Coffee Substitutes and Gourmet Quality Teas

Cracovia Deli in Boro Park.

The front windows of Cracovia Deli are filled with a wide variety of herbal and floral teas, most imported from Poland.

Cracovia Deli
5511 13th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219
(718) 851-7357
13th Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets.
Near the D train elevated line-55th Street Station.  Open Monday-Sunday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.


I love shopping for cereals, teas and coffee substitutes at Cracovia Deli. So many items that Americans have to seek out in organic or natural food stores are available here.  The difference is that overall the prices at Cracovia are more reasonable.

Inka, a natural grain beverage.

I am very put off by the increasing price of coffee at American supermarkets. It is getting harder for me to part with $5, $6 and sometimes $7 for brands like Chock Full O’Nuts, Martinson’s, Savarin and other well known brands. While there is a nostalgia factor to brands like Chock Full O’Nuts (anyone remember their coffee shops, whole wheat donuts and cream cheese with walnut sandwiches?) there is something about spending this much money that puts me off. This is not a gourmet brand nor do I consider it worthwhile to cut into a $10 bill for the purchase of a non-essential food item that has no nutritive content.

These thoughts took me back to the time I lived with my maternal Grandmother Josie. She thought I drank way too much coffee and bought a cereal beverage named Postum for me to have each morning. This was in the 1970s. I do not remember seeing this product in the supermarkets in recent years. With all the emphasis on gourmet coffees I’d forgotten about it until I recently visited Cracovia Deli.

Inka, like Postum, is a natural grain beverage. Inka is made from barley and rye and has a slightly nutty flavor. It is made in Poland. The instructions state that you can add water or milk to make a cup of Inka. I found water to be too thin. Whole milk with one teaspoon of sugar adds a rich and pleasing taste to the beverage. One benefit I derived from drinking Inka is that I found my breakfast digests much better than when I have a cup of coffee. At around $3.50 for an 8 1/4 oz. container I consider this not only a good buy but a healthy choice. No more caffeine craving or jitters.

House of Tudor Ceylon Tea.

I prefer black tea to floral or fruity blends and am very happy with The House of Tudor brand teas available at Cracovia. I purchased their Ceylon Tea and English Breakfast Tea. The flavor is not as deep as Twinings Tea but is a step up from store brands and Liptons Teas. At $1.29 for box of 25 tea bags this is definitely worth buying.

Cracovia gets crowded in the late morning through late afternoon on weekends. I recommend shopping early on Saturday or Sunday, before 10 a.m.

There are also a variety of whole grain breads, crackers and cereals available as well as pierogis and cold cuts.  The different types of honey are also worth trying.  I recently bought a small jar of Linden honey and found the taste delicious.  It’s a welcome change from my usual purchase of Clover honey at Pathmark.