PERO: All Natural Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee Substitute

The Problem With Coffee…

Most of us already know that there are health issues associated with drinking too much coffee. I knew that for years, but I kept on chugging it by the gallon. But I cannot do that anymore. The acidity is too much for me nowadays (I’m pushing 40), and too much of the stuff gives me heartburn or even acid reflux in the middle of the night.

Besides the high acidity of coffee, there’s also the caffeine. I used to live for caffeine during my college days and even later on when I was a delivery driver. Even when I started to experience anxiety issues triggered by too much coffee, I still kept on drinking it (stupid, right?).

So I was able to get away with my coffee habit for many years, but recently I started looking for healthier alternatives to coffee and tea (yeah, I like Earl Grey too). I knew that you could buy “herbal” teas – which don’t actually contain tea – so then I thought, what if they make “herbal” coffee too?

It turns out they do.

While passing through the coffee aisle at Walmart one night, I noticed Pero and decided to give it a try.

What Is Pero?

Pero is a healthy, natural alternative to drinking coffee. Unlike regular coffee, Pero has no caffeine, so you can basically drink as much as you want without suffering from the jitters and energy spikes and crashes associated with drinking too much coffee.

It’s an instant beverage made in Germany and imported to the US by a company in New Jersey called Internatural Foods LLC. Pero is made from only a few simple ingredients and contains no artificial ingredients, no preservatives or anything like that. All it has in it is barley, malted barley, chicory and rye. I have to be completely honest: I’m a city boy and I don’t even know what all those things are. They sound like twigs and leaves to me. But I do know that barley is used to make beer…so that makes me happy! 🙂

I do see that on the package label, it states that barley includes gluten, so anybody on a gluten-free diet will probably not want to be drinking this…or beer. I am so sad for you caffeine/gluten-free folks. 🙁

There’s only 5 calories per serving, so no biggie there. I suppose coffee is the same?

As far as the cost, I’ve seen Pero on sale in the coffee aisle for about the same price as instant coffee, or maybe just a tad more. So you know, it’s a little more expensive than your basic ground coffee, but if you already drink instant coffee, then you will find Pero to be comparably priced. I’ve also found it for about the same price on Amazon, but that’s for a single can. If you buy the 6 pack on Amazon, then it works out considerably cheaper (like maybe $6-$7 per container), and you can get free shipping, so that’s a pretty good deal. That’s where I’ll be getting mine from now on.

Why I Prefer Pero To Coffee

Pero coffee substituteOver the past year, I’ve been experiencing various health problems, and most of those are diet-related. I can’t say for sure if my poor American diet is a direct cause of those problems or if it merely makes them worse, but it us what it is. So that’s why I’ve been making some changes to my diet and moving away from all my processed junk food and going for more natural stuff.

I’ve been a coffee lover all my life, but I have found it to have some bad effects at various times in the past, especially in connection with my anxiety and depression issues. I once had a very, very bad panic attack that was set off by drinking 1-2 cups of coffee on an empty stomach. Anyone who suffers from anxiety has probably also experienced some nasty effects from consuming any type of stimulants. So that’s another benefit of switching from coffee to Pero…no stimulants.

Another reason I like Pero is that it is an instant hot beverage. I just microwave a cup of water for 2 minutes and BAM! Ready to go!

Since switching to Pero, I’ve also started to notice the subtle difference in flavor from standard coffee, and I’m starting to actually prefer the taste of it. It’s very smooth and similar to coffee, but I think it’s a little less bitter. I can even drink it straight without gagging, something that I couldn’t always say about some of the coffees I’ve had over the years!

When I first tried Pero, I didn’t even notice any difference in flavor from regular coffee. I add French vanilla flavored coffee creamer to my coffee anyway, so when I switched to Pero, I didn’t even taste the difference…all I tasted was my familiar vanilla creamer. But now I’m noticing it a little and am preferring the new stuff.

Photos copyright Chris Desatoff.

Chris Desatoff is a blogger, cartoonist, and photographer living in Hawaii. Do you have any comments on this post or want to contact Chris?  You can reach the author at his blog: