Coffee and I have had a good thing going since my freshman year of college, when I started making "mochas" in the dining hall, because who can resist an all-you-can-drink hot chocolate machine? I added less and less hot chocolate to the concoction over time and eventually made the transition from mochas to sweetened lattes (Cinnamon Dolcé, anyone?) to unsweetened flat whites to brewed coffee with a splash of all-natural vanilla creamer.
While my Starbucks order has changed over time, my attachment to my morning cup of coffee has only intensified. After college, I entered the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. workforce, started running and doing triathlons, and eventually got married and had a couple of kids — all of which made a jolt of caffeine and a simple morning ritual that much more necessary.
Every now and then, though, my eyes wander. I read an article about how coffee is bad for you, or how even small doses of caffeine can disrupt sleep, or how coffee is a diuretic and probably dehydrating me. I've considered leaving coffee or maybe just seeing what else is out there. I've made my coffee share a mug with MCT oil and butter. I've whispered sweet nothings to green tea and apple cider vinegar concoctions. A few times, I've cut off communication with coffee altogether, but never for more than a week or so. I always come crawling back.
A new morning partner caught me eye recently: broffee, the Brangelina of bone broth + coffee. Bone broth is everywhere right now, and one of my best friends even swears drinking it every day made her second pregnancy easier than her first. Maybe broffee was a two-birds-one-stone way for me to get some broth into my diet and — yet again — see if quitting coffee was a magical fountain of youth after all.
Broffee is an organic, grass-fed beef bone broth supplemented with coffee, coconut aminos and oil, cocoa powder, and spices. Nontraditional, sure, but I've always been a sweet-and-salty-lover (kettle corn is life), and this new elixir touted so many crunchy buzzwords that I had to test it out for myself. The fact that it contained some actual coffee (with caffeine!) made it feel like I was barely even cheating on my steady morning mate. I tucked the coffee maker out of sight, stocked my fridge, and set out to see what the broffee buzz was all about.
The taste never grew on me, my skin didn't begin to glow, and my energy level didn't go through the roof.
When I heated up my first cup on the stovetop, I was pleasantly surprised by the smell. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg: it was a sweet and cozy scent that seemed promising. When I tasted it, however, I was reminded that this was definitely not coffee or hot chocolate or anything else familiar. It tasted . . . strange — not quite salty beef broth, not quite spice-infused coffee, but some sort of new, weird concoction that my taste buds didn't know what to do with. I thought maybe I'd acquire the taste, but I pretty much had to choke down that first mug.
I missed coffee already. The only noticeable effect that first day was a mild headache in the afternoon, which was likely because I'm used to more caffeine. "This is good," I told myself, congratulating myself for breaking my nasty caffeine addiction, which was to blame for pretty much anything and everything I hoped to change about my entire life. I vowed to power through.
On day two, I still hadn't come anywhere close to acquiring the taste. Committed to the challenge, I opted to let it cool to lukewarm so I could chug it and get it over with. My hands felt naked the rest of the morning, reaching for the insulated mug I usually sip coffee from until at least 10 a.m. I thought about all the lovely mornings coffee and I had spent together. I wondered if that was just the addiction talking. I stayed strong. I had less of a headache on the second day, which again I chalked up as a good sign that all those buzzwords were working.
By the third day, I no longer had a caffeine-withdrawal headache in the afternoon (pro), but I wasn't getting any closer to enjoying the taste, either (con). I slept great that night, which could have been from the lower caffeine intake, the buzzwords (Organic! Grass fed! Cold pressed!) or the fact that I sweated my face off in a killer bootcamp class that day. I told myself it was definitely the broffee, and I renewed my vow to finish out the week. Coffee who?
If you've had a rocky relationship with coffee, maybe broffee is exactly the healthy alternative you need.
At the risk of being totally anticlimactic, I felt pretty "normal" on days four through seven. The taste never grew on me, my skin didn't begin to glow, and my energy level didn't go through the roof. Other than the taste, I didn't have any complaints about the experiment either, though. It was probably good to cut back on the caffeine for a little reset, and the fact that broffee has some caffeine made this reset more tolerable than the times I've tried to go cold turkey in the past.
Broffee and I had a nice little Fall fling. It was good to get out of my morning comfort zone, try something new, and prove to myself that I can leave coffee any time I want. In the end, though, I eagerly welcomed my home-brewed coffee with vanilla creamer back into my life. I might add bone broth into the mix as an afternoon pick-me-up, but I think I prefer it with a little rice and veggies (also known as soup), to be honest.
If you've had a rocky relationship with coffee — if you're suspicious it's sabotaging your sleep or your gut or your energy levels — maybe broffee is exactly the healthy alternative you need. Coffee may not be perfect, but coffee has been good to me. I can't say I'll never let my eyes wander again, but for now, coffee and I have a standing date every morning until the end of time.