Since I’m avoiding sugar these days, finding something to satisfy my craving for chocolate is difficult. That’s why I was so excited to try out Crio Brü, a brewed drink made from roasted 100% cacao (or cocoa) beans. It’s a chocolate drink that’s brewed like coffee. Nothing else is added to the beans and you’re in total control of what you add to the drink, whether it’s cream and sugar or rice milk and stevia.
Brewing a chocolate drink
Crio Brü sent me two types of their already ground chocolate beans to try:
- Cavalla – a premium roasted cocoa with natural hints of dark spice, coconut and cinnamon. This cacoa bean is grown on family farms pn the Ivory Coast.
- Vega Reál – a premium roasted cocoa with natural hints of red berries and dark spice grown in the Dominican Republic.
I chose to make my Crio Bru in my 4 cup Bodum French Press, but you can also make it in a standard coffee maker. I used 1/2 cup of beans for full French Press. Since it’s recommended that you use one to two level tablespoons for each “Crio cup” which is 4.25 ounces or a bit more than half a cup, I figured 8 half cups x 1 tablespoon = 1/2 cup. I followed their brewing directions carefully and produced a hot drink that looks like medium to dark coffee.
So how does Crio Brü taste?
The Crio Brü drinks did taste like hot chocolate, but one that you’ve made with too much water and no sweetener. At first they’re a bit disappointing, because you’re expecting hot chocolate. However, after adding “milk and sugar” – in my case unsweetened rice or coconut milk and stevia – I found it to be much more satisfying. I enjoyed sipping it and found that it reheated well in the microwave later in the day. (I can’t say the same of coffee, which gets nasty when reheated.)
The taste is rich and sophisticated, sort of like a mocha latte, but without the bitterness of coffee. However, I did miss the “tongue feel” of a creamy hot chocolate. I found making a “cocoa au lait” with half So Delicious coconut milk (unsweetened) and half Crio Cru helped. You could also use half and half or coffee creamer, though that ruins the healthy factor of the chocolate drink.
I’ve also tried Crio Brü cold. You’ll notice some oil globules forming on the top, which is a natural part of the bean. But it’s such a small amount that Crio Brü is considered fat free. If you like iced coffee, iced Crio Brü would be a wonderful summer time drink.
If you like chocolate flavored coffee drinks, adding several tablespoons of Crio Brü to your coffee beans would be a healthier choice than adding sugary chocolate syrups to your coffee cup, too.
The health benefits of chocolate
Crio Brü does have a high ORAC score, about the same as a cup of raspberries. (An Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC score, is a test tube analysis that measures the antioxidant levels of food and other chemical substances.) It’s also caffeine free.
Crio Brü claims that their drink is packed with more natural antioxidants and heart-healthy minerals and than almost any drink on the market. They also claim their drink acts as an appetite suppressant and will give you a boost of energy. Cocoa beans do contain a natural stimulant called theobromine that is a relative of caffeine. Unlike caffeine, theobromine gives you a noticeable increase in energy without making you feel nervous or jittery.
I’m reluctant to support any of their health claims, so I’ll leave that up to your best judgment. However, the Denver Post recently published an article, Good news: Chocolate's sweet health benefits by registered dietitian Shirley Perryman, that supports some of their claims about chocolate:
Research continues to suggest that chocolate offers health benefits: improved blood flow, decreased blood pressure and lowered risk of blood clots. Even the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee observed the link between dark chocolate and heart health, reinforcing this good news…
…The higher the percent cacao in chocolate, the greater the flavonol content. Flavonols are associated with a variety of health benefits, including heart health.
Whatever, your reason for seeking out a healthy chocolate drink, I highly recommend Crio Brü roasted 100% cacao beans. After I run out of the samples the company sent me, I will be purchasing more.
Each 3/4 pound bag currently sells for $11.47 plus shipping and handling. They also sell Crio Beans, Crio Cocoa and French Presses. You can learn more about Crio Brü at www.criobru.com or connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.
Disclosure: Some of the links to Crio Brü are affiliate links from which I may earn a commission.