Caffé Orzo: The Italian Caffeine-Free Coffee Alternative

Posted by Dani on March 15, 2012

We have been drinking orzo in my house since I was a little girl. I recently recommended it to a friend who had given up coffee, and I realized how unfamiliar it is to most North Americans, so I just had to share.

It’s common in Italy, where you can order an orzoccino in any coffee bar. Orzo is the most coffee-like coffee alternative there is. Really. Made from roasted barley, it is naturally caffeine-free, rich in antioxidants, and low in acid, with a full-bodied flavour that you can enjoy any time of the day or night. Have a look at the ingredients:

I’ll translate for you: Organic Barley. That’s it. It’s a healthy choice for anyone looking to cut back on caffeine. You can drink it just like you would coffee – as an espresso, cappuccino, latte, or just by the cupful. Orzo is available ground like regular coffee, or instant (which is quick and easy, and perfect for kids). Here, I’ve made one of each. The espresso shot was made with ground orzo in the stovetop espresso maker that is a staple in any Italian family. Just remember to use less orzo than you would coffee, since it expands when brewed.

The orzoccino here was made with instant powder. I just added a heaping teaspoon to hot milk and frothed it up. My kids love it this way! It’s not as bitter as coffee and doesn’t need much sugar, so it’s much healthier for them than hot chocolate. Make it with low-fat milk for a delicious and healthy hot drink for yourself. Starbucks, you need to get this on your menu! In the meantime, find it in any Italian grocery store or order online from Amazon or Two Leaves and a Bud.


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