When I quit coffee over two years ago now, I had no idea what I was in for. I was about to embark on the Sakara Level II detox when I found out that I couldn’t have coffee on the five-day cleanse. Instead of freaking out, I decided to go cold turkey. It can’t be that hard, were my famous last words because let me tell you, quitting coffee was hard, so very hard—even with the help of delicious healthy coffee alternatives.
If you have a caffeine addiction too or just want to know how to quit coffee, then be prepared for some very real side effects. I’m talking headaches and body aches from the waist down for three days, 24 hours a day. Yeah, it wasn’t easy, but the silver lining is it made me realize my sensitivity to caffeine. I’m so much better off without it. It helped ease my anxiety, improved my sleep, and gave me glowy skin! Not to mention, I don’t have the mid-morning caffeine crash anymore.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up coffee altogether. No way. My morning ritual depends on the ceremony of crafting the perfect cup—who’s with me? Now, I just drink decaf. I even grind my own decaf beans in our Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder (we bought ours on Craigslist) and pour the perfect shot in our Gaggia Classic Pro (my husband and I got it to each other for Christmas.)
After my cup of decaf, I typically make a golden latte or another healthy coffee alternative, and some days I even have matcha (yes, it has caffeine but the health benefits outweigh the bad—more on that later!) Read on to learn about the delicious coffee substitues that I drink when I need a boost without the crash. I’ve listed them out into two sections: healthy coffee alternatives without caffeine and some with caffeine too. But if you have a caffeine sensitivity, you can skip the second section altogether!
I am a huge fan of golden lattes and this Cosmic Gold version from Moon Juice is delicious. The adaptogenic golden milk supports healthy collagen with Reishi, Ashwagandha, and Astragalus while also managing stress with Silver Ear Mushroom and Hyaluronic Acid.
Yes, it’s another golden latte, but this one has a slightly different flavor to the Moon Juice version above. It is a little sweeter thanks to the coconut palm sugar and comes in handy sachets for perfect portions. Add hot water and a splash of milk or heat some milk with a frother and have a creamy latte.
Made from 100% organic ashwagandha root powder, this potion is a certified stress-fighting warrior because it helps our bodies resist, adapt to, and protect from mental, physical, and emotional stresses. I love the earthy flavor. Add to water, coffee, smoothies, your choice of milk, and chill out.
If you really want to give yourself an energy boost without the caffeine, then reach for the power of mushrooms. This delicious beverage is a hot chocolate with benefits thanks to the mushrooms like reishi and chaga which support and strengthen your immune system while managing your stress and enhancing your mood. I love to mix a little into my golden latte.
It doesn’t get much prettier than this. The new kid on the block, Whimsy Official just launched a deliciously beautiful (and vegan) collagen blend with illuminating adaptogens and superfoods that stimulate collagen production in the skin. They say you eat with your eyes first and that is definitely the case thanks to its magical color from the superfood, blue pea flower.
I’m a big fan of the spiced Indian tea, chai, and this is a great way to enjoy those rich, warming flavors without the caffeine hit. This rooibos blend is the perfect flavorful alternative to traditional chai. I love to heat it on the stove with oat milk to really allow the flavors to percolate.
If you want to cut back on the milk, then try making an herbal tea instead. This one is great hot or iced with a bright and naturally sweet flavor.
If you miss the flavor of coffee, then try a dandelion instead. It has a great roasted flavor without the acidity or bitterness of coffee. Roasted dandelion root also boasts major health benefits too because it contains probiotics which according to nutritionist, Julie Upton can “help feed good bacteria in the gut for regularity and immune-boosting. It also has antioxidants and may stimulate circulation to help reduce inflammation.” Sign me up.
While the Sakara Level II detox I spoke about earlier was intense, the results were incredible and one thing I continue to drink is their detox tea. It has a rooibos base with lemongrass and rose so it tastes delicious, but it always helps to soothe my stomach if it’s feeling bloated.
This brand might be the new kid on the block but Chaga has been around for centuries. This nutrient-dense superfood has been known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol while supporting the immune system and fighting inflammation. It can be added to any beverage for a natural boost.
