Win a Bag of Café Orzo: The Italian Caffeine-Free Alternative to Coffee

If you’ve been in a bar in Italy, you may have heard someone order un caffè d’orzo” instead of a plain old un caffè.

What is orzo?

Orzo is roasted barley, naturally caffeine-free, and DEEE-licious. I drink orzo from time to time, although I normally make it with milk into an orzo latte or orzoccino instead of drinking it like coffee — but you can certainly just put it in your coffee or espresso maker (it’s brewed the same way) and drink it “straight” like un caffè.

Where can I find orzo?

If you’re in Italy, it’s sold next to coffee in the grocery store or, of course, at the bar, but if you’re in the United States, you can now find Café Orzo in American coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Café Orzo is made by two leaves and a bud, the award-winning tea company based in Colorado. They were kind enough to send me a sample when I was in the U.S., and it tasted just like what I knew in Italy. That is, YUM.

If you can’t get Café Orzo in your favorite establishment, why not tell the management about it?

What does orzo taste like?

As Café Orzo explains on its Facebook page:

It’s much richer than tea, and while we consider it an alternative to coffee, its flavor is distinctly different. Café Orzo has an earthy, nutty taste, and naturally occurring sugars in the barley impart a slight sweetness.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. I personally consider orzo a whole different drink from coffee or tea — something truly in a class all by itself.

You can also follow two leaves and a bud on Facebook, by the way.

Where does Café Orzo come from?

Café Orzo is 100% certified organic roasted barley that grows on small farms in Italy, near the Adriatic Sea and is artisan roasted in small batches. Yes — you’re getting the real thing from the Bel Paese.

Isn’t “orzo” a type of pasta?

Some Americans and others may know orzo as a type of small soup pasta, and indeed there is a pasta by this name, but don’t be fooled when you’re in a bar in Italy, where it’s roasted barley. In other words, if you order orzo here in a bar, you won’t get a cup of rice-like pasta, I promise.

Didn’t you mention a giveaway?


Just comment* here with how you would enjoy your Café Orzo if you won a bag (if you’re not sure of the possibilities, check out the recipes) by 11:59 p.m. next Sunday, July 25, 2010, and you will be entered in the random drawing for a bag of Café Orzo direct from the company.

For extra chances to win, be sure to check in over at the Bleeding Espresso page on Facebook!

* Sorry for international readers, but the giveaway is limited to those with United States shipping addresses for shipping/customs reasons. If you comment below but aren’t eligible for the drawing, please specify as such (a quick “international” notation will work).

41 Beans of Wisdom to “Win a Bag of Café Orzo: The Italian Caffeine-Free Alternative to Coffee”
  1. 07.19.2010

    The hazelnut caramel orzo latte sounds scrumptious to me!

  2. francine

    Your Cafe Orzo seems to remind me of the Postum that my aunt and uncle drank when I was a kid.

    I’d drink it just like my morning coffee with a dollop of milk. Only I’d drink it in the evening just before bedtime!

    I can’t wait to taste it!

  3. 07.19.2010

    Aw…guess I can’t enter the chance to win a bag. But happy to read your blog, as always!

  4. 07.19.2010

    I’ve got an address in the States, so count me in!

    You’re in!

  5. Gil

    Definitely a good break after too much caffeine! Also, tastes better than most decaffs. I never thought of looking for it in the US. Well, we are off to the coffee roasters later in the week and see if they have any.

  6. 07.19.2010

    Luckily, I live in Italy, so I can’t win.
    I had my first orzo shortly after moving to Italy, when eating dinner at a friend’s house after the meal, and they only drink orzo in the house, made with a normal stove top bialetti moka. What with my being American, they didn’t think I’d even notice. Imagine my surprise in the end that I was polite enough to not spit it up all over the table from the shock of the taste. My other half drinks it all the time, so it is plenty good, but completely different from espresso, particularly when you are expecting a Kimbo and instead get a Kick in the pancia.
    That was it, unfortunately. Never been able to drink the stuff since, not in a bar, not as part of a cappuccino, proprio niente da fare.
    Good luck to the other participants…

    I can understand how your first experience was ruined; if you’re expecting coffee, yeah, um…no 😉

  7. Paula

    Who needs a recipe? Sounds delicious all by itself (some biscotti alongside would be good, too).

  8. 07.19.2010

    Yum! I’d surely try it. Share it with my coworker if I win it!

  9. 07.19.2010

    Iced all the way for me baby….lol! with a nice piece of fresh berry pie mmmm!

    Nice giveaway…thank you!

  10. Danielle

    Iced at the moment…especially because here in NJ it’s currently hotter (and more humid) than it is in Rome (which is where I *thought* I had experienced the worst heat of my life, sans AC, when I studied abroad there….;)) Apparently I was wrong!

  11. Beth

    Great giveaway. I’d enjoy a caffeine free alternative! Thanks for the opportunity.

  12. 07.19.2010

    De gustibus! 😉

  13. AppleTree

    In latte for, more than likely iced…Yum.

  14. Debra Syfert

    Ciao Bella~I tried it while in Italy a couple of years ago, and have to be in the “mood” for sure. I would add either a mint liqueur served hot or iced ~along with an espresso bisquit and a dollop of NUTELLA while dressed in elegance!! My heart is in ITALY!

  15. Mary Repasky

    Sounds great. I am always on the hunt for an alternative to caffeinated coffee.

