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When I first discovered Crio Bru I had been on a kick of regular coffee in the mornings. Coffee is amazing, but after drinking it for awhile it can make me feel jittery, hurt my stomach, and mess up my sleep. I like to switch things up sometimes and consume less caffeine by drinking decaf coffee, tea, or Ganoderma coffee.
I was excited when I found Crio Bru, because it's basically caffeine-free and yet still has energizing properties. A win-win, yes? After I tried it I was instantly a fan, because it could be prepared like coffee, didn't hurt my stomach whatsoever, it was delicious, and it didn't make me feel wired or jittery. Way more wins.
If you have been looking for a coffee alternative or caffeine alternative for health reasons, dependency, or because you’d like to try something new, Crio Bru can be a nice alternative. Let me tell you more about it.
What it is
Crio Bru is beverage made from 100% roasted cacao beans, brewed like coffee, enjoyed hot or cold. Crio Bru is named after "Criollo", a cacao bean, that has been consumed as a beverage by indigenous people of Central and South America for centuries. Cacao is 100% gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, soy free, sodium free and sugar free.
Contrary to what some people believe, cocoa/cacao actually contains little to no caffeine. The energy boost comes from theobromine, a natural, more gentle stimulant. It works with your body and instead of giving you a crash like caffeine, it leaves you with a smooth, balanced energy. Crio Bru actually contains less caffeine than decaffeinated coffee.
Theobromine is known for being one of the many compounds naturally found in chocolate, but it’s also in tea, among other plant products. It's still a stimulant that can give side effects, but the difference between caffeine and theobromine is that caffeine affects your central nervous system. Christina Jayson, from Science and Food, says:
"Because caffeine has three methyl groups instead of two like theobromine, it more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. In crossing the blood-brain barrier, caffeine can act on the central nervous system. So while theobromine can act as a heart stimulant and smooth muscle relaxant, caffeine – boasting its extra methyl group – has access to the neurons of the central nervous system and can consequently enhance physical performance and increase alertness."
So basically theobromine can still give you some energy, it's just a different, less intense version than caffeine. The non-energizer bunny version.
-contains little to no caffeine
-contains antioxidants and minerals like magnesium & zinc
-it promotes weight loss (theobromine is a natural appetite suppressant)
-it supports your body and brain chemistry through:
- Anandamide: an endorphin produced after exercise (“bliss chemical”)
- Phenylethylamine: increases focus & alertness
- Serotonin: a neurotransmitter that helps with stress
- Tryptophan: an amino acid that enhances relaxation
-it's 100% gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, soy free, sodium free, and sugar free
-it's delicious if you like chocolate
-it's a stimulant and can give you side effects if you consume too much
-it doesn't give you the same energy & alertness as coffee
-it doesn't taste like coffee
How you prepare it
You can brew it just like coffee. So whether you're into french press, drip, chemex, aeropress...you can make it how you're used to. I prefer using a drip coffee maker on the slow brew setting. Deee-licious.
Don't over-brew. Some people have posted in reviews online to brew it 15+ minutes in a french press and I don't recommend this. It will make it taste slightly more roasted and heavy, but it will also strengthen the effects of theobromine, which can still give you side effects if you consume too much.
What It tastes like
Since Crio Bru is purely cacao beans it tastes similar to a cup of rich, roasted, hot cocoa. However it's not sweet or bitter, just full-bodied and luscious.
Does it actually give you energy?
Yes. Instead of a caffeine jolt that you normally get from coffee, it gives you a calm steady energy that lasts throughout the day. It's not the same punch of energy that you get from coffee and it does not leave you with a crash.
One of my favorite qualities about this drink is that it doesn't make me feel wired. The energy it gives is much less intense than with coffee, but it is still very significant. With it's distinct rich chocolate taste and lesser energy boost, it's not a complete replacement for coffee. Though if you are a chocolate lover or caffeine hater, that might be a good thing.
Crio Bru is a delicious way to spice up your morning beverage routine. I don't drink it regularly, simply because I prefer the taste of decaf/light coffee in the mornings and plus I forget to order it. But it's definitely a great (& delicious) way to mix things up sometimes!