Monday, January 17, 2011

Teeccino Herbal Coffee giveaway and How I kicked my caffeine habit

A long time ago, caffeine and I used to be friends, but now we are enemies. I had to kick my caffeine habit last February. I have been caffeine-free for almost a year now :-)

Caffeine is a benign chemical (alkaloid) that is well-tolerated by most people. It is a very popular legal psychoactive stimulant that is consumed all over the world. I grew up in a family that didn't allow kids to have any caffeinated beverages (besides tea), because they thought that kids were hyper enough already. I had my first glass of Coca Cola when I was 10 or 11 years old, and my first cup of coffee when I was 17. During my childhood Coca Cola was more of a treat during birthdays, holidays and other occasions, not a diet staple like in other families. When I was 17 years old, I became addicted to Nescafé instant coffee with milk and sugar. I loved the taste and I enjoyed the caffeine lifts that my morning and afternoon coffee provided, but I hated the jittery feelings after. However, my desire for a cup of delicious coffee was stronger than all the unpleasant feelings that followed after. As a teenager, there were times that I would go to a party and drink about 8 bottles of Red Bull Energy drinks during one night. My heart was racing and I was all bursting with energy, but I didn't feel bad. When I moved to USA, I started to drink more brewed coffee instead of the instant coffee, and quite a lot of soda, including Coca Cola and Mountain Dew that are both high in caffeine. When I became a vegan I learnt to like my coffee black, or with some soy creamer, coconut creamer, or almond milk.

Unfortunately, I became very sensitive to caffeine over the years. I started to feel very drowsy in the morning, alert after a cup of coffee and then drowsy again, but too wired up to sleep. I started to have irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), chest pains and anxiety. I was nervous, my stomach was upset and I experienced frequent heartburn. Last February I made a strong cup of instant coffee and about 20 minutes after I thought that I was having a heart attack, which turned out to be a panic attack. That experience was so painful and horrifying that I decided to kick my caffeine habit for good. I quit cold turkey.

I started to drink a lot of herbal, fruit or decaf green teas.

For the next few weeks I suffered from horrible caffeine withdrawal, such as headaches, irritability and fatigue. I was extremely tired all day, especially in the mornings. Few weeks later I started to feel better. I stopped feeling foggy. I wasn't a zombie in the morning anymore and I started to have more energy. However, I had strong coffee cravings so I decided to try decaf coffee for a while. That didn't work because the decaf coffee gave me heartburn. Not to mention, decaffeinated coffee isn't always 100% caffeine-free. It may contain 3 - 6 mg caffeine per 6 ounces cup. Since last February I have been on a mission to find a good tasting coffee alternative that would not give me heartburn.

So far I found these two brands that I really like.

This natural caffeine-free coffee alternative looks and smells just like a regular ground coffee. When it comes to taste, it is very similar to coffee, but I would say it tastes even better than coffee. It slightly reminds me of New Orleans’ chicory style coffee.

I brew Teeccino Herbal Coffee in my French press. It brews just like a regular coffee. This herbal coffee is non acidic so it does not cause a heartburn. It contains prebiotic-inulin from chicory root that improves digestion and intestinal health. It also contains a heart-healthy potassium and soluble fiber. Teeccino comes in many varieties and flavors, plus light, medium and dark roast. I personally prefer the light and medium roasts.

I have been buying the Mediterranean variety in Almond Amaretto, Hazelnut, and Original flavors at my local Whole Foods Market for several months now. They don't have a big selection at my Whole Foods Market, but Teeccino has tons of other flavors and varieties online. They were so nice and sent me some samples of other flavors to try.

Some of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean varieties are organic carob, organic barley, organic chicory, organic dates, almonds and figs. The Original flavor contains organic orange peel, the Almond Amaretto has natural amaretto flavor and the Chocolate Mint has organic cocoa, peppermint oil and organic peppermint leaves. The Mediterranean variety is slightly sweet so I don’t feel like I need too much sugar in it. I liked all the flavors, except for the Chocolate Mint. Maybe it is because I was never a big fan of Chocolate Mint ice cream and other stuff with that flavor.

The Maya varieties have similar ingredients, plus organic ramon nuts that have been wild-crafted in Guatemala, from a small family farmers. The Maya herbal coffee varieties that I tried were Caffe, Chai (with organic ginger and organic cardamom), and Chocolate (with organic chile flakes).

They also have some flavors in convenient tea bags that brew just like a tea, but taste like coffee.


They have a great suggestion for kicking the caffeine habit- Mix 3/4 regular coffee to 1/4 Teeccino. Then gradually decrease coffee and increase Teeccino until you are caffeine-free.