I can honestly say that this caramel nut tea is one of the most delicious coffee alternatives out there. Just trust me on this one and pick some up in the tea aisle when you’re at the grocery store next time.
I love an elevated hot chocolate, and this blend is the ultimate grown-up version that just so happens to deliver incredible health benefits. The powder blend has seven essential superfoods to support skin glow, helps to debloat, and balances out stress. Your body and mind will thank you for this one.
This tea blend is packed with nutrients that help decrease stress, improve skin quality and hair growth, and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. The fact that it’s gorgeous to look at is only a secondary benefit. Drink it on it’s own with hot water, mix with plant milk, or add to a smoothie.
If you’re looking for another golden milk option, then you’ll definitely want to check out Clevr’s lovely offerings. It’s made with single-farm turmeric, blended with organic spices, adaptogens, mushrooms, and probiotics. Oat milk and coconut cream give it a delectable creamy consistency, so all you need to do is add water to jump-start your morning.
How gorgeous is this beetroot latte? Not only is it tasty, but it’s packed with antioxidants, nitrates, vitamins, and minerals that can help to reduce blood pressure, detoxify, and boost post-workout recovery. It gives you a natural boost of energy while supporting heart health.
Healthy coffee alternatives with caffeine:
While these healthy coffee alternatives do have caffeine, they don’t have the crash that coffee can give you. Often, the way our body processes the side effects of caffeine is different depending on the drink, since options like tea can have milder physical effects than coffee.
That’s also why I’m including decaf coffee options under the caffeine section. Even though the amount of caffeine is minimal, some people still feel the effects. If you have caffeine sensitivity, then opt for the fully caffeine-free options we outlined above.
This is the perfect alternative for those looking to get a tiny dose of caffeine that won’t leave you jittery. It’s a soothing blend of cacao, chai, and a powerhouse combo of ingredients including Lion’s Mane, chaga, reishi, and more. It helps with energy, memory, focus, and calm, while also boosting immunity and soothing inflammation. And don’t get me started on the delicious, earthy flavor.
If you’re not a huge fan of the taste, then this matcha turmeric blend is a delicious compromise. It is also packed with all the good stuff and none of the bad—it’s a win, win! Plus, you’re also supporting a small BIPOC-owned business!
As I explained earlier, I have transitioned to decaf since quitting cold turkey over two years ago and now I’ve even converted my family to the decaf side! There are so many great options now like the Good & Gather organic vanilla blend, but I am also a big fan of buying beans from (and supporting) local coffee shops. My favorites are the Cafecito Organico Decaf Coffee Beans or the Canyon Coffee Afternoon Decaf. It honestly tastes like the real thing!
Now, I know matcha isn’t caffeine-free but it doesn’t give you the jitters as coffee does. That’s because matcha contains L-Theanine a rare amino acid and natural calming agent that combines with caffeine to give you a boost without the typical coffee crash. There are also a lot of incredible health benefits like powerful antioxidants that can help to improve metabolism, and it’s packed with fiber.
If you find that the caffeine in tea doesn’t affect you as much as coffee, then give this chai concentrate try. I suggest making chai ice cubes like the photo above and adding milk—a gamechanger!
If you’ve been curious about fermented teas like kombucha, dip your toes in with one of my most loved flavors. It’s one of my favorite ways to start the day. It soothes the stomach, is surprisingly filling, and is full of superfoods, probiotics, and detoxifying acids. Most of the caffeine is eliminated during the fermentation process, but it does have trace amounts that can affect those who are very sensitive. Overall it’s a delightfully bubbly beverage.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice because there is no shame in drinking this delicious and nutritious lactose- and sugar-free chocolate milk. Check out the variety pack, it features three different types of milk, including Chocolate Milk, and Dark Chocolate milk—and for the coffee lovers out there who can still drink it and not have any side effects, they also have an Espresso Chocolate Milk which contains 150mg of caffeine!
What is your favorite coffee alternative? Share it with us below!
This post was originally published on February 11, 2021, and has since been updated.
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