored herbal tea made from roasted grain. Some brands, you brew like tea or coffee. Other brands act like instant coffee, and you stir them into your hot water.
I picked up a brand from a hispanic health food store and couldn’t read the instructions nor the ingredients. I thought all herb coffees were instant coffee, and treated it as such. It tasted alright, but left clumps at the bottom of my cup.
I found out later from a friend whose first language is Spanish. I had acquired some Roma, a much better brand, and got tired of the other stuff. When I gave it to her, she read the label. I found out I was supposed to brew the herb coffee, and that it was made from wheat. No wonder it didn’t taste as good.
Roma is, as far as I have come by so far, the best brand of herb coffee. When I stayed in Canada, I found a brand that tasted just like Roma. The brand is Cafix, if I remember correctly. It even looked like Roma, was held in a similar container, and had the same ingredients.
Just about everything about Roma makes it the best that I’ve come by so far. It’s made in Germany. Ok, maybe it might seem like a personal bias (or maybe it is), considering that I’m about half German, but I also read and watch a lot of WWII stories and documentaries, when I can, and discovered “ersatzkaffee“ was regularly consumed in Germany. Of course, other countries and even Native Americans have their own versions of herb coffee, but so far I like the German version best. It’s made with barley and chicory, so is Cafix.
Roma tastes like coffee, but lighter and more bearable. In reality, I don’t like coffee. The caffeine content, along with the sugar and milk or cream that I had to add to it (back when I drank real coffee, I also drank real milk and used real cream), gave me severe stomach ache and headaches and kept me up all night. Really, I felt like I was going to die at times. It was easy for me to give it up. I don’t need to put quite as much sugar or almond/soy/coconut milk in herb coffee, and can even drink it just with honey. Black is still a little too strong for me though.
A little herb coffee—and instant versions such as Roma and Cafix are best for this—can be added to carob to make it taste more like chocolate. And a little added to a cup of hot carob can turn that carob to taste more like hot chocolate, but better (in my opinion). It’s also good for adding to carob when baking.
Now, I think the best way to have my Roma is the same way I’d have coffee—except now veganized—with raw or organic sugar and almond, soy, or coconut milk. I also like to add a liquid caramel flavoring sometimes. It’s delicious. I also like to add carob powder to it for a “mocha” effect (a little carob powder to a lot of roma for that kind of effect, a lot of carob powder to a little roma for the “hot chocolate” effect. I like to add a lot of vegan, nondairy milk to make a latte.
It’s also delicious iced or prepared and refrigerated.