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10 Healthy Coffee Alternative Drinks that Work

by Andreea Laza
coffee alternatives that are actually healthy substitutes

If you wish to ditch coffee, you should know that there are amazing healthy coffee alternatives out there. And they too give you that energy boost that you need in the morning and help you stay awake. If you are someone who would love to give up coffee, but doesn’t know how to go about it, this article may be the exact thing you need.

More and more studies point out the negative effects that coffee has on our health. I’m talking adrenal fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, jitters, stomach upset, and gastritis and so on. Plus the addiction. Yes, coffee is very addictive, I know. And this is a red flag that is not OK. The good news is that there are healthy coffee substitute drinks that you can enjoy in your mornings for that kick of energy and mental clarity.

I Quit Coffee

I quit drinking coffee for a year straight but still felt the need to drink a cup of warm, soothing beverage in the morning.

I guess I missed the ritual and the bowel movement mostly (if you know what I mean). So I’ve tried them all, well, most of the coffee alternative drinks on this list and I will share with you my piece of mind about each of them, from my experience.

Some of the coffee alternatives that you will find in our list contain small amounts of caffeine, however the dosage is way lower that what you find in a coffee drink. Are you ready to ditch the caffeine habit and start your mornings with a tasty, energy-boosting and healthy coffee alternative drink? Let’s get started!


1 Guarana

First off, guarana is amongst the healthy coffee substitutes that contain caffeine, in fact almost double the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans.

Guarana comes from the Amazon basin and is a very popular ingredient in energy drinks in Brazil as well as Paraguay. From my experience, Guarana is the best healthy coffee alternative with caffeine that gives you clarity, focus yet no jitters of withdrawals, nor creating addiction. And here are the reasons why I say this.

Why Guarana Probably Is the Best Coffee Alternative

Well, the thing is, from all the coffee alternative I’ve tried, Guarana was the closest to coffee in terms of how I felt afterwards. By this I mean I had more clarity, less brain fog, more focus.

However, unlike coffee, Guarana never gave me the jitters, the anxiety and restlessness that you experience after 2 cups of coffee. Instead, I felt all the positive benefits from caffeine and not the bad parts. Moreover, I never felt the addiction with Guarana as I felt it with coffee, nor the withdrawal symptoms or anything.

Making a Guarana “coffee” is easy. All you need is the raw Guarana powder and a cup of hot water. Add 1-2 tsp. of Guarana into a cup, pour the hot water over it and add a dash of milk of your choice. Your Guarana coffee is ready.

I feel that Guarana makes a healthy coffee alternative drink to stay awake, great for driving when tired, or when you feel less energized. It gives you the clarity that you need, so it is also great for work as well as for working out at the gym. And the best part about it is that you find it as raw powder or Guarana pills, so you don’t need to brew a cup when you’re on the go. Just have a natural Guarana pill and you’re as good as new!

You Can Buy Guarana Here:


2 Matcha Tea

Matcha is a popular drink in Japan
A delicious looking cup of Green Matcha Tea

Highly popular in Japan, Matcha is a bright green ground powder made from green tea leaves and it has a particular herbal taste to it.

It does contain caffeine, but it is healthier and it doesn’t cause the addictive reaction as coffee.

Brewing a cup of matcha tea is easy. Simply add 2-4 g of matcha in a cup and pour 60-80 ml of hot water over it and stir really well. Beware! The taste is powerful and if you haven’t yet tried it, you might start with a tiny bit for your first matcha tea cup.

My Experience with Matcha Coffee

I have tried Matcha as a coffee alternative to get myself out of being a coffee addict and I want to say that at first the taste was awful to me. Yes! I’ve never expected that kind of taste in my mouth. It’s basically like when you first tasted coffee as a kid and you had to spit it out because of the powerful bitter taste.

Now, with matcha is sort of an algae, fishy taste to it that makes you want to wonder why you spent that much money on it. And now the good part about this healthy coffee substitute. First off, it’s healthy.

Look at those Japanese people drinking matcha for centuries and being one of the most long-living populations on the globe. Once you get used to the taste of Matcha, you start to see it from a different perspective. Well, I never dared to have matcha without raw cacao powder, carob or a bit of mesquite next to it in a cup, but I started to use it because I actually enjoyed it.

From my experience, Matcha powder is a great coffee replacement for a few reasons. One of them is that it gives you that mental clarity that you need first thing in the morning and it makes you want to get out of bed and start doing things and not feeling jitterish. Which is awesome! So if you’ve been asking yourself what do drink instead of coffee to wake up, matcha tea is a great alternative, for real. I recommend matcha powder but not for the faint of heart, but for those who are not afraid of a bitter chlorophyll taste in their mouth. Definitely a healthy coffee alternative to ditch coffee addiction.

