One of my great frustrations is the fact that my body just doesn't tolerate coffee very well. I love the taste, texture and aroma of coffee but it trashes my digestional system, wires me out and gives me massive headaches when I get hooked on it.
Portland is one of the worst places in the country not to be drinking coffee. My salvation has been tea. Between the numerous tea houses in Portland and my time with Heaven's Tea I've been able to help fill the coffee void.
In addition to tea I've also enjoyed drinking chocolates (which is really hot cocoa for adults) and Chai (which I think could be put in its own class of deliciousness).
Then I discovered Choffy, a unique coffee substitute which uses roasted and ground cacao beans to brew a very coffee-like drink.
I think it's important to be clear right off the bat that Choffy isn't coffee. It doesn't contain coffee, doesn't have the same aroma or taste and wouldn't win a blind taste test against some of Portland's finest.
Choffy is, however, one of the single best coffee alternatives I've ever tried. Rich and slightly bitter, Choffy embodies some of the very same elements of roasted goodness that are characteristic of coffee, and what it's missing, it fills in with dark sweet chocolate notes that make it akin to drinking a drip version of a mocha than anything else.
Unlike drinking chocolate where you're consuming the chocolate itself, Choffy is brewed like coffee so you only consume the essence of the beans. This cuts way down on the caloric weight of the resulting cup.
There's some semantical debate around the caffeine content in chocolate. While chocolate doesn't have caffeine it does contain theobromine which is also a stimulant. So you do get a boost from drinking Choffy, but it isn't the same as from coffee.
I noticed a nice smooth and easy increase in energy and awareness and an even tapering off of that 'boost' within an hour or so. I didn't find Choffy to be physically addictive like I do coffee and I didn't get any headaches from it.
Choffy may not be physically addicitve, but it is extremely tasty! All my tests with Choffy were with the same drip coffee maker my wife uses to prepare her cup of joe.
Choffy is sold in 12oz bags of grounds. You use approximately 4 tablespoons per 12 oz cup. The down side of this is that it is VERY easy to blow through an entire bag of Choffy in a week and priced at $15.00 per 12 oz bag it is considerably more expensive than coffee.
That being said, the resulting drink is worth the expense. I tried Choffy several ways – straight up, with soy creamer and agave, over ice and blended with ice, creamer and sweetener in the blender. Choffy held up extremely well in each scenario, producing an extremely drinkable and tasty cup.
Choffy is sold in three varieties including: Ecuadorian, Nicaragua, and Ivory Coast. I tested the Ivory Coast and look forward to comparing it to the other varieties.
Based out of Vancouver, Washington, Choffy is using Portland as one of its key launch pad markets. Orders from the Choffy website are shipped locally by co-founder Jason Sherwood and Choffy can be purchased locally from Food Front Coop.
Be sure to read our interview with Choffy's Co-Founder.