A morning cup of joe can be great, but if you want to lower your caffeine intake, there are plenty of great coffee alternatives that can still provide the energy (and comfort) of your daily coffee. It's not necessary to avoid caffeine entirely, but a coffee habit can quickly develop into caffeine dependence, especially if we're drinking it without really thinking. Taking the time to vary your routine with the coffee alternatives outlined below can be part of a larger mindful eating approach that will change your relationship with nutrition for the better.
Green tea is the quintessential coffee substitute. Green tea has a lot less caffeine than coffee, but still enough to give you a bit of an energy boost. This traditional Japanese tea is also packed with antioxidant health benefits from catechins, which are powerful disease fighters, and even more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative cellular damage. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which is great for focus.
Teeccino is popular with those coming off strong coffee dependencies. It has a flavor and mouthfeel similar to coffee, but without the overstimulation of caffeine. Teeccino is loaded with nutrients from fruits, nuts, grains, and herbs, and also contains soluble fiber from inulin. Unlike coffee, which can have a negative effect on gastrointestinal health, Teeccino is non-acidic, and the inulin (derived from chicory root) acts as a probiotic, feeding the good bacteria — bifidus and lactobacillus — as it travels through the large intestine.
Yerba mate is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the South African holly tree. It will give you the caffeine boost of coffee, but without the crash. Yerba mate is also significantly more nutritious than coffee, with an antioxidant profile similar to green tea, but with even more powerful health-promoting compounds like fatty acids, carotene, chlorophyll, trace minerals, and 15 amino acids.
Licorice tea is naturally caffeine-free, and has a bold, sweet, and spicy flavor profile. Licorice supports the adrenal glands, and is recommended as a stress-relieving compound. Licorice is also used to promote gastrointestinal health, soothe stomach ulcers and heartburn, and has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
Siberian ginseng tea is a strong, somewhat bitter brew, and has long been used for energy, focus, concentration, and fatigue relief. It is also considered an adaptogen, and is used to boost stress resilience.
Kombucha tea is known as a probiotic drink, but it is also high in B vitamins, particularly B12, which are fantastic for energy. Kombucha is also a great alternative for those looking to kick the sugary soda habit.
Rooibos tea is low in tannins, and is a great, anti-inflammatory and caffeine-free alternative to coffee. It is also rich in antioxidants, and packed with flavonols, flavones, and flavanones, which may combat cancer cells.
If you like coffee, it may always be a part of your life in some way. But mixing in some of these coffee alternatives — or switching entirely — can help with your sleep, dental health, and mood. If you’ve decided to break your dependency on your daily cup (or five) of coffee, you have lots of alternatives to choose from to help energize, refresh, and nourish you throughout the day.
(Also, we'll remind you to try to avoid energy drinks, which are loaded with sugar and caffeine. If it's pure energy you're after, it's better to go with the more nutritious options we outline here!)