Product Review – Crio Bru Maracaibo.

Crio Bru Maracaibo

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Crio Brü Australia for introducing me to this flavour when it was included in the sample pack I purchased online from their site.

Before I get into my review, here are the usual basics.

Disclaimer:

I bought this product with my own money, I am not being paid to make this review, nor am I deliberately singling this product or company out. I’m just trying to give an open and honest review on items I use in my household.

Please note:  My review is based solely on Crio Brü’s Maracaibo blend. This is not a review of Crio Brü themselves or any other products, services or business they may offer.

Okay, so let’s get to it!

So what exactly is Crio Brü Maracaibo all about? Well, for those who haven’t followed my love affair with Crio Brü’s flavours on my Facebook page, it is a yet another delicious flavour blend made by Crio Brü from cacao beans. It is a coffee substitute and made in a similar manner – cacao beans dried in the sun, then roasted, milled and packed either as is, or with spice blends or similar.  Maracaibo isn’t a blend, it’s 100% cacao beans and, according to the packet, is free of fat, gluten, sodium and sugar. Going on the ingredients I would also suggest it is dairy free and Vegan friendly.

There are other Crio Brü flavours and I am slowly making my way through them all to try and share reviews of. But this review is all about the Maracaibo flavour. If you would like to learn more about Crio Brü and what they do, please visit their site here.

My Review:

Maracaibo has to be one of my favourite Crio Brü flavours so far. It is one of the mid-range to stronger flavours too so, to me, is a perfect all-rounder. Though, I must say I do prefer it as a hot drink, but its strong – but not over-powering – taste means it works well in baking and ice drinks as well as hot beverages. So, yes, good for bliss balls and brownies!

Although there is a strong ‘I can’t believe this isn’t coffee’ flavour to Maracaibo, I do have to say it is still obviously a hot chocolate. If you get the bitterness juuuuust right though, it makes a great morning coffee substitute – without all the nasty after effects I suffer from when drinking coffee. Meaning, this flavour can easily go without sugar if desired, but I still need some milk (cocoquench) in it to take the edge off the bitterness. The more sugar you add to this one, the more chocolatey it becomes.

Would I recommend this product to others?

Yes I would. I would warn it has the stronger flavour than others… but it makes it a good all-rounder and so a perfect everyday use Crio Brü.

Would I buy this product for myself?

Been there, done that. Made sure I got one of the big 680g bag to ensure I had enough to last me for all I wanted to use it for. Nailed it. Though do need to buy myself some more after only getting it a few months back. 😉

Crio Bru maracaibo big

In summary – has to be one of my favourites. Perfect all-rounder for hot and cold drinks, making and baking.

Until next time,

Janis

Feel Good Friday – Pureharvest.

Welcome to my very first Feel Good Friday segment!

Yes, thank you for noticing I am publishing it on a Saturday, but this week I have been fighting a pesky summer head cold and yesterday was my Eldest Horde’s birthday – so had other priorities. Sorry. 😉

But here we go all the same.

Pureharvest.

My Review.

4 out of 5 stars.

I came across this business a couple of years ago now when I was seeking dairy free milk that wasn’t full of all sorts of crud and also actually tasted nice. I had been making my own nut milk at the time, but then started suffering from horrific chilblains (not related) and so was no longer able to squeeze the bag to make the milk – nut milk makers will know what I am saying here. 😉

So, couldn’t make my own dairy free milk, couldn’t drink dairy without dire consequences… what was I to do? I found Pureharvest Coco Quench and it saved my life. Well, made it a lot easier to live.

I have since found some of their other products – actually quite hard to get here in South Australia in the shops, which is a shame – but that could be because I rarely shop at an IGA, Coles or Woolworths – which is where they say they sell their products. I’m a Foodland girls myself.

However, as nice as the other products are, the Coco Quench is still my only staple from them. And I do love seeing it pop up in more and more cafes to replace the other dairy free milk options as, quite frankly, they were pretty terrible as they were all the same ones I was avoiding from the shops!

So, in a way, you could think most of my review is based on the Coco Quench and, yeah, you’d be correct. But it’s not just that, I love Pureharvest’s principles and ethics and that they are a long running company trying to bring better foods to those of us with dietary restrictions and that they are Australian.

I did ask them for an interview last year and was given answers to my questions. However, the person I had been in contact with has since left the company and, on attempting to contact Pureharvest to confirm all information was still correct, haven’t had any response.

But I get that a lot – I am a small time blogger, not affiliated with any big names and so rarely get my emails responded to. It’s life, I’ve accepted it and moved on.

It doesn’t make me angry at Pureharvest – they are busy doing things like making sure I have enough milk. 😉 But I am a little frustrated, so if they’re reading this, from someone who reached the level of Customer Service Expert in her twenty years in the job – you’re looking a tad unprofessional ignoring all email enquiries, even from we little fish. 😉

But, I digress, I want to talk about the good stuff and I have to say that Coco Quench is indeed the good stuff. To see what’s in it, go here.