Another great coffee alternative is Pero. Pero is an American name for European brand Caro). I have been drinking Caro ever since I was a little kid. I was thrilled to found it in USA after I moved here. The name is different here, but the ingredients are the same (barley, malted barley, chicory and rye). Pero is an instant all natural beverage that tastes very good. It is very easy to prepare since it dissolves instantly in hot water. I don’t like it plain though, I only drink it with milk (almond or coconut) and sugar. That way it tastes amazing and reminds me of my childhood. I buy Pero at my local Whole Foods.

I decided to share 5 of my Teeccino Herbal Coffee trial sizes (each brews 6 cups) with one lucky reader.

I will pick one random comment on January 31st, Monday evening. There are several ways to enter this giveaway, but you have to leave a comment for each option to count, if you leave one big comment with everything in it, it will only count as one. The more comments, the better the chances are to win.

Mandatory entry:

# Leave a comment telling what is your favorite coffee alternative or if you prefer real coffee.

Extra entries:

# Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment that you did or that you already were a follower

# Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Follow Teeccino on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment that you did (1 tweet per day is allowed). Include @CzechVeganBlog and @Teeccino in the tweets.

# "Like" Czech Vegan in America on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# "Like" Teeccino on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Mention this giveaway, with the link, in a blog post, and leave a link to the post in a comment

# For extra 5 entries-make any recipe from Czech Vegan in America blog, and blog about it. Leave 5 separate comments for the entries.


  1. How cool! I didn't even know these kinds of coffee alternatives existed. I JUST started drinking coffee- I became a nurse, haha. But I still prefer loose-leaf tea. By the way, caffeine also causes PVC's (premature ventricular contractions), which are almost like skipped heartbeats that you can see on an EKG monitor. Fun stuff!

  2. Oh, and I'm a blog follower... yay!

  3. I recently gave up tea and coffee too (it's been almost three weeks now). I also got those really scary heart palpitations, and fluttering too. I'd been drinking black tea for a really long time, but it was only in the last 3 months that the palpitations started. Heh - that might be due to drinking 4-6 cups of tea a day!

    It also meant giving up sugar and agave too since I like my tea sweet. This is a good thing because it seems that both the sugar and the tea have been contributing to some other health issues, like amemia (there are things in black tea that inhibit both iron and calcium absorption.) I do pine a bit for the taste of Earl Grey, my favourite tea, though I don't miss thinking I'm gonna have a heart attack :\

    I too like the Teechino, though I've not tried the Maya line. I usually stick to Mocha, though I'm thinking of trying the French Vanilla when my current bag runs out. I also really like the instant "coffee" Caf-Lib makes, and they just came out with a line of French press brews like Teechino's. The first instant "coffee" I tried years ago was called Orzo Bimbo (yes, that's the name!) from Italy. I think I like that one the best.

  4. I'm a black coffee drinker through and through. But, I did try Teeccino a few years back and thought it was tasty! Am I weird for liking coffee for the taste though and not the caffeine?

  5. Well, I must admit, I'm a real coffee lover. But good for you for giving it up! I while back, I used Teeccino and I got really into it. I should try it again.

  6. I follow your blog via GFC and Google Reader.

  7. I follow you on Twitter (@TanyaTheViolist)

  8. I now follow Teeccino on Twitter (@TanyaTheViolist)

  9. Tweeted! (@TanyaTheViolist)!/TanyaTheViolist/status/27527665678286849

  10. I just followed Teeccino on Twitter

  11. Daily Tweet:!/TanyaTheViolist/status/28282569413894144

  12. I drink a cup of fair trade coffee in the morning. Sometimes one more cup during the day. It's never caused me grief, fortunately.

    For coffee alternatives I enjoy Caf-Lib, mixed with a little soy milk. I've heard that you can make coffee substitute by roasting everything from acorns to carrots to chicory, but haven't had the chance to try it. Lot cheaper than buying commercial brands though!

    But I'm curious about Teeccino and would be interested in giving it a try. Does your contest extend to those living in Canada? ;)

  13. Teeccino is the only coffee alternative I've tried...and I liked it! Would love to try it again.

  14. I follow you now on Twitter (@AlmostVeganBlog)

  15. I follow Teeccino on Twitter (@AlmostVeganBlog)

  16. Oh wow, I'm so glad I just started following you... what an awesome post! I love LOVE the taste of coffee... gooood coffee, but the caffine effects are a headache, literally... so now I drink herbal and/or green tea like all day, but this sounds amazing!

  17. I followed you on twitter, @vegitateforlife

  18. I liked you on facebook (natalie padilla)

  19. I tweeted about the giveaway :)

  20. I tweeted!!/TanyaTheViolist/status/32207802533416961

  21. i prefer real coffee but would love to try this