Coffee Made Without Coffee Beans Is Creating a Buzz

Coffee connoisseurs always talk about how real coffee must come from single-origin beans that are ground for exactly 23.4 seconds and then held up to the sky so an angel can take a lil’ dump in them, then put in a Chemex where water that is exactly 201 degrees Fahrenheit must be poured over it in a counterclockwise manner for three circles, and then back clockwise for two, and then after waiting exactly 4.5 minutes, you have…a very ordinary cup of coffee. 

I thought this was standard procedure until my world got flipped on its gosh darn head this week because I found out you don’t even need coffee to make coffee?! I could not have bean more surprised. So what is this coffee-less coffee? Who is making it? What does it taste like? Just some questions I had while waiting for the angel to bless my Chemex this morning. Let’s get some answers:

What is it?

The current leading brand of un-coffee is called Atomo. According to their website, they make their cold brew using a sustainable, environmentally friendly process that involves soaking upcycled date seeds with “a proprietary blend of ingredients including grape, chicory, tea-sourced caffeine, and other natural flavors.” The seeds are then “air roasted” and brewed. And don’t worry about a lack of caffeine, because each eight-ounce can of cold brew contains 84 milligrams of tea-sourced caffeine, which is just slightly less than the 95 milligrams of caffeine in a standard eight-ounce cup of coffee. Atomo also has a “grounds” product in the works, so people can brew it at home just like coffee (so summon those coffee angels).

Who is making it?

Atomo is top dog in the game recently, but other companies have been producing coffeeless “coffee” since the mid-1900s (although using upcycled date seeds is new). According to Bon Appétit, some alternatives currently on the market include: Firebelly Tea’s “uncannily coffeelike” brew,” Teeccino’s caffeine-free dandelion herb teas, and Crastan Orzo, a World War II-era Italian coffee dupe made out of roasted barley. Who knew these things even existed?

What does this new coffee-less coffee taste like?

According to the results of product testing, it tastes like, well, coffee. Most people who tried it had a hard time telling the difference, Food Business News reports. Guess we will all have to try some and make that judgment for ourselves, although I may wait until the product becomes a bit more mainstream. A four pack of eight-ounce cans currently costs $22. For now, I’ll stick to my ten-minute 201-degree, blessed-by-angels Chemex coffee. (Full disclosure: I have never once used a Chemex, can you tell?)


About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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