One of the things I enjoy most about writing for Reviews, Chews & How-Tos is the opportunity to use and review products I would likely never come across otherwise - I have made several wonderful discoveries doing this, and today I am going to tell you about one that's been a real revelation for me: Green Alert.
I am not Team Coffee or Team Tea - I'm a long time fan of both, and enjoy trying new blends and having a large selection of tasting notes to select from on whim. But I have never considered combining the two, and when I heard there was a guy who'd started a small company putting coffee and green tea together, my first thought was 'that's nuts and sounds terrible!' - and my second thought was 'I love that he did that, and I want to taste it!'
Now, the first question I had was why?
Why would a person want to combine these two things instead of what I tend to do - start the day with coffee, and then move on to tea?
Well, it's got to do with a little bit of science.
According to Green Alert's website, the combination of coffee and green tea ramps up the caffeine to the level of an energy drink, but the L-theanine in the green tea keeps away the jitteryness and crashing that often happens with caffeine alone.
For those that depend on energy drinks to sustain them through their day, this is a much less chemically sketchy way of doing so, and you can control your sweetener intake by a lot, and by switching out a regular cup of coffee for Green Alert, you can treat yourself to the health benefits of green tea without giving up your coffee.
So good enough! I do not drink commercial energy drinks, so I can't speak first hand to how the two compare, but I did sip one once and wow, did that taste horrible - like a nightmare version of Kool-Aid! Green Alert, on the other hand, is a surprisingly delicious adult-quality beverage.
I do mean surprisingly - I was happy to try it, but was still unconvinced that green tea flavored coffee was a good idea, and to be quite honest, the first couple cups were hard to wrap my mind around - there was a delicious aroma of good quality coffee, and then a sip that was pretty much strong, smoky green tea. It was confusing!
But it was the sort of confusing where you keep on sipping, thinking 'This is so weird! Do I like this??' and then realizing the cup was empty and you wanted some more. And then going on to have a ridiculously productive day, feeling calmly alert after having started the day drifting to sleep every time you sat still for a second.
So... yea. I am a fan. A BIG FAN. And I'll be a regular customer.
Green Alert comes in two blends, and uses all Fair Trade organic products:
PRIMAL - Sumatran Coffee and Wulu Green Tea. This is a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee with - yes - green tea! Together the flavor is deep and intense, with a hint of smoky nuttiness. This was the one that had me experiencing confused senses for a couple cups, but I have come to really adore this flavor combination a lot.
REFRESH - Dark Ethiopian Coffee and Moroccan Mint Green Tea. This is more complex and a brighter taste. The Moroccan Mint is a blend of green tea, jasmine tea, and mint, and the coffee is smooth and dark with strong chocolatey notes. Do you see where this is going? - this is like a delicious Thin Mint in a glass! I didn't have even a momentary bit of confusion here - the tastes are incredible together. This is the one for a dessert cup of coffee (yes, throw a little splash of Irish Creme in there if you like!), and I enjoy it a lot in the late afternoon as a latte (recipe below) to carry me through the impulse to nap without getting too wound up to sleep come bedtime.
So once I had sorted out that I did like it, I started playing around with different ways to prepare it - you do need to brew it like coffee rather than steeping it quickly like tea, but some methods work better than others, and there is also the choice of hot or cold, with or without some cream or sugar.
It was recommended to use a French Press or to cold brew it, and to avoid an automatic drip, as it simply isn't an optimal method to get the best flavor from the Green Alert Blends. After trying it in the automatic drip (of course I had to try it!), I agree with that accessment, although to be fair it handles it about as well as it handles any brand of coffee - if you want the best, you want another method, but it is convenient and adequate enough to get it done if you haven't the patience for anything else.
The French Press did a great job. The result used fewer grounds than the auto-drip pot, and made a stronger cup. For those that enjoy using a French Press, this is the method you want, and the result will be fantastic.
I am honestly not a fan of the French Press, although I've had one for years - the process of using it is one I've never mastered comfortably, as silly as that sounds. So, I pull it out now and then, but it's not a regular part of my daily routine.
The result is a concentrated Green Alert extract that can then be used with water to make a delicious hot or cold beverage that is really smooth and non-acidic, and it seems to make the coffee and green tea flavors work together really nicely, too, instead of battling for dominance.
I was able to make enough of the concentrate at a time to provide me with several days worth of iced coffee lattes.
Cold Brewed Green Alert
(I made a batch for each blend)
- 6 oz Green Alert (Refresh or Primal)
- 3 cups cold water
- 2 large bowls
- fine mesh strainer that can fit over bowl
- coffee filter or cheesecloth
- Quart Mason Jar or other container
Place Green Alert grounds into a large bowl, pour over cold water. Stir gently to blend. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and let sit on counter for 24 hours.
Place strainer over 2nd bowl and insert filter or cheesecloth into the strainer. Carefully and slowly pour brewed Green Alert and grounds into the strainer, pausing if liquid gets near the top of the strainer, so it can drip into the bowl before continuing (if you overflow, you'll get grounds in your concentrate, and be straining again).
Once all the liquid is in the bowl, let the strainer sit for a few more minutes to catch any further drips. Grounds can be composted.
Pour resulting concentrate into a quart jar for storage.
Microwave Cold Brewed Hot Green Alert
Combine equal parts cold brew concentate and water, and warm in microwave. Adjust strength to your taste with more concentrate or more water. Add milk and/or sugar as desired or enjoy black. All the advantages of instant coffee with none of the yuck!
Cold Brew Iced Coffee Green Tea Latte
This is my favorite! Especially delicious with Green Alert Refresh. I like mine with no sweetener and find the mint makes it taste sweet and rich without added sugar. And yes, you can most definitely add a splash of Baileys to that for a 'shamrock shake' worthy of the name!
Fill your glass half full with ice. Fill 1/3 full with cold water. Add 1 part chilled coffee concentrate, and 1 part whole milk or cream to taste, along with sweetener or Baileys if desired. Stir and enjoy.
Green Alert is available for purchase directly from the website for $14 per 12 oz. bag in either of the two flavor blends currently available (Refresh or Primal). Shipping is $2 per bag and as this is a small artisan company, it is only shippable to the US. I found this price to be very reasonable - the organic Fair Trade coffee used in each blend is rich and well roasted and would easily cost as much or more per ounce. The high quality fair trade tea would cost a good bit more per ounce.
If you'd like to try a bag or two for yourself, Green Alert is offering a couple ways to help you do so:
From now until midnight March 14, 2016, you can save yourself the shipping costs by using the code RCHSHIP at checkout!
Meanwhile, we've also got a Giveaway for you! One winner in the US will receive a bag of each blend to discover for themselves what an interesting product this is - read on to see how you can enter to win!
To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.
This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 3-14.
The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.
Once the winner has responded and confirmed, their first name will be posted on our Giveaways page.