Exploring Coffee Alternatives
Trying to break your coffee habit or avoid caffeine?
It’s not an easy thing to do.
Decaf may be an option, but it’s not completely caffeine free. The decaffeination process removes most but not all caffeine from coffee beans.
Herbal teas, a common recommendation for those trying to give up caffeine, taste completely different than coffee. For those of us who actually like the taste of coffee, herbal teas just don’t cut it.
What other options are there?
I’m trying to reduce coffee/caffeine consumption, and have started taste testing coffee alternatives.
My goal is to find drinks that taste like coffee – because I happen to really love the flavor of coffee. Morning breakfast isn’t complete without coffee (or a drink that tastes like coffee!) Same goes for my much-loved afternoon pick-me-up of coffee and a piece of chocolate/something sweet.
If you are trying to cut back on coffee or give it up completely, please read on for my coffee alternative recommendations.
Many of these drinks will give you an energy boost due to their ingredients (ashwagandha, dandelion root, etc.), so you may not miss the caffeine after all!
Here are 4 coffee alternatives I have tried. Check back, as I will be updating this page as I try more!
1: Dandy Blend
- Ingredients: Extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, and sugar beet
- Calories per serving: 7
- How to use: Powder dissolves instantly in hot or cold water.
- What does it taste like? It tastes like a weak, but good cup of coffee. I usually make an iced coffee, and add a splash of heavy cream. It’s good enough to pass for my Starbucks favorite: Iced coffee with heavy cream..
- Cost per serving: About 7 cents (for one teaspoon, which is enough to make a small cup – this is so cheap!)
- Buy it here: Dandy Blend, Instant Herbal Beverage
I’m going to start out with my favorite coffee alternative: Dandy Blend.
This is an absolutely delicious, delightful drink blend. I’ve been drinking it every day for about 3 weeks, and I honestly look forward to my morning cup of ‘dandy.
Dandy Blend contains dandelion root, which is known to have many health benefits. It cleanses the liver and helps protect against diabetes. Dandelion root is a good source of calcium, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants.
And yes, dandelion root is the same dandelion that grows in your yard – but I prefer to consume mine in this drink form!
A word of caution: This drink may have mild diuretic effects due to the dandelion, so start out with just a single serving and see how it works for you.
#2: Teeccino Dandelion Dark Roast
- Ingredients: Organic carob, organic chicory, organic dandelion root, organic ramon seeds, natural coffee flavor
- Calories per serving: 15
- How to use: Comes in tea bag form, and is prepared like tea.
- What does it taste like? It tastes like a light tea-flavored coffee – but without the acid.
- Cost per serving: 74 cents
- Buy it here: Teeccino Dandelion DETOX Tea
I really liked the flavor of this drink. It tastes like weak coffee with no acidity. However, I have found that to get the stronger flavor I want, I have to use 2 tea bags. So this drink ends up costing me about $1.50 per cup.
I like that the ingredients are all organic. The product is a good source of potassium and inulin, a prebiotic.
After brewing, Teeccino can be consumed hot or cold. It can be used to make other drinks, as well. Consider using Teeccino to make iced lattes or mochas – or add it to smoothies.
3: Raja’s Cup
- Ingredients: Clearing-nut tree (seed), coffee senna (seed), licorice (root), ashwagandha (root)
- Calories per serving: Doesn’t say
- How to use: Comes in both tea bag form and loose leaf
- What does it taste like? A light, bitter tea.
- Cost per serving: 12 cents
- Buy it here: Raja’s Cup Ayurvedic Coffee Substitute
Raja’s Cup is advertised as “the antioxidant coffee substitute”.
To me, it does not taste like coffee at all. It tastes like bitter tea. Although curiously, many Amazon reviewers claim it tastes like coffee.
If you’re looking for a coffee substitute that tastes like coffee, Raja’s Cup is probably not going to suffice. But if you’re looking for an alternative to coffee that doesn’t necessarily taste like coffee – or if you are trying to get more of these herbs into your diet – give it a try.
I added a splash of heavy whipping cream to my cup. You can also add steamed milk and a bit of sweetener.
Preparation tip: You don’t need much to make a strong cup of tea. Start with 3/4 teaspoon. The first cup I made, I used way too much and it was very bitter.
#4: Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix
- Ingredients: Reishi mushroom, cacao, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, stevia
- Calories per serving: 25
- How to use: Add hot water to powdered mix
- What does it taste like? Rich hot chocolate
- Cost per serving: $1.62
- Buy it here: Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao
This isn’t advertised as a coffee substitute, but it was in the same area in the health food store so I decided to give it a try.
I loved it. It tasted like a rich, cinnamon-y hot chocolate. I couldn’t taste mushrooms at all.
Although I loved the taste, this won’t be something that I drink often, mainly because of the cost. At $1.62 per small cup, this will be more of a special-occasion drink for me.
Four Sigmatic sells different mushroom drink blends. The one I tried, Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix – Chill With Reishi, actually has relaxing effects, so it’s not a “pick-me-up” morning drink. However, their Cordyceps hot cacao blend is meant to energize.
#5: Crio Bru
- Ingredients: 100% Roasted cacao beans
- Calories per serving: 10
- How to use: Prepare like regular coffee
- What does it taste like? It has a subtle, unsweetened, natural chocolate flavor that’s hard to describe
- Cost per serving: $.34 for 8 ounce cup
- Buy it here: Crio Bru Ghana French Roast
I found a bag of Crio Bru in the clearance bin at the grocery store. I’m so glad I tried it – it’s absolutely delicious.
Crio Bru is prepared just like regular coffee (in an automatic coffee machine or French press). It looks like coffee, but it doesn’t really taste like coffee. The flavor is hard to describe, but it’s mild and chocolaty.
I like to mix half coffee grounds with half Crio Bru to make a cup of coffee that’s has a subtle chocolate flavor and not too much caffeine.
Crio Bru is pure ground cacao beans, so this drink is full of antioxidants and other healthy stuff like theobromine, serotonin, tryptophan, and phenylethylamine.
Crio Bru has different roasts. The Ghana French Roast is their darker roast, but I’m eager to try others.
Other Alternatives To A Traditional Cup Of Coffee
- Bulletproof coffee: Bulletproof coffee is a popular way of preparing coffee that involves adding fat (like butter or coconut oil) to coffee. This makes the coffee more satiating, gives a boost of energy, improves brain function, and has other reported benefits.
- Chicory: Chicory is a popular coffee substitute that can be used plain, mixed with other ingredients for a more robust cup, or blended with coffee to make a coffee-chicory blend.
- Herbal teas: Visit any Whole Foods or natural foods store and you’ll find an array of herbal teas. Peppermint is a personal favorite. Most herbal teas are caffeine-free, but be sure to check the package.
- Green or black teas: If you’re trying to reduce but not eliminate caffeine intake, green or black teas may be a good option. The average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine: Green tea contains approximately 35 mg, and black tea contains approximately 47 mg.
- Kombucha tea: I love the tart, sweet flavor of kombucha tea. I don’t drink it to often because of the cost (about $3.50 per bottle), but it’s fun to drink every once in awhile.
Let’s hear from you: What’s your favorite alternative to coffee? Please share your favorites in the comments.