10 Healthy Alternatives to Coffee

Trying to Quit Coffee?

Quitting coffee can be a daunting thing. Physical addictions to caffeine aside, the emotional attachment to your favorite morning routine is a strong attachment that can be difficult to let go of, even in light of medical reasons to do so. Here are a few alternatives to coffee that will help you lessen the grip it has on your body and mind.

Caffeinated Alternatives

Some people quit coffee for reasons that have nothing to do with caffeine. If that’s the case, here are a few caffeinated coffee substitutes that make coming off of coffee easy.

  1. Yerba Mate – this plant is a South American native, related to the Holly tree. This brew has quite a kick, and along with its caffeinated buzz, it brings to the party things like over 20 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and polyphenols (that contain antioxidants and other potential health benefits).
  2. Chai – this tea beverage, that classically contains warming spices like ginger and cinnamon, as well as milk, has been a favorite in India for hundreds of years. The original Chai, or “Matcha Chai” was caffeine-free, but most western versions have the black tea added to it (as well as the caffeine) that was added to traditional Chai by British influence long ago. It has been curative, historically, and is loved by many worldwide.
  3. Tea – this seems fairly obvious, but tea is a kinder, gentler caffeinated beverage when compared to coffee. It is linked with weight loss, a lowered risk of cancer or heart disease, and as a boost to the immune system.
  4. Matcha Tea – (as opposed to Matcha Chai, see above) Japanese Green Tea Powder, which has a particular flavor that is attractive to many, is high in antioxidants, and has a reported treasure trove of curative properties, according to enthusiasts. It can also be put into ice cream as an exotic flavoring, which is a nice bonus if you happen to love ice cream.
  5. Kombucha – this is a fermented black or green tea and has become a contentious subject with its die-hard fan base. The cultivation of the yeast colony needed to make home kombucha – called a “SCOBY”, looks essentially like a big, floating glob of slime. This fact makes it hard to discern whether the fermented drink is the fabled health drink Kombucha, with all of its purported near-magical properties, or is potentially a tainted death brew filled with rampant bacteria that might make you sick or even kill you. Purists believe that home kombucha is the only way to go, and that the safer, bottled kombucha doesn’t have the same kind of curative properties as the scarier home kombucha. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which side of this debate to choose.

Non-Caffeinated Alternatives

These alternatives to coffee contain no caffeine at all: and that should really make your doctor happy. Also, it should make your body happy, and with any luck, healthier. 

  1. Chicory- Chicory root has been ground up and substituted for coffee in the American south for since before the Civil War. It is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia, and has been used for the same reasons there since antiquity. It contains a natural sweetener and “pre-biotic” named Inulin, as well as other nutrients and fiber, and has been recognized as a healthful addition to diet since the ancient Egyptians. 
  2. Postum Instant Warm Beverage – this is a throwback to wartime when coffee rations forced people to find alternatives. Invented in 1895 as a healthy alternative to caffeinated morning beverages, it contains molasses and wheat bran to keep your gut regular (kind of like coffee does for a lot of people).
  3. Hot water with lemon – I know, this seems like a joke to give up your morning coffee for something so tame. However, doctors have recommended this as a way to keep sluggish bowels going for decades. It comes with none of the side effects that coffee does, and it’s really, really cheap.
  4. Golden Milk – this is gaining popularity and is basically a caffeine-free chai. By adding ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, vanilla, and honey (or a combination of some of these ingredients, (turmeric is essential to make it “Golden”, as is honey to make it sweet) with milk or a non-dairy milk substitute and heating them, you have yourself some Golden Milk. Find recipes online for this easy to make morning comfort beverage.
  5. Cider Vinegar – not unlike Kombucha, cider vinegar mixed with warm water and honey has become a thing. This is probably because it’s likely that it’s genuinely good for you. It has been said to help with appetite (and thus weight issues), and also contains acetic acid, which might positively affect insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar levels.