What I really love about it – besides the lack of yucky bits that similar “healthy” dairy free milks contain – is the mild taste. It’s not full on coconut nor is it too sickly sweet. I mean, I do still find it too sweet for me, but I’ve acclimatised to it. When I make my own dairy free milk, I don’t add sugar/ sweetener. Personal taste, personal choice. Still, Coco Quench isn’t as sickly sweet as other dairy free milks out there.

The very big winner for me with Pureharvest’s Coco Quench is that is works well in both hot and cold dishes. Some dairy free milks have a tendency to split when heated and can give a curdled look. Not Coco Quench. It is just as good to use in smoothies, homemade yoghurts and ice creams through to cakes, slices and scones.

Coco Quench has the closest consistency to dairy milk that I have come across and is therefore adaptable enough to be used in pretty much any sweet dish you can use dairy milk. I am wondering if the saturated fat content of the coconut is similar enough to that of dairy milk that is responds the same way?

Coco Quench combo.jpeg

What I do with Coco Quench – Top Left: Hot with Crio Bru, Top Right: In a frozen berry and banana smoothie, Middle Left: Makes great yoghurt, Bottom Left: Amazing in my Thai Style Peanut Sauce, Bottom Right: Great in my ‘Coconut Afternoon tea cake’ too!

Now, please note I do say any sweet dish… as I don’t tend to use Coco Quench in savoury dishes, except for my Thai Style peanut sauce. And this is for two reasons – there is still enough of a coconut flavour – no matter how subtle – to make some savoury dishes “taste funny”. Plus it is sweeter than dairy milk and so can add an unwanted sweetness to savoury dishes.

This, to me, means it’s perfectly fine in curries, peanut sauce, and similar Asian style meals… Not that great if doing bangers and mash. This could just be a personal choice but, yeah, my savoury dishes tend to be ones that lack dairy… and dairy substitutes.

Would I recommend Pureharvest to others?

This is simply based on their milk and what I’ve read on their site – I would and do. And I love seeing Coco Quench appear at cafes I frequent and constantly ask if they’re using it yet. When they turn to me and say they now do – a cheer goes up! 😉

Would I use Pureharvest myself?

I do and plan on doing so for many years to come. Theo Coco2 spread is divine, their Coco Quench milk an essential staple in my house, and if I was able to see and buy their other range of products, I wouldn’t hesitate.

In summary: A great Australian company ensuring there are far healthier food options out there. Highly Recommend.

The Interview.

Please note: The answers Pureharvest gave to my interview questions come from March 2016. I have done my best to contact them to ensure the answers are still accurate and up to date but strongly recommend people ask Pureharvest directly if this information is still accurate before they make their own decisions on buying/ using their products.

What is the name of your business?

Pureharvest

Are you Fairtrade?

We aren’t an official Fairtrade company however we ensure all of our products are sourced ethically and are organically certified. Not only are organic products better for our health, by choosing organic products we are helping promote fair and sustainable farming practices.

If you take our Coco Quench beverage as an example, the rice that we use for the rice milk component is from Thailand. We source it from a co-op of approximately 380 farms, all of whom are paid more for supplying an organic product, thereby supporting fair and environmentally sound farming. 

Where is your head office location?

Pureharvest is based in the Gippsland region of Victoria.

What is it you produce/ sell?

We produce a range of organic and natural products, including non-dairy milks, juices, corn and rice cakes, natural sweeteners like our Rice Malt Syrup and delicious spreads like our coconut and chocolate spread Coco².

How many people work for you/ do you work with?

We’re a medium-sized business with a varied and talented team who are enthusiastic about producing quality products.

What inspired you to create your business?

Back in the late 1970s there wasn’t a lot in the way of whole, organic food available. Pureharvest started as a little health food store to address that need and has grown from there.

Where can people get your products?

Pureharvest products are available in Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and health food stores.

Which is your favourite product you produce?

One of the favourites around the office is definitely the Coco Quench – perfect in hot drinks, smoothies and curries. But our Coco² spreads are quickly becoming a favourite as well.

If applicable, are your products Palm Oil free?

None of our products use Palm Oil.

What message would you like to pass on to the world to help make it a better place?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi.

At Pureharvest we love this quote as we’re dedicated to helping people live healthier, happier lives by providing them with nutritious wholefoods.

Your website:

http://www.pureharvest.com.au/

Anything else you would like to add:

Don’t forget to check out our recipe blog where you can find lots of delicious and healthy creations suitable for a range of dietary needs!


I would like to thank Pureharvest for taking the time for those answers, even if it was almost a year ago.

