People are often surprised to discover I’m a coffee lover – especially as I regularly give advice on living a healthy lifestyle. In days of yore when I had a ‘proper’ marketing job I used to be a real caffeine addict. I once did a detox and on the afternoon of the first day found myself throwing up with a cracking headache, such was my body’s reaction to caffeine withdrawal. I vowed never to be in its grip to such an extent ever again! Nowadays I limit myself to one coffee in the morning, usually as I’m settling down to work, but it has to be good quality – I don’t do instant!
So when I was sent a sample of Orzo coffee substitute to try I was more than a little sceptical. It’s made from ground and roasted organic barley (orzo is Italian for barley as well as being the name of a type of pasta) and is completely caffeine-free. ‘Italy’s favourite alternative to coffee’ boasts the packet. Italians have an alternative to coffee? I always assumed they had espresso running through their veins! Italy is coffee’s spiritual home. But apparently barley has been used as an alternative to coffee for centuries. Anyway, I was very happy to give it a fair try, as I thought it might be helpful for other folk trying to cut down on their coffee consumption.
I was sent the cafetière version of Orzo, which is prepared in exactly the same way as real coffee. The grounds seemed quite large and firm, much like instant coffee in texture. When brewed it seemed slightly greyer in colour than coffee and I began to think it would be awful. However, I admit I was pleasantly surprised – in fact it was quite a lot like decaff coffee, with a slightly smoky undertaste. My husband Steve really liked it and said he would happily drink it in the evening, when having normal coffee would keep him awake at night.
However, the real test came the next day. With my freelance copywriting/PR hat on I work one day a week in the offices of one of my clients, the Wicked Coffee Company, and took the Orzo in for the professionals to try! The boss took a bit of persuading, but I insisted I wanted an expert opinion. His verdict: “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be”. I think this is a real compliment from a devoted coffee lover who spends all day drinking proper espresso!
In terms of healthy coffee consumption I’d say one cup a day is fine. It kick-starts your metabolism and allegedly has many health-giving properties. But too much is definitely a bad thing and can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, irritability and digestive problems. If you drink lots of coffee you really should think about cutting down – although don’t go cold turkey like I did! Orzo could really help with this, providing a drink that’s almost the same as real coffee but much healthier. If you feel you need frequent hits of coffee to get you through the day you should really be examining the root causes of why you feel so tired and find other ways to increase your energy levels.
For further information on Orzo visit http://www.orzocoffee.co.uk/index.html