Like Coffee, But Better
The san-kan shi-on pattern (three cold days followed by four warm, traditionally held to herald the arrival of spring) seems to have begun, and the wee buds are on all the flowering flora in the garden, so this may be a bit late to start talking about a hot beverage, but since it got me through this frigid winter, I can at least as wholeheartedly recommend it as I can any product I dare to speak well of in a public arena.
After suffering through my annual health screening (the one where they shove a fat electrical snake down your throat and probe around in your guts for five minutes that feel like an hour, and make your thoat sore for the next three days) I managed to pry some health and lifestyle advice out of the doctor. It wasn't easy, since doctors normally aren't inclined to tell you what to do until you're nearly dying, when they can treat your problem with drugs and surgery, but I'm not interested in waiting till things get that bad. He finally, and tentatively, suggested I might limit myself to one cup of coffee a day. Formerly, I was a right fiend with the stuff, and liked to drink as many cups of black espresso as I could get away with. With an eye to reducing the amount of sharp pain that periodically assailed my gut, I had already downgraded to drip coffee, but on hearing it 'might be a good idea' to reduce my intake further, I poked around the web for a suitable substitute. I settled on this:
Teeccino is a blend of bark and herbs like chicory and dandelion with carob and other good stuff. It actually can taste surprisingly like coffee--but without the caffeine, or the acidity. So on those cold winter mornings of the past couple of months I made it a routine to start my morning with two big mugs of the stuff, shuddering in the darkness with my freezing hands clenched around the warm cup. Between that a hundred pushups, I managed to get my core temperature up to a level that was almost bearable. Now I'm just really, really glad spring is on the way.
But hey, you can use Teeccino to make cold drinks, too. So I have heard. I haven't actually tried.
Note that the tea bags are slightly weaker, and the granule version considerably stonger, than what you might expect. Directions indicate a bag should be brewed for between three and minutes, and the resultant beverage is still similar to what you might call 'American' coffee if you are charitable, or 'sock juice' if you are French. Still--and the directions make no mention of this--you can use the same tea bag twice with no significant loss of flavour. (The third time you get little more than a cup of hot water.) The granules, on the other hand, go a long way. I found I only had to use 1/3 of the amount I would use when brewing coffee: One scoop Teeccino instead of three scoops regular coffee in our three-cup syphon.