5 Alternatives to Coffee

By Starre Vartan, MNN.com

I have no desire to quit drinking coffee, and since I don’t have any contraindications for quaffing java, I enjoy a cup most days each week. But I’m a big believer in moderation and of carefully monitoring personal habits. And so after a winter of drinking coffee most days, I decided to enjoy my coffee — just not every day. These are my favorite drinks for those days when I’m taking a break.

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Hot chocolate: My favorite sub for coffee is a hot chocolate. If you want to mitigate the extra calories from the sweetness, cut down on the fat level of the milk. For instance, I always drink full-fat (but small) eight-ounce cappuccino, which only contain six ounces of milk. My stomach is happier and the caffeine doesn’t hit my system as fast when combined with full-fat milk — and it tastes so wonderful. But when I get a hot chocolate, I go for 2 percent or low-fat milk (or unsweetened soy, if available) instead. Hot chocolate will give you a bit of a lift, and the warm, cozy feeling you get from coffee sans the jolt. And an iced chocolate on a warm day is almost as lovely a treat as an iced coffee.

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Teeccino is the commercial name for a wonderful caffeine-free coffee substitute that seems to be everywhere in Los Angeles but is harder to find elsewhere. A mix of carob, barley, chicory nuts and other flavors (there are all kinds of varieties) it is truly tasty, can be brewed like coffee (in a French press, via tea bags or in an espresso machine), and mixes nicely with milk, soy milk or just plain honey if you’re more of a black coffee/milk-free person.

Green tea: If you are really in need of some caffeine but are trying to cut back, green tea is a great happy medium. With a pleasant taste (I always go for jasmine green teas, which have tremendous flavor but no additional calories), it serves up a subtle, but noticeable caffeine buzz. And, as you’ve probably heard, green tea contains plenty of antioxidants, which likely protect against free radicals and cancer.

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Dandelion root tea is made from the root of the common dandelion, and like the rest of the plant has plenty of medicinal and health-promoting benefits. Slightly bitter (but with a delicious earthy undertone) with a dark brown color, it mixes with milks, sugar or honey well and is also great for liver support — so especially great after a couple of nights out drinking, or just for general health. I started drinking dandelion root tea after a bout with adult mono, which, for the duration of the illness, brings your liver’s ability to process down to almost nothing. I drank plenty of this tea when I was recovering from mono, and my doctor told me my liver was back to full capacity in a lot less time than it normally takes, so there’s some anecdotal evidence that it works.

Rooibos is another full-flavored tea that can be mixed with any kind of milk and has plenty of flavor all on its own as well. It’s widely available (Starbucks’ offering is particularly tasty) at good restaurants and coffee shops throughout the U.S., although its roots are in Africa — the leaves come from the African red bush and it has been drunk in Africa for thousands of years. Some health experts say it has immune-boosting properties.

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277 comments

Biblical S.
Biblical S.9 months ago

There are no alternatives to coffee - and there are very few substitutes for coffee that are acceptable or that come near it. In my opinion to be considered a coffee substitute it needs to taste like coffee (aroma and taste) at the very least (if not the "morning kick").
Tea is a great beverage, it is healthy etc, but it is not a coffee substitute!

Indeed, there is a definite lack of quality when it comes to coffee alternatives. The 'instants' strips any nutritional properties from the ingredients used, and at best just taste pretty awful!

From my own experience I suggest that unless you are seriously allergic to coffee, have one cup of coffee a day and moderate your coffee intake by MIXING some real coffee with a coffee substitute. This way you will gain from both worlds!

The best coffee / caffeine substitute I know of which is not acid and is very energizing is actually an ancient beverage made by the Bedouins (ancient desert dwellers). It is prepared similarly to coffee using date seeds. You can get it on http://dateseedcoffee.com or perhaps some other coffee substitute shops on-line.

Alternatively IF caffeine is not an issue, and what you are really after is the roasting taste of coffee (there are some people like this :-) than try some strongly roasted Oolong teas from your local tea vendor.

James F.
James F.2 years ago

If you're looking for an alternative with as much caffeine as coffee check out Zest Tea. They are teas specially formulated to have as much of a caffeine kick as coffee (3x normal teas) and the flavors are awesome. Find em' here: www.getzesttea.com

Shreen B.
Shreen B.2 years ago

Teeccino is OK, but I like the bitterness of coffee (lifelong coffee drinker switching to alkaline diet). Teeccino is a little sweet for me. :( Still looking for something more similar to coffee. I drink green tea and herbal tea, but need some sort of coffee beverage in the morning.

Susan B.
Susan B.2 years ago

I have no idea why I'm here as there is no alternative to coffee. Sorry.

Azaima A.
Azaima A.2 years ago

curious to try teeccino. Will take it a while to land in Silver City, NM.

Robert O.
Robert O.2 years ago

Thanks so much.

Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you Robyn :)

Borg Drone
Borg Gone2 years ago

Thanks

Hazel G.
Hazel G.3 years ago

Good ideas.

Rajiv T.
Past Member 3 years ago

There's a definite lack of quality when it comes to coffee alternatives. They're usually 'instant' which strips any nutritional properties from the ingredients used, or...they just taste pretty awful and have a mixture of loads of different strange ingredients/flavourings to try and recreate a coffee like taste. If anybody is interested, I'm launching a coffee alternative soon made from 100% Italian Organic barley, the taste is excellent and it's overall a natural quality product (nothing added). cranegrains.com if anyone is interested in learning more about the benefits. Thanks