I have vague memories of drinking ‘caffe’ d’orzo’ (barley coffee) when I was a kid in Italy; I remember the tin it used to come in, the smiley face of the kid on the label and the strong, warming aroma it had. I never drank it in my adult years and it slowly faded from my memory. A few days ago I was sent a new product to try and indeed, it was caffe’ d’orzo from an Italian roaster based in Tuscany, called Innocente. I was curious to find out what it was like, especially given the introduction:
Innocente is artisan wood roasted barley that brews like coffee.
Completely caffeine free, this pure natural drink is so safe that in Italy it’s given to toddlers. No chemicals are required to decaffeinate as it starts out caffeine free.
I made it using my pressure coffee machine, and it came out rich, dark and with a lovely layer of crema on top. It is flexible enough to be made via different machines, from cafetiere to moka.
I love the packaging and the label which brings to mind some De Chirico painting, with the Siena bell tower depicted on bright blue background.
Did it bring back childhood memories? It sort of did, although it’s obvious this is a more mature, grown up barley coffee than what I was used to. I am not sure I will be switching my caffeine for barley any time soon, however given it’s a completely caffeine free drink, it will be a good alternative for after dinner, or when there’s a need for a more smooth, gentle drink than espresso.
Innocente retails at £5.99 for 250gr, and is available from a few selected retailers including Amazon.