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5 Alternatives to Coffee

5 Alternatives to Coffee

By Starre Vartan,

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.

Aztec Hot Chocolate Recipe


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.

9 Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily

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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Robyn, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.


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8:51PM PDT on Mar 29, 2014

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:

3:59PM PST on Feb 14, 2014

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.

11:20AM PST on Dec 5, 2013

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

8:05PM PST on Dec 2, 2013

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

8:58AM PST on Dec 2, 2013

Thanks so much.

2:04AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

Thank you Robyn :)

3:53PM PST on Nov 30, 2013


8:01AM PDT on May 6, 2013

Good ideas.

4:26AM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

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). if anyone is interested in learning more about the benefits. Thanks

1:17PM PST on Jan 9, 2013

I drink a cup of green tea every morning, it is an acquired taste admittedly,but has many health benefits,then throughout the day I choose between coffee and tea (which has to be an English brand called Yorkshire) then hot chocolate as a bed-time drink. Variety is the spice of life.!

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Very good tips. I'll definitely try to use them.

Thanks for sharing


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