The RainyDayKitchen folks have looked at a lot of coffee-related gear over the years, tasting all kinds of coffee products and trying all different ways of making coffee. So we think we have a good handle on the subject 😉
Never to pass up an opportunity to extend our knowledge of morning get-up-and-go options, we checked out CRIO Bru and this “cacao thing.” After looking around their online store, the most logical choice was the “Welcome Starter Set”.
Welcome Starter Set includes:
Cacao you say? Some of us weren’t paying attention and thought everyone was talking about “brewed cocoa,” which to our mind was “hot chocolate.” While cocoa and cacao are similar (and have all the same letters), they are not the same (change the order of TWO letters and boom, it’s something else). Cocoa is an ingredient in chocolate; cacao is the seed from which chocolate is made.
Why Cacao? Brewed cacao, unlike coffee, is 99.9% caffeine free, but contains theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant. While related to caffeine, theobromine’s stimulatory effects (wha?) is milder and longer lasting than caffeine.
Also, cacao is kind of a “superfood.” Raw cacao contains high levels of flavonoids, which have been shown to boost heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, insulin resistance and blood pressure. Cacao is also rich in both magnesium and iron. AND, it is also a good source of protein, potassium, essential fatty acids, calcium, chromium, zinc and sulphur. Who knew? Well, a lot of people did, just not us 🙂
A delicious aroma of chocolate filled the air when we opened the package. The bag is lined and resealable, which keeps the product fresher longer. We are not sure how long an open bag will keep, but judging by how great it smells, we are pretty sure all of its contents will be gone before we’ll ever find out.
The grounds have a powdered chocolate appearance, but they don’t dissolve when put into boiling water. There are many ways to prepare and enjoy brewed cacao, many of which are listed on the Crio Bru site.
We decided to follow their directions for the French Press method printed right on the bag:
- 8 oz boiling water
- 2 tablespoons of grounds
- stir and let steep for 8 minutes
- stir and wait 2 minutes more
- press and serve
The chocolatey smell of the Crio Bru is just fantastic. Unlike coffee, the drink has a much thinner mouth-feel and a different taste profile: not like that of cocoa, but definitely a hint of chocolate. Also unlike coffee, there is none of astringent bite or oiliness of coffee. Folks who enjoy those qualities will have to recalibrate their expectations…but we think it will be well worth it.
We found the effects of our first cup to be stimulating without any jittery side effects. The one cup lasted well into late morning. Caffeine is water-soluble, enters the body quicker, and it effect is felt faster. Theobromine takes longer to kick in because it is fat-soluble (which takes longer for the body to process), but the “pick me up” feeling lasts longer, and without the spike and valley of a cup of coffee.
We’ll drink this for a few weeks, try out other flavors, brewing methods, etc., and report back. Crio Bru’s brewed cacao…we are liking it so far!!!
Links to items mentioned: