So, I get this invitation to attend the launch of a new beverage product, redespresso, and I am thinking, 'Why would you make a decaffeinated tea product to mask as espresso?' I am also thinking I am not going to like it because it is tea, and I don't really do tea. Sure, I have the occasional cup of genmaicha after sushi or the iced variety with a burger at lunch. But truthfully, tea and I have never really gotten along. I do, however, love coffee and espresso, and I wanted to keep my mind open to the possibility of a new decaf beverage option for my pregnant wife. She is struggling with the lack of choices out there that don't include tons of sugar, chemicals, or what have you. In other words, I am taking one for team.
I arrive at Wilde Roast Café a little late and get introduced to Natasha Larche of redespresso. Immediately, a regular-looking latte is put into my hands with a little honey drizzled over the top, and it is different and really delicious. As I sip, the beverage becomes more complex with a slightly fruity quality, and after about half the beverage, you can really taste the tea--in a good way.
I ask for a double shot of redespresso to get the baseline compared to the usual espresso. It has a great crema, which is what espresso is really about. Crema is the foamy, creamy top layer on a well-pulled espresso, and it makes the drink. Espresso without crema is like beer without a frothy head. But back to the espresso. It is very smooth, creamy, and has an undeniable ruddy-orange hue. At fist sip, it feels like espresso in your mouth with the rich crema, and the flavor is slightly of espresso until you have a second sip. Then the fruitiness and tea base come though. By fruitiness, I mean like lychees and red grapes, not sweet though, just hints of those fruits in their smoothly bitter forms.
In the end, redespresso is a good alternative espresso product with a huge amount of antioxidants. It's all natural, caffeine-free, hand-harvested, and the company is family-owned and operated (Natasha is the niece of the inventor, and virtually everyone employed by the company is family or friend.). I also think it has some versatility for cocktails, cooking, and desserts. Maybe redespresso chocolate ice cream or ale and redespresso-braised short ribs of beef with parsnip puree--I'll let you know.
Redespresso is available at Wilde Roast Cafe in Northeast.