I love coffee. I love chocolate. I shop a lot on Amazon for coffee accessories and for good quality cacao (I dig making chocolate). When I saw Crio Bru show up in my recommendations, I lost my impulse control, and ordered a large $24 bag of these roasted and ground cocoa beans. It's marketed as an alternative to coffee beans.
Verdict: Hell yeah. I love it and will be ordering more. Additionally, I will be evangelizing this newly discovered warm chocolatey beverage to my friends, whether they want to hear about it or not, and I will be unable to shut up about it for at least a few weeks. Yes, this shit is just that real.
Crio Bru sells a bunch of different "roasts," which they say are from single origin cocoa beans of varied provenance. They're marketing the product kind of like third wave coffee companies market single origin coffee beans from Guatemala or Ethiopia or what have you. I don't know how much that matters, and I'm very cautious about taking the truth of any chocolate labels for granted, post-Mast Brothers debacle.
I tried the Crio Bru 'Ghana Light Roast,' formerly sold as 'Crio Bru Cavalla.' I haven't bought other roasts yet, nor have I purchased similarly prepared cocoa beans before for the purpose of coffee-like brewing, so I don't know what to compare this to. But when brewed patiently in an insulated French Press, I got a richly satisfying, low-caffeine, antioxidant and theobromine rich hot beverage that had the density and general shade of coffee, but without coffee's dry, acid bite.
If you're expecting sipping chocolate, hot cocoa, or something like Mexican or Guatemalan chocolate, well, don't. Nor is this coffee or tea. If you prepare it as you do pour-over coffee, it'll be too weak, and you won't like it (at least, I didn't). But if you keep an open mind and give it a nice slow (10-15 minute?) French Press soak with milk and sugar? Oh hell yeah. It's great stuff.
Great for anyone trying to cut back on coffee, but also for those of us who aren't. Sometimes I like to mix Crio Bru 1:1 with fresh pourover or espresso. Highly recommended.