Think you can’t start the day without a steaming cup of joe? Think again. There are many coffee substitutes to boost your energy (and your tastebuds) for the day ahead.
Some people might avoid coffee because of anxiety, stomach sensitivity, pregnancy, or religious beliefs, but one good reason is the health of your hair. Medical experts at the Mayo Clinic say that ingesting up to 400 mg of coffee (about four cups) a day is a safe amount, but more than three cups of coffee can disrupt sleep, increasing stress hormones and impacting hair health.
Keep scrolling for seven coffee substitutes to perk up your morning without the percolator.
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Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea that’s become quite popular as a coffee substitute, particularly because it’s delicious when prepared as a warm or iced latte. The tea has a bit of caffeine for just the right amount of perk, but it’s also a great way to get antioxidants and boost your metabolism first thing in the morning. The reason matcha is so much more nutritious than regular green tea is because you’re ingesting the actual leaves, and not just the brewed water of the leaves like in other teas.
Matcha is traditionally prepared the way the Japanese have done it for centuries: finely milled green tea leaves are whisked with hot water using a special bamboo whisk. The result is a velvety tea covered by a thin layer of bubbly green foam.
The caffeine alternative known as “golden milk” is actually a traditional Indian drink made with turmeric and hot milk. The curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, benefitting sore muscles and other health conditions.
Some people drink it unsweetened, as turmeric has a nice spice that’ll wake you right up, but sweetening the drink is an option, too. The base of the drink is just one and a half teaspoons of ground turmeric simmered in three cups of your favorite milk. Try adding ginger, cinnamon, or other spices like Minimalist Baker instructs. And remember: turmeric will leave a bright yellow stain on your countertop if it sits for too long.
Known for its coffee-esque stimulating properties, yerba mate is a brewed drink made from the leaves of a South American-derived species of holly plant. In 1964, the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society reported that “it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value… [containing] practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life,” according to Guayakí, one of the most well-known mate producers.
The most popular way to make yerba mate is to brew it like French press coffee. A good rule of thumb is one and a half teaspoons of mate per eight ounces of hot water. Let the beverage steep for three to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like it.
Chicory root is a caffeine alternative that gets roasted and ground like coffee, and is particularly popular in places like New Orleans. The roasting process caramelizes some of the natural sugars in chicory, giving it a slight sweetness instead of the bitterness of coffee. Best of all: it’s naturally caffeine free.
If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine consumption, cut some of your coffee with chicory to enjoy the benefits of both!
Apple cider vinegar
This coffee alternative may not have the rich flavor of coffee beans, but it packs a health punch: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Food Science showed that incorporating apple cider vinegar into your diet can help lower your cholesterol. It can also ease digestion and may increase immunity against winter colds.
But before you go choking down a spoonful of vinegar straight from the bottle, why not get creative? Food blog Cotter Crunch has a tasty morning cocktail recipe that mixes apple cider vinegar with pineapple, honey, mint, and cayenne for a sweet and satisfying way to start your day.
The latest wellness drink to hit your pantry may sound out of left field, but chaga mushroom “tea” is the coffee substitute du jour (thanks to brands like Four Sigmatic). Resembling burnt wood, chaga mushrooms grow on cold climate trees like birch and maple, with some mushrooms growing as big as a human head. Health nuts love these giant shrooms for their antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory powers.
You can find chaga tea at health food stores or on Amazon, but Four Sigmatic makes a variety of powdered chaga blends that are sweetened with stevia and boosted by mixers like cacao, coconut milk powder, and other superfoods.
Prepared dandelion root comes in powdered form like instant espresso, but this coffee alternative is naturally caffeine free, making it perfect for those trying to cut back. Well+Good compares the taste to coffee, minus the bitterness and acidity.
To brew it, try a ratio of one tablespoon of ground roasted dandelion root to two cups of hot water. Elana’s Pantry makes it with cinnamon and chicory, and adds milk to give it that coffee-like effect.