Krazy for Krakus!

A hot cup 'o...Krakus!

A hot cup ‘o…Krakus!

Writer’s Note: Krakus has changed it’s name to Akava. The packaging looks the same and can still be found in most coffee aisles.  More info here.

I wanted to share my journey to cut out caffeine. I haven’t been able to have caffeine now for a few years. I used to be a coffee-tea-latte-drinkin’ gal and all of a sudden it just did NOT agree with me anymore. I started getting instant headaches, stomach aches/cramps, the jitters and I just could not seem to focus anymore. I had to give caffeine the boot – see ya, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. While some health enthusiasts boast about the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of caffeine such as reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes; caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration, and other side effects.  Larger doses might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, chest pain, and ringing in the ears.

Now, here I was alone, no coffee and still craving it – just the taste, just one drop! So I did what most people do and switched to decaf. I also went down to only drinking it on the weekends. Now, I know what you’re thinking – decaf still has some caffeine in it, yes this is true, but I didn’t seem to have a reaction to it. I was more concerned about the chemical bath the coffee beans go through to extract the caffeine. These are the most common 3 methods:

Direct method

In this process the decaffeinated coffee beans are produced by soaking the beans in a solvent that absorbs the caffeine. The solvents that are mostly used are ethyl acetate and methylene chloride (eeek!). After the caffeine has been removed, the solvent that now contain the caffeine is separated from the beans and this is done repeatedly until the beans are free of caffeine.

Indirect method

In this method the beans are soaked in water, then a solvent is used to remove the caffeine from the water that was used in soaking. The coffee beans are taken through this cycle until a given percentage of caffeine is extracted which can take some time.

Swiss Water method

In this process, the caffeine is extracted using coffee flavored water together with carbon filters and it is proved to produce 99.9% coffee beans free of caffeine. This process is very simple and is one hundred percent chemical free hence it does not interfere with the original quality of the coffee apart from removing the caffeine.

It is important when shopping for decaf coffee that you choose one that uses the Swiss Water Method as it is 100% chemical free. Another product I recently discovered is this Polish delight: Krakus Instant Coffee Substitute. It is all natural and made with extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory, and beet roots. I know it doesn’t sound appetizing but I find it really does taste like coffee! You simply add a scoop to hot water, stir and enjoy. It is about $5.00 for a 250g can and each serving is only 5 calories. I figure it works out to $0.04-0.06 per serving depending on how big your scoop is (take that Starbucks!)photo 1(9)

If you are trying to kick the caffeine habit, do it slowly so you don’t experience the nasty side effects of caffeine withdrawal.  Slowly reduce the amount you are having each day and make the transition to a Swiss water decaf variety or give Krakus a try!

Do you drink caffeine? Have you ever experienced side effects?

Fun fact: Did you know coffee is the second most popular beverage in the world, after tea?

Sources:
Webmd.com
baristahq.com

26 Comments

  • Marie May 6, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I quit coffee a month or so ago. No side effects. I now just drink green tea. But this sounds like an interesting product and doesn’t appear to have any gluten in it. Is it available in Canada or are you buying it online?

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak May 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Hello Marie! I bought it at Ferraros here in Trail. I’m sure you can get it at any health food store. I saw your coffee stash at the office 😉

      Reply
      • Marie May 6, 2013 at 10:55 am

        Ya, I looked online and Nature’s Fare sells it for $6.29. Couldn’t find it in the states which was a surprise.

        Reply
        • thehappyhealthfreak May 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm

          I didn’t see it on Amazon either, weird. I’m glad you found it though! let me know what you think 🙂

          Reply
      • Jo September 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

        I buy mine a food basic in Canada in the international food

        Reply
  • Sarah Howells (GF Blogger) May 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Interestingly I wrote a similar blog post recently documenting my attemps to give up coffee! I found I just ended up going cold turkey and working through the headaches! Although one bad weeknd and I;m back on the coffee again *sigh* was very interested to read about the de-caf processes though as I had assumed they were all chemically done – thanks for the great info 🙂

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak May 9, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I’m sure it must have been hard to quit cold turkey! I just learned about the decaf process too. I really like Krakus, you should give it a try 😉

      Reply
      • Sarah H (GF Blogger) May 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

        I’d love to but it’s got barley in and I’m gluten free so I won’t be able to – I shall have to take your word for it 😀

        Reply
  • Laura May 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I NEVER drank coffee up until a year ago. All of a sudden I needed a boost to wake me up for work and now I have it every day. I’ve learned though, I can only handle 1 cup, and more often than not, Starbucks in particular will hurt my stomach and give me a serious case of the jitters! Sorry you had to give it up all together, but it’s great you found an alternative! I also find black teas have a decent amount of caffeine in them to do the trick too!

