I gave up caffeine whilst pregnant and was looking for a substitute, that was not decaffeinated coffee when I stumbled across Bambu in my local health food store, I have been hooked ever since and no longer drink caffeine. I recently bought a new 100g jar for £3.85 in my local health food store.
Bambu is a coffee substitute developed by A Vogel a world renowned Swiss naturopath and has been around for over 60 years. It is made from organically grown chicory, figs, malted barley, wheat and acorns and is ground to a powdery consistency that smells creamy and slightly sweet.
To make up the drink you add a teaspoon into a mug or cup and pour on hot water, you can then either drink it black or add milk, I add milk to mine and it tastes very smooth, velvety and not unlike coffee, but it has no bitter after taste, due to the malted barley and softness of the acorns. I have also tried it cold, by making up a batch with hot water, adding milk and a bit of ice and whizzing it up in the blender to make an iced latte style Bambu in the summer months and it also tasted great.
The drink comes in a glass jar with a screw top lid that is easy to use and has the following nutritional information, per 2g serving: Energy 30Kj, Protein Less than 1g, Carbohydrate 1.7g, Sodium Less than 1g.
Overall I would recommend Bambu to others as it is a great coffee substitute, that can be drunk whenever and by all members of my family. It looses one star as it is quite expensive.
This review may also appear on Ciao! under the same username.
Many years ago, I used to really like fresh coffee - but I became aware that after I had drunk it, I had a vague stomach ache. It was not the sort of intense pain that had you reaching for pain relief - more of an uncomfortable and slightly unpleasant feeling. I'm sure that many people must feel this but still continue drinking it for the taste and the stimulation. However, once I became pregnant, I could not abide the slightest whiff of a coffee smell; a cup right across the room with coffee dregs at the bottom would make me retch. This signalled the end of my unrequited love with coffee. I finally listened to my body telling me it considered it a toxin - and never touched it again.
So, what's left for a coffee abstainer? There is hot chocolate and herbal teas and the occasional cup of tea - and I drink lots of this - but I do get bored.
I read a favourable review of Bambu coffee substitue on Dooyoo and filed the info in my brain - in the 'something I might like' corner. Then, one day, in Holland and Barrett, I saw the Bambu coffee substitute and a 'buy one, get one half price' sale and I decided to buy a jar.
The aroma, on opening the jar, is a full, rich smell not unlike coffee in terms of the roasted smell - but also, totally different to coffeee. The granules are powder-like (they look like a cheap brand of instant coffee - but you sholdn't let that put you off - this is a different animal).
To make the coffee, the instructions tell you to put a spoonful in a mug and pour on hot milk or water. What I do is to pour on half soya milk and half water. I actually whisk up the soya milk so it is creamy and frothy so the drink is that bit more luxurious. This is a drink that I like to have on those rare moments that I get a moment for myself on the sofa.
Bambu is a coffee substitute prepared from organically grown chicory, figs, cereals and acorns. It is the original recipe of the world reknowned swiss natropath Alfred Vogel - and it has been drunk for almost 50 years. The ingredients are all organic with no preservatives or chemicals.
So, what does it taste like? It has the roasted flavour that makes it so different from hot chocolate or tea. Can you taste the acorns? How would I know? I've never eaten them before. The drink is a fulfilling experience, rich and pleasant. I have drunk a similar beverage before called 'Barleycup' but I prefer 'Bambu'.
Would I buy it again? This depends on the price. The selling price fo a jar is around £3.50 - and that is quite expensive in my opinion. Being able to get it half price at H&B made it more affordable - and I would certainly buy it on an occasion like that. I think that the offer is not on any more though.
The good news is - that my jar is lasting a long time. It only takes one teaspoonful to make a drink - and my me-time is not too frequent so Holland and Barrett might have another sale by the time I've run out!
Four stars just because it is expensive.
I am going to tell you why I drink acorns, mad but totally delicious, and very good for you!
Regular readers of my reviews will know that I have M E. This means that I cannot tolerate much caffeine. I can have the odd coffee, but more than that and it has dire consequences on my heart rhythm. Many years predating getting this disease I was really interested in the alternative coffee substitutes, mainly because I found the rows of them lined up in health food stores to be fascinating, and so it has been my delight to enjoy a drink called Bambu for many years.
