April 15, 2013

Review : Teeccino Herbal Coffees and TeeChia Cereal

  • Type : Nutrition / hydration
  • Use : Coffee replacement / breakfast cereal
  • Price : Varies / $0,50 - $12

Introduction
Let’s clear something up right away: I’m a coffee drinker, and I like the good stuff. I think that one of the most amazing taste experiences you can have is a black, single-shot espresso in a Milan coffee shop. So when Teeccino offered to send me samples of their coffee alternative products… I was far from convinced I was the right guy for the job. To make sure I could provide a sound opinion on the products, I recruited a decaffeinated coffee expert and herbal tea enthusiast, and mixed her comments with mine.

I received a sampling of single-serve “Tee-Bags”, herbal coffee pouches for home brewing and chia-based breakfast cereal. What got me first was the healthy side of these products, as everything is natural and organic, has no added sugars or chemical ingredients and is gluten-free.

For the sake of clarity, let me present each product line separately.


Herbal Coffee
Although the product is herbal and packaged in a tea bag, it is meant to be a natural replacement for coffee and is separated into two flavor types. “Mediterranean” is a fruitier, sweeter-tasting blend, while “Maya” sticks closer to the bold, slightly acidic taste of real coffee. As a coffee lover, I preferred the latter, with “French Roast” being my favorite. My helper conquered, but was more enthusiastic than me about flavored blends like “Hazelnut” (which is not bad, I have to say) and “Vanilla nut”.

As a coffee replacement, this is much closer to the real taste of coffee than other herbal products I have tried, and definitely more palatable. I had never come across a coffee replacement that I would actually enjoy before, so Teeccino definitely impressed me in that perspective. The “Tee-Bag” format is also very practical for cubicle-dwellers like me, as all you need to brew your beverage is hot water.

Herbal Coffee Pouches
This is a granular, powdered version of the “Tee-Bag”. Since I am a dude, said my co-tester, I didn’t bother reading the instructions on the pouch and used a similar quantity of the powder as I would have for ground coffee in my Moka pot. My eyeballs almost jumped off my face. The mix was so strong and concentrated that I had to throw it away. After some experimenting, I figured that a 4:1 ratio works best (1/4th the quantity of Teeccino mix for ground coffee of equivalent strength) for my taste. I was impressed to see that the herbal mix provided a bit of crema (the creamy foam on top of good espresso), something I did not expect. For science, we also brewed the mix in a drip-coffeemaker with decent results (none of the testers like coffee made in a drip machine anyway).

There’s something really neat about the granular format: you can use the mix WITH ground coffee to either alter the flavor or reduce the caffeine content of your caffeinated beverage. I think Teeccino’s taste is good enough to actually complement a coffee, and not ruin its taste. And that speaks a lot for the product.


TeeChia Cereal Mixes
This is a field where I hold a bit more significant experience; I regularly consume pinole (fine-ground corn) and hemp oatmeal for breakfast. TeeChia offers a mix of rolled oats, seeds and dried fruits, mainly in two different flavors: blueberry and cranberry. The preparation is straightforward enough: add hot water and mix.

Although the quality of the product is undeniable, I found myself reaching over for the maple syrup to add a little flavor to my morning mix. This is truer for the cranberry mix, as the blueberry-flavored one is stronger in taste and, in my opinion, better. However, TeeChia is a great base to add dried fruits, nuts or other goodies for a wholesome, healthy breakfast. It packs a good nutrition punch, too, with its 6g of protein, antioxidant content and 6g of dietary fiber.

Conclusion
If you are trying to decrease your coffee intake or cease it altogether, Teeccino is definitely something you should check out. I won’t go as far as say you’d mistake it for coffee, but I don’t think this is the product’s point anyway. Teeccino presents a rich roasted flavor typical of what you like from a good coffee, while offering many health benefits worth considering. The French Roast, in my opinion, is a clear cut above the rest in terms of taste and overall value.

TeeChia cereal packs a lot of nutrition and healthy ingredients in a small, easy-to-carry packet. As a commuting runner, this is a good, simple breakfast option. And at about $2 per serving, it’s very reasonably priced compared to other healthy options.



High points
  • Organic ingredients
  • Healthy nutritional content
  • Reasonable price per portion
  • Many packaging options

Low points
  • Dosage of the powdered Teeccino takes a bit of getting used to
  • You might want to slice a banana or sprinkle dried strawberries to add to your TeeChia




The material for this personal review was supplied by Teeccino free of charge, without any conditions.

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