Until next time,

Janis.

Product Review – Crio for One + 3 Taster Packs (Cavalla, Coca River and Vega Real).

crio-bru-gift-pack

4 out of 5 stars.

I bought this item with my own money from Crio Bru Australia.

I am in no way affiliated with Crio Bru Australia – other than being a frequent online customer.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid to make this review, nor am I deliberately singling this product or company out. I’m just trying to give an open and honest review on items I use in my household.

Please note:  This review is based solely on Crio for One + 3 Taster Packs (Cavalla, Coca River and Vega Real). This is not a review of Crio Bru, or any other products, services or business they may offer.

My Review:

What can I say? I enjoyed the Crio Bru Mojito so much I just had to try a few more sample packs. And how better to try them than with a double walled glass and diffuser!

Let’s get the minor negatives over with first – they are tiny and down to personal taste rather than flaws in the product.

Firstly, the glass wasn’t big enough! 😀 Sorry, but I like a BIG cup in the morning and so have a much larger double walled glass – which this diffuser fitted in perfectly.

Secondly, the diffuser was made of plastic. Not silicone or metal but plastic. I’m not a fan of plastic, especially when heated like this by having boiling water (well 95° C for French Press) poured through it. So, yeah, minor thing but it does mean I don’t actually use the glass or diffuser that often – only when my bigger glass and metal diffuser are in the dishwasher. See, I have a work around and am not devastated so it’s all good! 😉

crio-bru-cavalla

My big mug – Cavalla was tried first.

Now the good side of things… Wow I love the variety I tasted between these three flavours. I heated them all the same way and sweetened them with either coconut sugar, coconut nectar or date syrup and added either a Coconut rice milk or Almond Coconut milk.

Sometimes I drank them hot, other times I steeped them overnight and drank them cold the next day, just to see how they go as both a hot Crio Bru and an Iced Crio Bru.

I have to say, out of the three, that the Vega Reál is my absolute favourite. It just works so well as both a hot and cold drink, the flavour is strong, but not too strong and stands out against the flavours of the sweeteners and the milks.

The Cavalla was nice too… but did get hidden by the other sweeteners and milk and, as much as I like the Coca River, it is a bit too strong for me. If you ever need to pull an all-nighter to reach a deadline – drink the Coca River!

crio-bru-iced-cavalla

Iced Cavalla – a family favourite for my kids too.

I must emphasise they were all totally delicious and thoroughly enjoyed by myself and my family… but the Vega Reál is a stand out winner for me!

The only downside to this gorgeous pack is that I now want to try ALL the different flavours… and so need to save my pennies and work my way through. As I really want to review each flavour on its own to give it the time and effort it deserves. A hobby for the New Year maybe? 😉

Would I recommend this product to others?

Yes I would. Yes I felt I had a better glass and diffuser already, but not everyone is a tea and chocolate snob like me so won’t be as well-equipped and so this pack is an excellent way to be introduced to the wonderful world of Crio Bru.

I also love how the pack gives you a range of flavours. A mild, medium and strong… to help you decide what level of Crio Bru best suits you. I feel this would be the perfect gift for lovers of Cacao and those who love coffee but just can’t drink it – like me.

Would you buy this product for yourself?

I did, love it, have no regrets and have used it daily since I got it. The thing I love the most about Crio Bru is it is like having coffee… but not getting the ill-effects I have always gotten from it. No heart palpitations and headaches from Crio Bru!

Secondly, it’s more than just a cacao drink. Yes I drink powdered cacao too, well, I used to but I feel Crio Bru has now replaced that. Why? The flavour is so much better and I don’t get the Cacao headache. So I win on both accounts! I get to feel like I am having coffee, actually drink cacao and get all the great pick up effects of it and none of the bad ones I get from coffee or powdered cacao. Win win!

In Summary: Better than coffee. Better than powdered cacao. A good flavour selection and an excellent starter kit for anyone wanting to begin their journey with a much better, healthier drink!

crio-bru-coca-river

Kicking off Monday with a Coca River in the glass that came with the pack.

Until next time,

Janis.

Product Review – Crio Bru Mojito.

Crio Bru Mojito

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Crio Brü Australia for sending me a free sample of their Mojito blend. I made an enquiry into this product and, besides the fast and friendly service I received, they also sent me the sample.

Before I get into my review, here are the usual basics.

Disclaimer:

Although sent a free sample, I am not being paid to make this review, nor am I deliberately singling this product or company out. I’m just trying to give an open and honest review on items I use in my household.

Please note:  My review is based solely on Crio Brü ’s Mojito blend. This is not a review of Crio Brü themselves or any other products, services or business they may offer.

Okay, so let’s get to it!

