What Do You Know About The Roma Coffee Alternative?

Looking for a great-tasting Roma coffee alternative? You can skip the expensive coffee shop and still have a tasty and enjoyable beverage

Alternatives to coffee are becoming increasingly popular. You’ve probably heard of drinks at the top of the list such as Yerba Mate and green tea. But what if you don’t want tea and you’re looking for something that looks, tastes and feels a lot more like coffee? There’s another option that’s gaining in popularity. It’s the Roma coffee alternative.

What Is the Roma Coffee Alternative?

Roma is a coffee alternative that’s traditionally made from roasted barley, roasted malt barley, roasted chicory, and roasted rye. The most popular brand is Kaffree Roma and it’s packaged as an instant beverage. All you have to do is heat up some water and stir it in. The Roma coffee alternative is 100% caffeine-free, non-GMO, and doesn’t contain any tannic acid.

Roma Coffee Alternative
Kaffree Roma

You might be surprised how many instant coffee drinks have dairy in them, but the Roma coffee alternative doesn’t have any dairy and it’s completely vegan. Since it’s caffeine-free, you can also rest assured that you won’t experience anything like the jitters, or a quick spike and then crash in energy. 

Health Conscious Coffee Drinkers

The Roma coffee alternative is also popular among a lot of personally health-minded individuals because it’s non-GMO. This means that the Roma coffee alternative isn’t made with any genetic engineering or composed of any ingredients that might have been genetically engineered or modified, to begin with before being added.

Even though tannic acid is typically found in a lot of coffees and teas, there isn’t any of that in the Roma coffee alternative either. If you’re unfamiliar, tannic acid is used in a lot of foods and beverages to improve the flavor and overall profile of the drink.

It’s found in wines and beers as well as coffee and tea. In coffee, it just so happens that tannins occur naturally in the actual coffee plant. So for people that have a sensitivity to tannins or acidity in general, it’s a benefit for them to know that there isn’t any tannic acid in the Roma coffee alternative.

What Does the Roma Coffee Alternative Taste Like?

The Roma coffee alternative only has a few simple ingredients, but each one of these ingredients singularly contributes to the overall flavor. 

  • Barley is the ingredient that provides the nutty base that you find in the beverage. 
  • Malt barley gives you those sweeter, caramel notes. 
  • Rye is what gives you that little bit of bitterness and sour that mimics what you would normally associate with a more bright and acidic coffee profile, but without the actual acidity. 

And since each one of these is roasted, you also still get that roasted taste that you would expect from roasted coffee beans.

The most noticeable flavor in the Roma coffee alternative is roasted chicory. It has a sweet tobacco-smoke kind of aroma that tastes a lot like actual coffee. In fact, chicory has its own history and relationship with coffee.

Starting in the 19th century, France began mixing chicory in their coffee as a specialty drink and in the United States during the American Civil War, people in Louisiana started mixing chicory in their coffee as an important cost-saving strategy to make coffee supplies last longer. That’s why most people associate chicory in coffee with New Orleans. It’s now a signature beverage of the city.

The Final Word on a Roma Coffee Alternative

Roma is a coffee alternative that might be perfect for you if you’re someone who is looking for a coffee alternative that actually looks, smells, and tastes as close as you can get to the real thing, without it actually being coffee. There are a lot of reasons why you might be on the lookout for a coffee alternative.

For some people, these can vary from health issues to dietary preferences to even taste. For example, maybe someone can’t have caffeine because of a heart or cardiovascular issue.

Roma is a safe alternative to coffee at that point. The same is true for people who have digestive sensitivities or diagnosed medical conditions that might not allow them to have the tannic acid found in coffee. Roma might also be a really good alternative for them as well.

Also, believe it or not, there’s a group of people out there who just don’t like the taste of coffee but want to drink something similar. Whatever the reason, none of them should stop you from being able to participate in the ritual of a morning cup of coffee, let alone skip out on the coffee shop experience. Especially when there’s a coffee alternative like Roma.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.