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Red Espresso Fiasco...

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.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Nice shots, Ross. I especially like the "Jenn is a monkey" on the fridge. :D
Mar. 1st, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Mar. 1st, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe it was the sugar in the Silk? Weird.

I have a bet going with Carlos, who doubts my trendspotting abilities. I am always that asshole who goes around saying that I was into this before it was cool. So this time, I told him that red espresso would be sold by mainstream coffeeshops by the end of the year. It's looking good for me! (I am also predicting a big year for powdered shampoo and vegetable-oil cars.)

I have some at home, it's not so great on its own but I think it would be really good prepared as a latte.
Mar. 1st, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
It shouldn't have been the Silk, since I use the unsweetened variety (only 4g carbs per cup, 1g sugars, compared to milk's 14, all of which are sugars).

And it made a decent latte... other than the sleeplessness. Granted, that may just have been me; I get strange reactions to a few herbs. Saffron, for example, gives me a wicked buzz.

As for trendspotting, should Starbucks pick up Red Espresso, the rest of the prepared coffee marketplace will follow. Likewise Peet's. Vegetable-oil cars will always be a niche market, though we see plenty of them up here in the North Bay - until acquiring fuel becomes as easy as a stop at the gas station.

And powdered shampoo? Creepy.

Mar. 4th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
red espresso
Hey Ross

My name's Natasha and I'm part of the small team of family and friends who started the cafe revolution called red espresso. I came across your post and was so sorry to hear you didn't sleep after your red latte... I just wanted to assure you that red espresso - which contains only 100% pure Rooibos (we haven't added anything to it...) - really is what we state it to be: naturally caffeine-free. If you have a look on any authoritative site on Rooibos, you'll read how it is one of the few 'teas' that are caffeine-free, and it is renowned (espeically here in South Africa where we've all been brought up drinking Rooibos!) to have the opposite effect to caffeine: a quiet, soothing, calming effect. I love having a red cappuccino before bed, as I find it puts me straight to sleep (!) - so I'm sorry that same thing didn't happen to you...

Thank you for trying it out, and I'm glad you enjoyed the taste.
Best regards,
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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