You might be contemplating a break from coffee, a trial separation to see how it goes. Or, perhaps you are about to embark on a cleanse, a fast, or an elimination diet and caffeine is a banned substance.
Maybe you find coffee to be too hard on your digestive system or don’t like that you are addicted to the caffeine. Whatever your reason, you have an option, a healthy alternative to coffee. It is called spelt coffee.
Spelt: a Healthy Alternative to Coffee
Spelt coffee has a long tradition in Europe. In the 18th century, Frederick the Great caused a boom: because coffee was an expensive luxury, complete with high import duties, he sought out a cheaper alternative. The result was eventually referred to as “mocca faux”, an inexpensive coffee substitute for French soldiers. Over time, the recipes became increasingly refined, so much so that at the present blends are sold under exclusive labels.
What is Spelt Coffee?
Spelt coffee is not actually coffee at all. Coffee is made from the seeds of the Coffea plant, a shrub of the bedstraw family that yields the coffee seeds (beans), two per red berry. Spelt, however, is a grain, similar to wheat.
The “coffee” in spelt coffee merely refers to its similar qualities: a malty, robust flavor, with hints of nutty, earthy bitterness brought out by roasting the spelt berries (whole grains.)
Spelt coffee is one of many varieties of grain coffees. These coffees may include a variety of grains like wheat, oats, barley, and spelt – or even roots like chicory, or Bertram (akarkara, or pellitory) that are roasted and blended with dried fruits like figs or dates to emulate the complex roasted flavors of traditional coffee.
How to make Spelt Coffee?
To make spelt coffee the spelt berries are roasted and ground, then steeped or brewed in hot water just like coffee beans. Fortunately, you can buy spelt coffee, as well. Pre-made spelt coffee provides some consistency in flavor, and certainly simplifies the process.
While we won’t go as far as to say that it is the same as coffee, the slightly sweet and nutty taste of spelt lends nicely with the caramelized and toasted flavors brought out during the roasting process to produce a flavor profile that is similar to coffee. The result is a healthy way to limit or outright replace your usual coffee intake.
What Makes Spelt Coffee a Healthy Alternative to Coffee?
Spelt contains a high amount of protein, fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, and micronutrients. While coffee can be a great source of antioxidants, spelt contains a more complete array of nutrients. Though like coffee, you won’t be ingesting the whole grain, just the residual elements and nutrients that are extracted through the brewing process, spelt coffee still offers many beneficial substances.
Spelt is believed to stimulate digestion and improve mood. Being caffeine free means that spelt coffee can be enjoyed at any time without worrying about being over-stimulated. It can be a great healthy substitute for coffee for pregnant women or those who have digestive issues since it is not acidic like coffee. But what makes spelt coffee healthy is not just what it contains, but also what it does not contain, namely: caffeine.
Caffeine: the Drug of Choice
Caffeine is perhaps the most widely ingested drug in the world. When it comes to the risks and rewards, it is also one of the most confusing. It is the subject of a great deal of ongoing research and scrutiny across a myriad of health and nutritional conditions, yet it seems to present challenges as often as benefits.
Caffeine has been tied to increased blood pressure, heart stress, sleep problems, chronic headaches, and increased anxiety. Caffeine is also a diuretic, which can leech minerals and electrolytes from your system. The arbiter seems to be one of dosage. Like most things, moderation is key. But the fact remains; caffeine is a drug, a highly addictive drug. Thus our appetite warrants close attention.
A healthy alternative to coffee
If you desire to avoid caffeine for health reasons, temporarily or permanently, spelt coffee can be a healthy way to wean yourself off of your daily dose. Whether you find caffeine to be a pleasant and effective addition to your diet or not, the central benefit of spelt coffee as a healthy alternative to coffee can be summed up as this: replenish rather than deplete.
Spelt only adds to your life, it does not detract. It is a healthy food, a favored staple in the Hildegard diet. You can’t go wrong by incorporating it into your daily routine. Enjoy spelt coffee with spelt coffee cake.