Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quitting Caffeine with Dandy Blend

I spent last week up to my eyeballs in notecards. Usually, my frantic last minute studying is accompanied by a large cup of coffee or three, but this week I traded in my mocha for an herbal substitute c/o Dandy Blend. 

*I was sent Dandy Blend for review. As always, this does not affect my opinion of the product or company in any way. You can read my full disclosure here.

Dandy Blend is a instant herbal coffee substitute made from dandelion, chicory and beets, and the grains of barley and rye (but it is gluten free!). Personally, I've been trying to reduce my caffeine intake after speaking with my doctor about the potential drug interactions of caffeine with my prescription (yes, that can be bad!). Not only is dandy blend caffeine free, it's got some pretty awesome ingredients and a similar taste to coffee. Dandy blend stated, "It is the only herbal coffee substitute in the US that features both the health benefits of dandelion root and the rich, full-bodied flavor, smoothness and texture of real coffee. Many say that, because it lacks bitterness and acidity, it actually tastes better than coffee." It comes in powder form in a variety of sizes from single serving to a 2 lb bag. I was a little worried that the bag wouldn't close well enough (zip lock style) and I would end up spilling the fine powder, but I haven't had any problems.

The Benefits: 
Well, as a self professed health nut, I sat down to research before sipping. The more I search, the better it sounded. Studies show anti-cancer properties, improved liver function, and benefits to the digestive system. Some take dandelion root to treat constipation, indigestion, acid reflux, and support the gallbladder and pregnancy and postpartum health. The company's website also notes, "It contains over 50 trace minerals in each cup, most of which the body uses to help synthesize compounds needed in metabolism.

*While the ingredients are natural and herbal, they may still have side effects or drug interactions, as is true with any supplement. If you have any concerns it is best to discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor or pharmacist. 

To Use: 
Dandy blend comes in a very fine powder that mixes into hot water as instant coffee would. The powder dissolved almost instantly and smoothly (none of that gritty sort of texture some mix-ins have). The first thing I noticed was the scent. It wasn't like coffee, and smelled sort of burnt, but not very strong at all. The scent faded quickly, and was unnoticeable after adding cream or any other mixers. Whether it be coffee or dandy blend, I brew it up nice and hot, but drink so incredibly slowly that its cold before I'm done. While the dandy blend powder did seem to settle a little once it got cold, a little stir or shake put me right back in business. If you're like me, you might be surprised that dandy blend tastes pretty great even after you've let it get cold, which I've never been able to say the same of my coffees.  

To brew, I boil up some water- or not if you'd like it cold!- and mix in the powder. You can drink it as it is or add whatever sort of flavoring or mixers you'd like (I'm partial to french or coconut vanilla cream!). More or less powder can be added to vary the strength of the brew. I like just about a tablespoon in my travel mug, but you may have to play around with the measurements to find your favorite. Just about two tablespoons seems to give the closest coffee flavor, while one is closer to tea and more that two is like an espresso. No matter how much I added, it mixed in smooth and never seemed gritty. Because dandy blend lacks the bitterness of coffee I've found I use much less cream than usual, which means less calories if you're counting. 

(Went overboard with the cream this cup! Apparently pictures and pouring is too much for me.)

The Results: 
I loved that dandy blend gave me something to sip on without the jitters coffee gives me. It didn't hurt that I could get the health benefits of each ingredient without adding any more steps to my day or diet. The taste was similar to coffee, but not the same. I would imagine someone who drinks lighter roasts or adds cream would have a pretty easy time making the switch. For those fans of black coffee or dark roasts, the taste might take some getting used to. The benefits of dandy blend could be seen as a drawback to some- if you're looking for the swift kick in the butt coffee gives you, this brew's smooth taste and lack of caffeine might not be for you. On the other hand, it's good for you, low calorie, helps with a variety of health concerns, and is a great option for those looking to ditch the coffee habit. Dandy blend also provides a few great recipes for you to try! You can check them out here. Though like I said, I've grown partial to a simple splash of flavored cream. 

The Short Story: 
-Health benefits
-Comes in a powder, mixes quickly 
-Can be enjoyed hot or cold
-If you need flavor, doesn't require as much as coffee for similar taste
-Great option for those looking to quit coffee or reduce their intake
-Variety of sizing options from single serving packets to a 2 lb bag (about 7 cents a cup!)
-Find a store near you here.

So am I ditching coffee forever? Well, probably not. Part of what I enjoy of coffee is the experience. Because I don't drink it every day, the local coffee shops are a favorite stop of mine. I do enjoy sipping dandy blend through my afternoon and evening classes (and that I can come home from them and sleep!). I'm also impressed with how long the bag has been lasting. For those who can't have caffeine or want to quit or cut back on coffee, this would be a great option!

What is your go to drink for the winter months?

1 comment:

  1. great blog ! Would you like to follow each other ?