So what exactly is Crio Brü Mojito all about? Well it is a flavour blend made by Crio Brü from cacao beans. It is a coffee substitute and made in a similar manner – cacao beans dried in the sun, then roasted, milled and packed either as is, or in the case of the Mojito – mixed with spearmint and lime zest. According to the packet Mojito blend is free of fat, gluten, sodium and sugar. Going on the ingredients I would also suggest it is dairy free and Vegan friendly.

There are other Crio Brü flavours and I do plan on buying them and making my way through them as I can. But this is all about the Mojito. If you would like to learn more about Crio Brü and what they do, please visit their site here.

My Review:

Now, I can’t drink coffee without getting migraine like headaches and heart palpitations. But I can drink cacao. Yes I can still get a buzz headache if I drink it too strong or too much in one go, but it doesn’t affect me anywhere near as much as coffee.

And so, when I learnt of Crio Brü I wanted to know what the big deal was. I mean cacao powder and ground cacao beans – there can’t be a heck of a lot of difference, can there? Hooo nelly I was wrong!

To give my Mojito blend the best chance to impress me as it could, I followed the instructions on the packet it came in. After borrowing a one cup coffee press from my folks, I heated my kettle water to ‘French Press’ temperature (yes, I have a kettle that does different temperatures as I am a tea snob too).  I then added the stated amount (for one cup) into the press and added the water. Let it sit for the time given on the packet and then gently plunged it.

Crio bru 1

Just the Mojito blend and hot water.

I tasted the straight water/ Crio Brü blend and was simply blown away by how like coffee it really was! Not at all like cacao powder in hot water! So much like coffee I expected the killer headache as soon as I sipped it – nada! Wow! Coffee that doesn’t kill me! Can it really be?

Yes, you can tell I was amazed by it as I started to go all silly with how best to describe it. So, to calm my silliness I then added my favourite sweetener and some coconut milk to make it more the sort of “coffee” I like. Wow again! Not like a hot chocolate at all! I really was stunned. It was like COFFEE!

Though I will add here I am not a coffee expert and had my last cup of Jo maybe ten years ago. So my palate for coffee is near non-existent and so regular coffee drinkers may think I’m bonkers and say it tastes more chocolatey than coffee.

But to me, Crio Brü is not a hot chocolate! Yes there is a sort of chocolate undertone to it… but I would have to say it is indeed more like coffee. And, to be honest, I didn’t really taste the lime and spearmint in the first cup. It was just the strong ‘I can’t believe this isn’t coffee’ impact.

Now, don’t think I am some fool who wouldn’t know her Tanzanian single origin 80% from her Brazil blend 60% hot chocolates as you would be so wrong. I am a dyed in the wool – know all local chocolatier café owners by their first names – chocolate snob! I know my chocolate and I am hard to fool with that brown muck most people associate with being chocolate when it is as close to being chocolate as I am to being a super model.

But, being the experimenter that I am, I attempted a second cup from the same grounds. I know this isn’t usually done and I did expect it to be weaker. It was… but you could then taste those lime and spearmint undertones better. I also heated my coconut milk before adding and feel that brought out the tones more.

I also let half my first cup go cold before I finished it as the Mojito does say on the front – ‘Brew Hot, serve cold’. And they are not wrong! It tasted like an iced coffee! Not chocolate milk, an iced coffee. Now I grew up in a part of the world where iced coffee was almost a cultural drink. We were a small city and, sadly, known for being – per capita – one of the highest beer drinkers in the world, second to Germany… Ice coffee was drunk more than beer. I kid you not. And so, I can say I know my iced coffee too!

I can honestly see myself brewing up a big batch of the Mojito blend come this summer and making iced coffee for my kids. I don’t tend to give them real iced coffee as it makes them go a little, shall we say, bat crap crazy. This I can see as being a good substitute, as they don’t like the chicory iced coffee I’ve been trying to fob off on them in recent years.

My next experiments will be to follow the suggestion on a pamphlet that came with my sample to pop it in my Thermomix and brew it that way. Then I have also had a suggestion to brew it slow on the stove… and I think I will – in just my coconut/rice milk.

I also then want to try it in a coffee and walnut cake, dairy free Tiramisu… Oh the possibilities are simply endless.

crio bru 4

My lovely free sample and info. 

Would I recommend this product to others?

Yes I would. I loved it, loved its coffee like quality and do know others who have similar issues with coffee and feel they might like to give it a go too. Just remember, this is not a hot chocolate, it really does taste more like coffee!

Would I buy this product for myself?

Yes I would. As I said earlier in my review, I plan on working my way through some of the other Crio Brü flavours, but I can indeed see myself buying the Mojito blend again and having it as either a hot coffee wannabe or an iced coffee wannabe.

In summary: Not a hot chocolate, don’t be fooled by the cacao! It is indeed more like a coffee and great for those of us who can’t drink coffee. I highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.