Bambu is made by A Vogel and contains organically grown Chicory, Wheat, Malted Barley, Figs, Cereals, and of course Acorns, and nothing else. This combination is unique, and it sounds weird I know, but the resulting drink tastes really delicious, and it is not a strongly flavoured beverage. In fact it is really impossible to discern individual flavours, what you have is a comforting drink, which is soothing and is a really good alternative to coffee. It has a velvety smooth flavour and is, in my opinion, the best of the coffee substitutes.
I do drink decaf coffee, particularly Percol, which is an ethical brand and tastes delicious, but I alternate with other coffee substitutes to keep things fresh and interesting.
You make this instant drink by just placing a teaspoon into a mug and adding boiling water, you can use all milk, but I'm afraid I don't regularly because I can't tolerate too much dairy, and also it adds lots more calories, but as a milky bedtime drink it is delicious, I have tried it and it is really lovely. Drunk in this way it is a lovely alternative if you are partial to Ovaltine or Horlicks. I just add a little milk as you would for coffee and it works beautifully.
You can also drink it neat, void of anything but hot water, and in this way you will experience the closest thing to real coffee, but it is not the same at all, and personally I don't like it much, but you might if you like espresso.
I purchase mine these days from Holland and Barrett where it retails for £3.14 for a 100g jar. I wish we still had a local independent health food store in our town, but the shop rents, and the competition from large supermarkets, hit their profit margins and they closed down. If you have a local independent retailer pop in, because ours used to sell little sachets for a tiny outlay so you could see if you liked it before purchasing an entire jar. These were also really useful for travelling.
The drink is made in Germany for the Bioforce Company based in Switzerland. Founded by Alfred Vogel who was a pioneer of health remedies and food-quite amazing for the time really. He spent his life managing a health food store in Switzerland for many years, and he also worked as a naturopath. This work involved using plants and herbs to treat common complaints, and many of these remedies are available today. This culminated in the formation of the Bio-force company in 1963 that make this very special drink.
Mr Vogel actually experimented a lot in the 40s and 50s to see if he could make a lovely coffee substitute, and many versions were tried until Bambu finally came into being. It has become so popular that 80 tons are sold every year all over the world!That's a lot of acorns!
Now some of the components of this drink warrant a few words. Acorns in particular fascinate me because the only thing I ever see gathering these are squirrels, but they contain lots of protein, niacin and various minerals. Chicory is excellent for digestion, and may help you sleep as it is calming. Also in its favour is the fact that everything used is organic; and, as many pesticides are sprayed on coffee plantations, unless you buy organic coffee drinking Bambu is a sure way of avoiding ingesting any residues that might have found their way into your coffee.
I am sure you will enjoy it, and especially so if you are looking to reduce the coffee habit. It sounds weird, I know, but I think you may be pleasantly surprised how good it is!
Only downside is the cost as it is on the pricy side, but apart from that it is a brilliant product. Kettle's on now if anybody fancies a brew -it's all round to mine for acorns!
This review is also published on Ciao by myself under my user name there Violet1278.
You might remember seeing 'Camp Coffee', the 'poor mans coffee' produced by R.Paterson and Sons Ltd of Glasgow which you can still buy in many stores today! So how did they make their brewing coffee so cheap? Their secret was chicory essence, the roasted and ground root of the chicory plant which mirrored the rich bitterness of the (then and still) expensive and much sought after commodity: coffee.
So what does that bit of history have to do with this product? Well, since the Camp coffee essence that dates back to earlier than World War I, many companies have used elements of this effective adulteration to the quintessential morning beverage through various recipes. The development of such products, like Dandelion Coffee (made principally with roasted dandelion root) and Barley Cup (roasted barley based) has been supported in recent years by an increasing number seeking alternatives to caffeinated drinks whether for personal health reasons or for problems like insomnia.
Bambu Instant Organic is one particular product that can be adopted for use much like ordinary instant coffee granules. It is entirely water soluble, aromatic and actually contains no coffee-based ingredient whatsoever. This particular product blends chicory with an interesting selection of organically grown fruits and cereals: wheat, malted barley, figs and acorns. Acorns! You can drink acorns! I love this. And the result is a rather splendid coffee-like drink. Quite amazing really.
