Caffè d’orzo: Orzo♥Coffee

20131006_182021Caffè d’orzo is an Italian coffee substitute that is made from ground roasted barley.  It has been drunk in Italy since ancient times, but was especially popular during the fascist era when Italy faced trade embargoes and had very limited access to real coffee.  Since barley was a commonly consumed and grown cereal in Italy, caffè d’orzo became a more financially viable alternative to coffee.

Fast forwarding to modern day Italy…  Following a period of declining popularity during the post-war period when traditional Italian coffee came into its own, caffè d’orzo is now experiencing a well deserved revival.  One of the main reasons for this is that it is naturally caffeine-free and has the health benefits of barley.

I discovered caffè d’orzo at this year’s Vegfest London thanks to a Southampton-based company called Orzo Coffee, who recently launched their products in the UK.  Orzo Coffee’s caffè d’orzo is grown, produced and roasted in the Veneto region of Italy, and is certified organic.  It is available as instant soluble barley, as well as in a ground roasted form for cafetières, percolators, filters and espresso machines.

20131006_182119So, what does caffè d’orzo taste like?  My verdict is that it is a deliciously smooth, full-flavoured alternative to coffee that is a welcome addition to the UK hot beverage market. Aside from my vote of approval, Orzo Coffee has also gained industry recognition and was awarded a gold star at this year Great Taste Awards.

I spoke to Roberta, the founder of Orzo Coffee, who told me the story of their amazing caffè d’orzo.  You can hear my interview with Roberta by clicking on the play button below.

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