Teeccino: a Tea Worthy of your Coffee Cup?

January 26, 2010
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Last week, OO’s We Try it So You Don’t Have To” series took a look at Red Espresso, an “espresso-ground tea” that is supposed to be enjoyed like coffee. Now OO takes another look at another tea that thinks it’s a coffee, Teeccino.

Last week, I reviewed Red Espresso, a tea that aims to replace your coffee . . .not necessarily in taste, but in richness of its (very different) flavor, robustness, and ritual (i.e., you make it in your coffee maker).

There’s another company that is doing something similar in that it wants to replace your coffee with a tea-based product. The main difference? Teeccino Caffe is taking a more direct grab at coffee drinkers. Not only do you make the product using your “coffee toys,” as I like to call them, Teeccino actually tries to simulate the flavor profile of coffee.

Similar to Red Espresso, Teeccino touts the healthy benefits that tea actively provides, even as it seeks to help ween your caffeine habit. The mostly- (or in some cases all-) organic ingredients purport to provide a consumer with potassium, soluble fiber, natural energy, reduced acidity, and improved digestion. The ingredients used to make the tea include ramon nuts, carob, barley, chicory, dates, figs, and almonds.

Okay, but, really . . . tea that tastes like coffee? A company representative was kind enough to supply me with four samples so I could test just that. I specifically requested the flavors that tasted “most like coffee.”

I fired up all four of the samples in various coffee brewing apparatuses, and found the results surprising in several ways.

So — does it taste like coffee? Well, yes and no. All of the flavors I tried hit some coffee-like notes. The “Java” flavor came closest overall; when served black, it’s sort of like a higher-quality “diner coffee.” Quite pleasant, with some sweetness and fig flavor. Also with a bit of a bite, but not matching true coffee’s robustness. The “Mocha” was actually really interesting; when black, it tasted heavy of its carob component, and I liked it fine. But when sweetened and mixed with milk, it took on some coffee-like qualities, masking most of the carob. This is the kind I’d recommend to people that prefer their coffee with sweetener and cream.

So — can it replace coffee for coffee drinkers? Well, sure. Depends on how much you want to quit coffee. Admittedly, you are giving up something, because it just doesn’t wholly match that lovely coffee flavor profile, especially what master roasters are doing these days, with their increasingly careful blends and carefully sourced single-origin products.

Like Red Espresso, Teeccino is kind of its own thing. The admittedly tenuous analogy I came up with goes something like this:

Coffee is to Teeccino as Milk is to Soy Milk. Some similar applications (you can add both to cereal or a hot beverage), but not the same thing.

Coffee is to Red Espresso like Milk is to Orange Juice. Just plain different, even though you typically drink both for breakfast.

I hope readers can see where I am coming from.

For me, coffee is irreplaceable. However, Teeccino, is an ingenious product in that it can hit some of the same notes. Personally, it’s not an every day beverage, but an interesting occasional change-up to help mitigate my caffeine consumption. It’s certainly a nice after-dinner drink.

THE RESULT: I think many people will find it to their liking, or, at the very least, interesting. I wholly endorse at least giving it a shot to see if it’s for you.

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