A.Vogel as a company
Alfred Vogel led the founding of the company as a pioneer in natural health remedies and products since 1923. In Switzerland, Vogel managed a health food store in Basel and worked as a Naturopath for many years, researching, travelling, developing and manufacturing some of the first natural remedies using fresh plants and herbs. By 1963, Bioforce AG was established in Switzerland, which remains a leading herbal remedy and food company with distribution lines across the globe. Mr Vogel lived to a ripe old age of 94, so he must have been doing something right.
All the products used in Bambu Instant Organic are cultivated and produced according to strict guidelines of 'Bio-Suisse' (a regulatory standard for organic farming) that prohibits the use of synthetic fertlisers, insecticides, herbicides and pesticides. They even produce their own seed stock, allowing for a complete and continual cycle of organic cultivation practices whereby one section of the crop each time is not harvested so that more can develop.
So why should you give Bambu a try?
Switching from coffee to grain coffee (like Bambu) is like switching from tea to herbal tea. You can make your own judgement as to whether you think you should avoid or include one exclusively over the other, or whether you prefer a balance. Bambu is particularly good because I have found it to be not as bitter as some of the other varieties: potentially because of the fruiter flavour that the inclusion of figs provides. Sure, it isn't as rich and it is certainly a different taste experience but I think for a lot of people their 'addiction' to caffeine (or coffee/tea) is mainly because they are 'addicted' to hot drinks in general, to the habitual processes involved in a day-to-day coffee routine. Further, specifically decaffeinated beverages are known to be quite carcinogenic if a non-water decaffeination process is used or even still may be highly acidic. Acidic drinks can be nasty on your digestive system and on your oral health, so be warned. Nevertheless, I drink coffee now and again and really enjoy it, so I don't see Bambu as a complete substitute, though some do. I just like to be able to drink a warm cup of something before I go to sleep sometimes that isn't as sweet as hot chocolate and doesn't keep me up all night. Also the effects of caffeine are not all bad: they can hugely increase efficiency in endurance sports and in short-term concentration in the right dose. But as many of you will be aware, caffeine seems to be facilitating crazy working lifestyles that go way beyond 9-5 and leave us exhausted and drained. Some evidence suggests that caffeine is bad if you have high blood pressure and that it prevents you absorbing iron and other vitamins quite as well. We need to rest more and take more care of ourselves, and maybe taking time to appreciate the delicate flavours of a drink like Bambu will leave you feeling less edgy and more prepared to take on the world more calmly.
So in order to get the full spectrum of taste-test conclusions, I tried it black, white and latte-style.
Black: this is rather confusingly the most like coffee! Just adding water to a heaped teaspoon and it tastes like a black, instant coffee. It certainly doesn't have the deep aroma that freshly brewed coffee wafts, nor is the taste as rich as the real thing. But if you like instant black coffee and none of the ground, dripped, cafetiere, espresso machine shebang then this is the real business. Yum!
White: With a splash of milk, it is yummy but kind of watery. The earthiness of the grains becomes quite apparent. That said, I find it very very pleasant. I am a bit of a wholefood nut, so perhaps it is a bit of an acquired taste.
Latte-style/malty splendour: Think Horlicks. Think Milo. I heat a big mug of soya milk in the microwave or in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Spoon in a generous teaspoon or two of Bambu and agitate until all the grinds have swirled and drifted from a delicate marbling to a smooth and frothy magnificence. Yum. This is perfect as a late night drink and would be good with a touch of sweetness so as to send you drifting in to a peaceful, decaffeinated slumber.
It is £3.92 on goodnessdirect.co.uk for a 100g jar, the wholefood shopping site. I bought mine in Holland and Barrett for about £3.80. It is a bit pricey (hence the 4 star rating), so I use it sparingly as a once in a while drink. Much cheaper than going to Starbucks everyday, though....and you can't put a price on good health.
If you are a big coffee drinker, why not replace just one cup a day with this. Even without the health benefits, it is really lovely and nutritionally beneficial too. There isn't really a cheaper alternative (except Camp coffee essence, maybe!), but it will last a while unless you get hooked and drink it all day to replace a manic coffee habit! Sit, drink and dream about how many things you can do before you are 94 like Mr Vogel. Ahhh.....