You Can Buy Matcha Here:


3 Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba Mate is a popular tea drink from South America.
Yerba Mate brewed is the traditional gourd with a metal straw

Also known as Mate, Yerba Mate is a popular herb from South America where. In fact it is a staple tea beverage in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil, prepared using a special cup and a metal straw. Quite fancy!

Lower in caffeine than coffee and guarana, yerba mate is a healthy alternative drink to coffee due to the variety of polyphenols it contains, as well as elements such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Research revealed that yerba mate tea may improve allergy symptoms as well as reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Even more, yerba mate is a great coffee alternative for weight loss too.

Is Yerba Mate a Healthy Coffee Alternative Drink?

I’ve tried yerba mate as a means to ditch coffee and overcome my addiction. I must say a couple of things about yerba mate. First off, it tastes pretty bad. If you’re ever tried one of those Chinese weight loss teas you know what I’m talking about.

Yerba mate tastes very bitter and herbal, I didn’t like it and maybe this is the reason why I’ve only brewed a cup or two. For now, it sits quietly in my cupboard waiting for me to change my mind.

The reason why I didn’t continue using yerba mate as a coffee alternative drink is because I didn’t feel that kick after drinking it, that I felt with guarana or matcha. However, it is a healthy alternative to coffee, that’s for sure. And I strongly believe that you have to give it a shot before deciding for yourself whether it is for you or not.

You Can Buy Yerba Mate Here:


4 Black Tea

Number 4 on our list is good ol’ black tea. Stronger in flavor than green or white tea, black tea is a tasty and healthy coffee replacement especially if you add some Indian tea spices to it. Researchers have shown that drinking black tea may be associated with a reduced risk of stroke and long-term usage has been correlated with lower blood pressure. I didn’t know any of these facts when I bought me the first black tea; I just needed a coffee alternative drink for energy in the mornings. Although black tea is a coffee substitute with caffeine, the content is way lower than in coffee.

Could Black Tea Replace Your Morning Coffee?

For me, black tea had an unexpectedly great effect. I felt the kick after drinking a cup, I felt that rush of energy, mental clarity and better focus. At the same time I didn’t feel anxious, shaky or jittery. I was in fact quite surprised of my discovery, because I would have never guessed that a simple tea would make me feel almost as good as coffee. So yes, I highly recommend black tea as a healthy coffee alternative drink to rev up your mornings.

You Can Buy Black Tea Here:


5 Raw Cacao Powder

The last coffee alternative drink with caffeine in it is raw cacao powder. I have to say that from all the healthy coffee substitutes I’ve tried, raw cacao powder “coffee” is still top of my list. Now, let’s go starting to the health facts. Raw cacao, in opposition with cocoa powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This means that all the lovely enzymes and antioxidants stay in.

How to Prepare the Raw Cacao “Coffee”

First off, I’ve been preparing this coffee alternative for at least 2 years now, almost every morning, so I’ve mastered the recipe quite a bit! What I do is add 1 tsp. of raw cacao in a cup, pour some boiling water over it and add some milk to make it into a healthy “latte macchiato” version. To make it even more interesting, I often times add a ½ tsp. of Mesquite, for excellent taste and sometimes a few cacao nibs in the cup, that I eat using my spoon. What a treat this drink is, I don’t have any words to tell you!

The taste is of course, a little bitter but if you add some milk to it, the taste is balanced out and you will enjoy it. Of course, you can make it sweat by adding some honey, stevia or maple syrup and still have a healthy “coffee” every morning.

If you want to drink something instead of coffee to wake up, have energy and clear the fog, than a raw cacao powder drink is right for you. However, I have to say, that it doesn’t give you the kick you get from Guarana, Matcha or Black Tea. Yet, I feel it is closer in terms of taste and smell, let’s say. You will feel a wave of energy, don’t get me wrong, and all this from a healthy cup of warm deliciousness.

You Can Buy Raw Cacao Powder Here:


6 Chicory Root Coffee Alternative

Chicory root is a very healthy coffee replacement you can try.
Chicory is also a natural remedy for very many conditions

And now we’ve come to the best coffee substitute that is caffeine free 100%, chicory root. Besides, chicory root coffee is also a healthy alternative to coffee that doesn’t cause addiction or the withdrawal symptoms if you go without a day or two. According to studies, chicory root has health benefits in diabetes, osteoarthritis and even a great natural remedy for constipation. BTW, it is also a great diuretic, making you go in the morning. And this is from my personal experience.

The Effects of Chicory Root Coffee

I use chicory root coffee as a coffee replacement if I want to have a hot cup of drink in the morning and pretend it is coffee. But let me tell you, there are great differences between the two. First off, chicory root coffee doesn’t give you the kick or the clarity you get with caffeinated beverages. But what it does is give you an alternative to your morning ritual that is actually healthy. In terms of taste, it is quite powerful and bitter, but once you get used to it, you will grow to like it a lot.

