Sunday, May 01, 2011

Crio Brü brewed chocolate - YUM!

Mmmmmmmmmm. Chocolate for breakfast.

I recently recieved some lovely samples of Crio Brü, an interesting new product that is simply ground cocoa beans that you brew JUST LIKE COFFEE!

I was SUPER-excited to try this stuff because I'm 1.) trying to cut back on coffee, 2.)crazy about all things chocolate, and 3.)lately have been reading about and interested in the antioxidant properties in cocoa beans (any excuse for MORE chocolate).

The fine folks at Crio Brü (check out their website) advertise their product as "...made from 100%, perfectly roasted cocoa beans. Nothing more, nothing less. No sugar, no chemicals, no dairy. Although Crio Brü roasts the cocoa beans, many of the health benefits found in its natural state are preserved, giving you a superior product with sky-high antioxidants, abundant minerals and healthy energy."

And while I'm not a nutritionist, I do know cocoa has good stuffs in it; I appreciate the fact that this probably IS a great way to get a good dose of all that good stuff, and I love that there's less of the crazy-making (for me) properties of coffee. And most important, CHOCOLATE yumminess.

After all, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs brewed chocolate based beverages much like this and called it the 'Drink of the Gods' so it HAD to be good, right?

So, what did I think?
Experiment #1:
Following the package directions, and using my French Press coffee maker, I brewed myself some Crio Brü.

I will say my first batch wasn't very strong or dark, almost tea-colored, but still had a heavenly chocolate-cocoa smell and a nice, though mild chocolate flavor. Remember this isn't "Americanized", mucked up, sweetened, artificially flavored or diluted with dairy products. Just plain, pure, mild cocoa flavor. (OK, I did add just a bit of raw sugar and almond milk to my second cup - think it brought out the cocoa flavor and I liked it just a bit better.)

I'm sure mixing it with your regular coffee would produce amazing results as well, though use a French Press or coffee maker with one of those permanent gold filter thingies. From reading other reviewds, this doesn't work especially well with your standard paper filter.

Experiment #2:
I decided to brew (make? press?) a second batch the next morning, adding just a tad bit more ground cocoa beans to make a stronger brew.
However, shortly after putting it into the French Press, all sorts of kitchen chaos ensued involving a dog, a garbage can and leftover spaghetti, so I completely forgot about my little pot of brewed cocoa beans...

I came back to it about three hours later and it was cold (sadly) BUT, the crushed beans had soaked in the bottom of the French Press and brewed into a dark, coffee colored beverage that I couldn't wait to try! I am not sure this is a "Crio Brü recommended" method, but after reheating, this time, the drink was AMAZING!!
Much more cocoa-chocolate-y flavored, dark and rich. More like what I had expected the first time. I added a splash of almond milk and was good to go. I think I'll do this from now on!
Remember, this is a brewed cocoa drink not the murky, muddy Americanized hot chocolate you may be used to. Enjoy the subtleties!!

Experiment #3:
Now that spring has sprung some warmer weather, I'm finishing up my samples over ice, still using the "leave it sit in the pot for an hour or so" method to steep as much flavor and chocolate from the beans as possible. Add some milk of your choice, sweetener if you need it, and pour over ice. DELICIOUS, refreshing and so VERY much better for you than coffee. I'm not entirely sure that iced brings out ALL the subtle under-notes, but it's still delicious in a mild, unsweet-but-not-bitter chocolate-y way. Yes, I realize I really suck at coming up with descriptive adjectives here.

Experiment #4:
I took some of my last precious Crio Brü stash to New Mexico when I visited my coffee-addicted guy, Shaun. Fortunately he has as much curiosity as I do, and was willing to forgo his usual morning coffee ritual to try this new product. We brewed it in a French Press as I had previously done - but Shaun scientifically determined an entirely NEW method to get maximum chocolate impact: If you only filled the French Press about 1/3 full of water and then let it sit a good hour or so - THEN added the rest of the hot water, and brewed ("pressed"?) as always, you got a hot beverage with all the chocolate flavor and subtle side notes, just as the package described, and no reheating needed. Hints of cinnamon, coconut, yes, even my unsophisticated palate picked up on those. We added a bit of So Delicious coconut creamer which, in the end, is the PERFECT touch. Shaun finished off the last of my stash, he LOVED it.

My final thoughts?
YUM! This makes a great, unique, new addition to the "hot beverage" line-up in anyone's pantry, it's low in calories, won't keep you buzzed all night, and it's GOOD for you!!
If you want to check out the antioxidant and other health benefits that chocolate has, want some chocolate IN your coffee, want an alternative to coffee, you just like chocolate, or for any reason whatsoever,..... GO!!
RUN, order off line, google a search... but ABSOLUTELY try it as soon as you can. I'm not meaning to sound like some sort of Infommercial, I swear, but the stuff is really that good!! I'm seriously completely hooked (but not in a caffeinated, coffee sort of way) and can't WAIT for my next order to arrive.


dj said...

Sounds like a perfect Mother's Day gift - for this mother anyway. ;)

Cal said...

I really want to try this...

Carolyn said...

Gaaahhh, now I'm going to have to buy a new French Press! Justification: some of the best coffee I have ever had in my life came out of the press I had several years back but inevitably broke. Plus, some of the OTHER best coffee I've ever had in my life came from using the cold brew method- which sounds like what you've in part done here. Makes sense that cocoa beans would respond the same way as coffee beans to a cold extraction.