So I've been seeing a lot of buzz about Red Espresso lately, and since the prospect of a caffeine-free, antioxidant-rich, coffee alternative sounded promising, I figured I'd track some down and give it a shot. If nothing else, a rooibos latte seemed as if it would be a great way to satisfy those late-night coffee cravings.
How wrong I was.
On Thursday night, I decided to brew up a batch while Jennifer watched American Idle. I didn't want to deal with the trouble of breaking out the espresso machine, so I ended up using one of my favorite coffee-prep devices, my Moka Express-style stovetop espresso maker.
Ten minutes later (more or less), I had a rich, steaming, reddish brew, which mixed nicely with Silk Unsweetened (I don't do milk). Sure, it tasted more like tea than coffee, sweet and a bit nutty, but that was expected. I drank it down slowly and easily while reading and relaxing at my desk. "I'd do this again," I thought.
Eventually, it was time for bed. Jennifer crashed out quickly. I, on the other hand spent the better part of Thursday night and Friday morning staring at the ceiling of the darkened bedroom, completely wired, unable to drop off at all.
I read. And tossed and turned. And read a little more. And listened to the harmony of Jennifer's and Maddie's snores. And tossed and turned some more. And got up. And paced. And checked all the doors. And paced a little more. And finally went back to bed, where I tossed and turned until I finally drifted off... mere moments before the 4:45 a.m. alarm sounded.
In short, just because Red Espresso claims it doesn't have caffeine, that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't something in the brew that will make me feel wired and sketchy and sleepless and absolutely miserable the next day. One thing's for certain: I won't be doing any more eight o'clock Red Espresso lattes. At least with coffee, I know where I stand.