The 100% chicory root coffees are sometimes hard to find, because they may come as a mix of chicory and barley brew. You can also find natural chicory root that you can brew easily in a French press, or instant chicory that you prepare just as instant coffee. Of course, I’m pretty sure the first one is way healthier. Do I recommend chicory root as a coffee alternative drink? Yes!

You Can Buy Chicory Root Coffee Here:


7 Barley Coffee Drink

If you are a gluten-free aficionado, this one is not for you. Barley coffee is a stomach friendly alternative to coffee making it an awesome coffee substitute for GERD or gastritis. This is a totally caffeine-free coffee replacement drink. Yes!

Perhaps you didn’t know, but barley is an excellent source of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that are beneficial to the overall human health. In terms of taste, barley coffee is milder than chicory and easier to get used to. I have, of course, tried it, I still have a jar in my pantry and I use it once every few days.

Mostly, I add it to my cup of raw cacao powder drink to add some extra flavor, but it is pretty good on its own. You find it as an instant water soluble drink, it’s easy to prepare, tastes great and is a great coffee alternative without caffeine. Do I recommend it? Yes, but don’t expect it to work as any of the caffeine containing drinks mentioned above. Still, great mild taste and lovely feel.

You Can Buy Barley Coffee Drink Here:


8 Dandelion Root Coffee

One of the healthiest coffee alternative drinks, dandelion root coffee is a great way to start your morning, without ever feeling jittery or anxious, no adrenal fatigue and no addiction. Dandelion root is your liver’s best friend, being known to help in chronic hepatitis but also in stomach conditions, due to its taraxacin content. So if you’re looking for a coffee substitute for GERD or stomach upset, you might want to look into dandelion root coffee.

Could Dandelion Root Be the Next Coffee Alternative Drink?

I have tried dandelion root powder and what I can say about it is that has a very earthy taste, almost as you were eating the finely ground bark or a tree. Maybe because that’s what it is basically. I didn’t fancy the taste, but it was not as bitter as some of the other coffee alternatives on our list.

If you get the Dandelion Root yellow-ish powder, as I did, you will see that it does not dissolve as some of the other powders here. But rather in will go to the bottom of the cup, so you might want to stir well before every sip. It is yellowish-brown in color, like Maca so it doesn’t look like coffee. It also doesn’t taste like coffee and it doesn’t give you the kick, but hey, it’s way healthier. At least this is my experience with dandelion root coffee. I also saw that there are dandelion root powders that are dark in color, but never tried them yet.

Dandelion root coffee is easy to prepare and it has no side-effects whatsoever. And this makes it a great coffee replacement drinks.

You Can Buy Dandelion Root Coffee Here:


9 Carob Powder

Carob coffee is caffeine free and it is loaded with nutrients.
Carob pods when dried

The caffeine-free version of cacao powder, carob is a mildly sweet substitute for chocolate in desserts. The Carob tree is widely spread in the Mediterranean regions and it is known for its high levels of tannin and it has been used as an energy-rich food for livestock for centuries. Due to the fact that it doesn’t contain caffeine, carob drink is suitable as a coffee substitute late in the day.

Carob, the “Caffeine-Free Cacao”

I use carob powder to prepare my coffee whenever I feel that I would drink another cup, yet I am energized enough. The taste is not bad, it has a particular flavour quite strong, that is somewhat sweet and yet a bit bitter. To make carob powder coffee, all you have to do is pour some hot water over the carob powder and stirr well. Adding a dash of milk makes it better at taste.

While you don’t get the kick and mental clarity that you get from coffee, carob is a fine coffee replacement due to its health benefits, good taste and easy preparation. I definitely recommend that you try carob coffee yourself.

You Can Buy Carob Here:


10 Maca

If you what to find a drink to replace coffee with and help you wake up and give you a mild kick of energy, you can use a super food called Maca. Native to the Andes Mountains of Peru, Maca is famous for its energizing properties as well as for its natural properties to balance our hormones in the body. It is also known to be a natural aphrodisiac.

Maca is a root and it comes in many colors, that’s why you will often find maca powder, as well as red or even black maca. I have used the yellow colored maca for some time now and what I can say is that it has a nutty, earthy flavor that is quite subtle. So, no funny taste to it whatsoever. I usually add it to my cacao coffee for extra energy.

Maca as a Healthy Coffee Alternative

Although it is famous for being an natural energy booster, I must say that I’ve never experienced a kick of energy from maca, so don’t place too high expectations on it. However, studies show that it can protect the brain, improve bone health, and even improve cognitive ability in healthy people, which is good enough for a healthy morning coffee alternative.

You Can Buy Maca Here:


I hope you’ve found our 10 Healthy Coffee Alternative Drinks list and review to be helpful for you. If you have any questions, or want to share your opinion on the best coffee alternatives to stay awake or coffee substitute for energy, with or without caffeine, please leave us a comment below.

What is the coffee substitute drink you like the most? Share if you enjoyed the article!

Other Healthy Coffee Alternatives:

Coffee Alternatives that Are Healthy - 9Pedia.com
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