UPDATED: SOL NATURAL FOODS IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS AND MACACCINO IS NOT AVAILABLE.
This post about gluten-free coffee and coffee alternatives contains affiliate links.
I’ve been intrigued these days by the growing world of gluten-free coffee alternatives. I’ve wondered if I could one day give up my cup of coffee for good.
That’s why when Sol Natural Foods offered to send me some Macaccino, a gluten-free coffee alternative using maca as its key ingredient, I agreed without hesitation.
Macaccino is aptly named because it’s made from a superfood called “maca.” Maca is a natural stimulant known for providing energy, improving mood, treating illness and enhancing libido. Also, maca is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, 20 different amino acids (with seven essential amino acids), sterols, and more. It’s no wonder maca is classified as a superfood and has been known around the world for its natural healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
I decided to give up my morning coffee one day and have a Macaccino instead.
I liked the taste of this maca coffee – it’s a combination of mocha coffee and hot chocolate – although it does have a strong odor that didn’t remind me of coffee at all. All morning long I felt sluggish – I was even grumpy with my kids. It finally hit me that I hadn’t had my normal caffeine burst that morning. It was clear to me that my grumpy, sluggish mood was because I missed my morning caffeine. The maca wasn’t enough.
I didn’t want to give up on Macaccino though. It really is a fantastic gluten-free coffee alternative with amazing nutritional benefits.
I decided I needed to do a little more research on Macaccino to help me figure out if I could transition from coffee to this healthy coffee alternative instead. This was going to be an exercise in mind over matter – if I could convince my mind that Macaccino was better for me, I could eventually train my body to go along with the plan. Right?
While looking through the information on the Macaccino website, I learned that maca gives you lasting, genuine energy without getting that shaky feeling people often experience with coffee and other highly-caffeinated beverages. I do get shaky sometimes when I drink coffee. It also makes me have to pee a lot in the morning (I’m being honest, even if it’s not pretty.).
This graphic I pulled from Macaccino’s website gives a good overview of what this maca coffee substitute stands for:
The other interesting thing about drinking a roasted maca beverage over coffee is that you’re drinking something sustainable. Coffee uses an enormous amount of water, causes deforestation, and creates environmental waste. I learned from the Macaccino website that 1 cup of coffee uses 8.5 gallons of water from field to table, while 1 cup of Macaccino uses only 32 ounces of water from field to cup.
My rational brain is convinced that getting off coffee for good is something I need to work towards. It’s one of the remaining vices in my overall healthy lifestyle.
I’m going to give Macaccino another try – with the goal of eventually giving up the coffee. It may take time to wean myself off my morning cup of Joe, but Macaccino will help ease the transition.
If you’re in the market for a gluten-free coffee alternative, look for packages labeled “gluten-free.” Many coffee substitutes are made with barley (like Pero and Cafix brands), which is not gluten-free.
Substitute Gluten-Free Coffee Brands:
Teecino: Comes in several gluten-free and barley-free varieties. Teecino’s Dark Roast* is made from roasted ramón seeds and dandelion roots, and its Mocha blend* is made from dandelion root, almonds, dates and figs. Check labels carefully when purchasing Teecino products, as not all products are safe for celiacs.
Dandy Blend: Dandy Blend* is made of the water-soluble extracts of five ingredients; three roots and two grains (barley and rye), not from the ingredients themselves. I wondered how in the world this product could market itself as “gluten-free” when it contained barley and rye, which are not gluten-free. On the Dandy Blend website, the company offers this explanation that I personally feel comfortable with – although I can’t say that I’d be willing to drink it:
“The ingredients are roasted separately and then combined in prescribed proportions, placed into a vat, covered with hot water, and allowed to steep for a prescribed period of time. The water, with the soluble portions of all the components, is separated from the grounds and spray dried. The remaining fine brown powder left after the water is driven off is what becomes Dandy Blend. All the gluten and other water-insoluble substances are left behind in the grounds to be composted. Hence, the gluten from Barley and Rye, according to ELISA tests, is removed from Dandy Blend. Goosefoot Acres periodically submits samples of Dandy Blend to Elisa Technologies Laboratory in Florida, one of the most respected gluten testing labs in the United States, for analysis, and so far, every test has come back gluten-free. It meets the FDA standards for gluten-free, registering less than 5 parts per million for both gliadin and gluten, which is far below the limit of 20 parts per million allowed for gluten-free classification.”
Overall, what I love about Macaccino is there are not any gluten-containing ingredients in its coffee substitute blend; rather, it’s made from all organic, gluten-free ingredients, including roasted maca, cacao powder, cinnamon, mesquite powder, and nutmeg.
UPDATE: While the Macaccino didn’t stick for me, I have officially given up on caffeine! Yes, I haven’t had caffeine for more than a YEAR! During this process, I found that I missed the taste of coffee too much, so I simply switched to decaffeinated coffee. I felt sluggish for a few weeks, but now I feel so much better without caffeine. I feel less jittery, sweaty and I don’t have to pee so much in the morning.