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak May 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      I actually didn’t find it too hard to give it up, but I wasn’t having much either. I love the taste of it and missed the flavour more than the caffeine I think. It’s funny how some brands just do a number on your insides!

      Reply
  • Cynthia Norton May 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Can anyone tell me where I can buy this Krakus coffee substitue?

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak May 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Cynthia! I’m not sure what country you live in but I am in Canada and bought it at a local health food store. I saw a few places online where you can buy it if you live in the US:
      http://www.mangosmarket.com/shop/product_view.asp?id=193786&StoreID=d9339nk282s92nv700akhlbd3lhf7nv2&private_product=0
      http://edelweissimports.com/krakus-coffee-substitute250g.html
      Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Anonymous July 31, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Krakus has had a name change. It is now called Akava. Hope this helps your search. 🙂

      Reply
      • thehappyhealthfreak July 31, 2014 at 9:06 am

        Thank you!! I actually noticed that the last time I bought it. I thought it was no longer available but it was just a name change 🙂

        Reply
        • Joanne October 26, 2014 at 11:58 am

          Interesting…….few months back had surgery and had to give up caffeine for 6 weeks, so in-laws gave me a product they found in a health food store here in Victoria, BC, called Inka (Polish product) which they told me has been around forever as father in law used to drink it years ago in Ontario. When I ran out found Akava at our local grocery store. When I ran out of that last week went back to get more and now they only have Krakus, so either I just bought an old product or both Akava and Krakus still exist in our stores?! At either rate all three products taste pretty much the same and I’m able to drink caffeine again now but am in no rush. This being said by a long time die hard coffee drinker too, so says a lot about the taste of this caffeine free beverage! Pretty good stuff 🙂

          Reply
          • happyhealthfreak October 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm

            Interesting!!! They only have Akava here now. But yes, it tastes just like Krakus. I was a die hard coffee drinker too and I really like the taste of Krakus…pretty good substitute in my opinion 🙂

  • Helen October 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Same here that I can’t take caffeine anymore. Came upon this and like it. Bought it from local supermarket in Canada here. Going to get a second can, glad to know they have changed name so I don’t have to wonder what is going on.

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak October 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I love it! And yes, good to know they’ve changed the name or I’d be searching everywhere 🙂

      Reply
  • Marion April 22, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for your blog. I just bought Krakus in Food Basics for $2.99 =).. very happy about the price.

    Reply
    • happyhealthfreak April 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you! Great deal…Isn’t it fabulous 🙂

      Reply
      • Marion April 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

        Yes it is and I couldn’t thank you enough. I love combination of ingredients in Krakus. My children loves the bottled Starbucks frappuccino so I made one yesterday using it with rock sugar (removes body heat) and a little bit of brown sugar.

        Reply
  • Beth May 10, 2015 at 6:48 am

    FYI I’ve been around for quite a while, enjoying the world of the coffee substitutes in Canada; my husband & I even tried making our own, years back. We were attempting to replicate what was available at the time: a product called Postum. It’s recipe was changed but the taste remained relatively untouched. Then it disappeared off the shelves and one from Poland was there instead: Inka. Since that time, the name changed to Krakus. Very recently it has changed again, same ingredients and same taste, and is called Akava. I don’t know why it gets the name make over so much, but there you have it: a great tasting healthy coffee substitute! (Maybe I’ll write & ask them why the many hats, and whether there is gluten remaining in it for those who have concern about that.) Enjoy your morning ritual, or evening, as in my case! 🙂

    Reply
  • Donnell holly April 4, 2016 at 7:24 am

    thank you so much for this post. I had an aunt purchase this product for me and I fell in love with the first cup. Unfortunately, I live in Texas and haven’t been able to find a place to purchase it either locally or online. The link above that is mentioned shows it product out of stock. Sad face 🙁

    Reply

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