  16. Lark

    Can’t wait to try Cafe Orzo!!! As a person who loves to drink multiple cups of PG Tips tea everyday, end a meal with an espresso, and has been known to indulge in a tall, cold glass of mugicha (Japanese barley tea), I am so looking forward to trying something new. It would be especially nice on a cold day when I have already overindulged in caffeine. Thanks for letting us know about it.

  17. 07.19.2010

    Very intrigued by this. Sounds interesting..and tasty!

  18. Beth

    Sounds like just the thing when I want ‘something’ in the evening, but risk not being able to sleep if I even think about caffeine! Thanks for sharing 😀

  19. 07.19.2010

    Mmm… since I make my own homemade vanilla syrup (with vanilla bean!), I would have to try the vanilla latte!

  20. I probably would just sit outside on the patio sipping it quietly first thing in the morning — and indulge in sweet memories of Concetta ( my precious mother in law) — when we were still living up in COnnecticut, she came for a visit. We happened to go to a feed store to purchase corn for the local ducks and Canadian geese – she spied the barley! And so we brought home a huge bag that she promptly set about roasting to make Orzo! What a delightful aroma wafted over all of us! ANd of course even my parents enjoyed those steaming cups of Orzo! Thanks for another great memory Michelle!

    How wonderful Bonnie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  21. 07.19.2010

    I am totally fascinated! I’ve never heard of Orzo and being a totally coffee head….am embarrassed that I haven’t! I would try this straight up first, like a shot of espresso to take in all of it’s flavors…then start playing with additional ingredients. And if I don’t win, I will order it anyway, cause you have my interests peaked!

  22. I’m very intrigued with this drink. I’d enjoy it on sunday mornings watching my favorite news show.

    Thanks Michelle for bringing this to our attention.

  23. Dianne

    Sounds delicious! I would invite an Italian friend over to enjoy a cup in the sunroom overlooking the garden.

  24. Sara Van Artsdalen

    I have stopped drinking coffee for 3 months and I am always looking for new drink and non-caffeine drinks. I drank coffee black and would like to try the cafe d’orzo black also. And then I would whip up some fresh cream, sweeten with a little sugar, and then try another cup with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

  25. Jill

    I love it with soy milk, just as I make my caffè latte. So happy it’s available in the US, I am off to look for it!

  26. 07.20.2010

    Tastier than Teecino and great for dipping biscotti and listening to relaxing music in the evening.

  27. 07.20.2010

    It sounds absolutely delicious. What a wonderful way to wake up in the morning.

  28. Judy DeSapio

    I am so excited to read about Cafe Orzo. For medical reasons, I can’t drink coffee or tea – decaf or regular. I can only drink herbal teas and I am bored with them. I would love to try a orzo latte or iced cafe orzo or any other ideas!! Really want to win a bag of Cafe Orzo. Thank you, Michelle! Can I also have it like a shot of espresso?

    Indeed Judy; you can drink it straight, with or without sugar, with or without milk, etc. Very versatile 🙂

  29. joanne at frutto della passione

    Can you believe I have never, ever tried this? My father-in-law used to have it for breakfast every morning, but I never tried it. Can’t say I’m tempted either. Maybe this August while we’re on vacation I’ll order a capuccino d’orzo for breakfast.

    My in-laws drink this a lot too — in fact, there’s where I first tried it!

  30. Kathy

    I can’t wait to try it! If I like it, I’d like to offer it to our customers at our cafe in Santa Fe. We have lots of international tourists visit us as well as many locals that travel frequently that I think would love an alternative to coffee and tea.

  31. Amanda

    This sounds yummy! I will definitely be trying it on my next trip through Italy! 🙂

  32. Ellen

    I’d bring it to the next coffee-tasting that my friends and I have every month – yum!

  33. 07.21.2010

    So glad to know that you can buy Orzo in the U.S. I would drink it just as it is in place of espresso, especially in the evening. I’ve already referred the website to a couple of friends that I know will be interested.

  34. Michael Pagliacci

    Mi manca Italia.

  35. Alina Brooks

    Plan on visiting Italy in March, this would be an opportunity to taste the flavors or Italy here in the states.

  36. 07.22.2010

    I’m not entering to win, just wanted to say that I love Orzo. It’s my favorite winter drink. Now that summer is here I’ve switched to iced coffee, but in the winter I start my day with a nice cup of orzo.

    Thanks for commenting, Mary! I love it in the winter too; I’ve never had it iced…hmm….

  37. 07.22.2010

    Wow, this stuff sounds pretty interesting. I’d probably do a milk free latte with either almond or hazelnut milk. Yum!

  38. 07.26.2010

    International reader.

    The drink will go well with the “Brutti Boni” biscuits from Prato. To die for!

  39. 09.17.2010

    I had this when I went to Italy a few weeks ago. It’s deeelicious! Too bad I can’t find it in any areas around where I live (Nashville).

    You should look into this company, Julia, and you can make it at home 🙂

  40. 11.24.2010

    … I used to have breakfast with caffe d’orzo when I was a kid (coffeine is supposed to be too strong for children) – now I discover that in Japan they do the same with tea, kids have raosted barley tea instead of the “regular tea”, which has teine…

  1. [...] Win a Bag of Café Orzo: The Italian Caffeine-Free Alternative to Coffee [...]...
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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