My Review Of Roast Grain Latte: Caffeine-Free Coffee Substitute

 

Korean Roast Grain Latte

Why I Bought Roast Grain Latte

For health reasons I rarely drink coffee anymore, but I still love it and miss it in the morning and late at night, so from time to time I’ll try out various coffee substitutes.  Well, the other night I found a Korean instant hot drink called Roast Grain Latte, distributed by Damtuh Food Co, Ltd.  It’s vegan and it’s caffeine-free.  And yes…it really is super creamy and thick.  How they pulled that off with their “creamy” vegetables…I have no idea.  But it’s not bad at all.

Tastes a bit like roasted sesame crackers (which I love) with a hint of sweetness.  It’s not super sugary or anything, so you’d have to add some sugar or honey if you want it to taste like something from Starbucks.  But straight out of the package, it’s not bitter at all and tastes really good.

And as an instant latte, it only takes like 2 minutes to make.

It has 90 calories per serving (1 packet made with water)

What Are The Ingredients?

Here’s the ingredients description, straight from the front of the box…

  • Black sesame powder – 15%
  • Brown rice powder – 15%
  • Soybean flour – 15%
  • Black bean powder – 6%
  • Sorghum powder – 5%
  • Sweete rice powder – 5%
  • Vegetable cream powder – 19%
  • Sugar and salt (from the side panel)

How To Make It

  1. microwave 100 ml (just under 4 oz) of water or milk for 2-3 minutes
  2. stir in 1 packet of roasted grain beverage mix
  3. that’s it

On the box, the instructions recommend that you make it with 200 ml of milk and two packets to enjoy it “fully” and not just “lightly” (with 1 packet and water), but I don’t recommend the double serving if you’re anything like me with my morning coffee.

When I drink coffee, I typically end up having to reheat it several times because I get distracted working; so after a few sips it just sits there and gets cold, and I have to go warm it up again.  So now I only make half cups of coffee on the occasions that I do drink coffee, and that is perfect because these guys design this beverage to have a 100 ml serving size (less than ½ cup of liquid).

You can also make it as a cold beverage or smoothie, but I haven’t tried that yet.  I imagine it would take a lot of stirring to dissolve that whole packet, so if I do decide to try it cold, I’ll probably add ice and use a blender to make it into a smoothie.

Note To Self: Don’t Reheat It In The Microwave

If you’re going to sit and drink it down within the next 5-10 minutes, then sure, go ahead and make a double shot hot latte with two packets.  But if not, then just mix up 1 packet and drink it, then go make additional cups as desired.

The reason I say this is because I found out the hard way that if it gets cold, you cannot just pop it back in the microwave to refresh it like you would with regular coffee.  If you do…guess what’s going to happen?

THIS…

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As you can see, it gets messy.

Really, REALLY messy.

As I mentioned already, this drink is very thick and creamy, even when just mixed with water.

As such, as it sits and cools down, the sediments separate from the water somewhat and settle, forming a thick sludge down in the bottom of your cup.  It might sound gross, but it’s not haha.  You can just add some hot water and stir it again and it’s good to go.

But this first time I drank it, I put mine back into the microwave for a minute to refresh it, and what happened is that the sludge bubbled up and literally went all over the place.  As you can see…the cup was empty and that rotating glass plate at the bottom of the micro was filled and overflowing with that stuff.

So you don’t want that.

If you do need to warm it up, I’d recommend either making some hot water on the side and mixing that in (possibly adding another half packet so it’s not too diluted) or just…well…that’s all you can do, I guess.  That’s why I say to just mix up one packet at a time and then go back for seconds, so that it doesn’t sit there and get cold and turn to worthless sludge.

OH!  Or you can pop it in the fridge and use it later to make a smoothie?

Maybe.

Whatever.

I like it hot.

What I Love About This Roast Grain Latte Drink

 

korean roast grain latte reviewWell, like I mentioned way back in my PERO review, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy alternatives to coffee.  And I am also once again taking a shot at going vegan.  So I was pretty excited when I stumbled onto this drink.

  • I love that it contains no dairy
  • I love that it isn’t bitter and tastes fantastic as is
  • I love that it’s fast and easy to make
  • I love that it’s very nutritious
  • I love the roasted sesame flavor
  • I love that it’s caffeine-free (no jitters or sleepless nights)
  • I love that it’s not acidic (no heartburn or acid reflux)

Where Can You Buy It?

I bought mine in Korea town here in Vegas at a store called…um…hmm.  I don’t even know what it’s called.  It’s on the west side at S. Rainbow and Spring Mountain, in that shopping center simply called “Korea Town”.  So anyways, that’s where I bought mine.

I couldn’t find this exact one on Amazon, but I found another drink from the same company called Roast Grain Tea with Yam.  It looks similar, but it says tea instead of latte, so I’m guessing it might not be as thick and creamy?  But I don’t know for sure yet, because sometimes these imported foods don’t get the translation exactly right haha.

I did come across another brand of roast grain latte that looks like it’s basically the same thing.  It’s also known as misugaru or misutgaru…basically a Korean superfood roasted grain drink.  The ingredients listed are slightly different from this brand that I bought though, so I’ll have to try that out and let you know how it is.  But it looks like the sesame is the dominant flavor, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to taste very similar.

Honestly, I’m thinking that they’ll all be pretty good, so I’m going to find out for myself.

One Last Thing…

Hey, one more thing came to mind about roast grain drinks:  this stuff is very thick and creamy.  In other words, it’s fairly heavy — like a hot smoothie — and you wouldn’ t want to drink 4 or 5 cups of it in a row like you would with coffee or tea.  I mean, you COULD drink down that much, but you’d have to adjust your mindset to accomplish it and still enjoy it.  So if you want to sit and relax and enjoy a nice hot beverage, then yes…1 or 2 cups’ll do it.

You can enjoy misugaru as a meal replacement drink from time to time; many people do just that.  It’s very nutritious and good for you.  I dare say you could justifiably call it a “health food”.  But again, I found that for me, I just want to relax and sip something at my desk in the morning or evening — something besides coffee — and a couple small cups of this is perfect.

This is the Roast Grain Tea with Yam from Damtuh…

And this is the Roast Grain Latte from a different brand…

Chris Desatoff is a cartoonist and blogger.  You can find more of his words and stuff on his blog at www.ChrisDesatoff.com

coffee cartoon