15 Best Coffee Substitute Drinks to Switch up Your Daily Routine

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Kaye Modified: December 19, 2022
15 Best Coffee Substitute Drinks to Switch up Your Daily Routine

It’s not surprising to know that coffee is dear to the hearts of many. It’s a staple in our morning routines, and it’s a reliable go-to drink for when we have to stay alert. Although, not all coffee recipes are for everyone. The taste may be too much for some, and for others, the acidity or caffeine in coffee can cause certain health concerns. If this applies to you, then continue reading to discover some of the best coffee substitute drinks that you can try to start your mornings right!

This article is also for people who just want to switch things up for a change. Feel free to refer to this list of coffee substitutes each time you decide on what to drink instead of coffee. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from in this comprehensive list.

Coffee Substitute Options to Keep You Awake

In this section, we’ve put together the most popular alternatives to coffee so you can stay awake and energized! Each of these items contains some amount of the natural stimulant called caffeine. Explore the list below and discover the best caffeine substitute to replace your daily cup of coffee in the morning

1. Green Tea

Drinking tea is one of the most popular alternatives to coffee in the morning. That’s because it’s the more accessible substitute and one of the best natural caffeine alternatives that you can find. So if you’re wondering, does tea wake you up? The answer is yes, and it can give you energy as long as you have the right kind. There are several types of Chinese tea out there, but you can start with green tea which is one of the most popular. Essentially, this is a type of hot beverage that is made by steeping dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis or tea plant in hot water. It has about ⅓ the amount of caffeine compared to a regular cup of coffee, so the stimulant is present but isn’t overbearing. If the real deal is too strong for you, then you might find this grassy-tasting drink to be much better than coffee. It’s also a healthy coffee substitute since it offers several health benefits. Start your day right with a cup of the high-quality Longjing tea variety for the best tea to replace coffee!

2. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is a South American herbal tea that’s made from dried or roasted leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis or yerba mate plant. You can easily distinguish this natural coffee substitute from other types of tea because of its unique preparation method. Traditionally, this consists of steeping loose leaves in a small vessel called “mate gourd.” Then, you sip the tea through a “bombilla” which is a special straw that has a strainer on one end. You can also find more modern canned and teabag versions of this beverage. In terms of taste, yerba mate has a strong, bitter, and vegetal flavor. Since it has a good amount of caffeine content, yerba is one of the best coffee alternatives for people who don’t drink coffee. It can serve as a healthy alternative to energy drinks, too.

3. Matcha Tea

The next time you wonder what is a good substitute for coffee, you can try the famous matcha tea! It is a type of Japanese hot beverage that is made with ground young tea leaves. It’s a good caffeine alternative to coffee because it contains a sizable amount of the stimulant. You can try having this tea instead of coffee if you want something less caffeinated than a cup of joe, but with a stronger kick compared to regular green tea.

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Whisk the powder into a cup of hot water to enjoy matcha’s signature grassy (and slightly sweet and umami) taste with a satisfying foamy texture. You can also enjoy it cold, like in this minty matcha latte recipe.

4. Chai Tea (Masala Chai)

After the first few items on this list, you’re probably well aware by now that replacing coffee with tea that wakes you up is effective. And for this section, we’ll be discussing one that hails from a completely different continent. Despite the recent surge in popularity, masala chai (or chai tea) is actually an Indian beverage that has been around for quite a long time. The name of this coffee substitute sums up its essence since it translates to “spiced tea” in Hindi. To be specific, a standard chai tea recipe consists of hot black tea, milk, sugar, and several spices like ginger, powder from cardamom pods, and cinnamon. The tea gives chai about a third of the caffeine in a cup of coffee (powdered mixtures have less). In terms of appearance, this drink has an unmistakable pale brown color that gives you a hint of its flavor. Overall, it’s a sweet and creamy substitute for coffee with an underlying spicy element. Take a sip of this tea substitute for coffee to boost mental alertness or simply enjoy it for its unique flavor. More and more people have been trying it out, so we don’t think this trendy drink won’t be going away any time soon.

5. Mushroom Coffee

A mushroom coffee alternative is a mixture of powdered medicinal mushrooms and ground coffee beans. It’s important to know that this healthy caffeine and coffee replacement isn’t completely devoid of the substance you’re trying to replicate. Because of this, you can expect that it looks and tastes very similar to a real coffee drink. Try it out and experience the classic full-bodied coffee flavor, but with less caffeine! Mushroom coffee may be available in different forms: from the instant kind that you can simply dissolve in boiling water, to espresso pods for your trusty coffee maker. That said, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to preparing this healthy roast blend.

6. Kombucha

Looking for coffee substitutes with caffeine but can’t stand the flavor of tea on its own? If that’s the case, you might want to try having kombucha! It’s a type of fermented drink that has a base ingredient of sugar, yeast, and either green or black tea. Before bottling, fruit flavors are sometimes added to enhance the drink’s taste. As a result, kombucha doesn’t taste like tea at all! Rather, its flavor profile can be anywhere from sweet to mouth-puckering. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a bubbly drink? For a small boost in energy, this good-tasting drink is a good substitute for caffeine because the tea component gives it some amount of the stimulant. Although, you should know that it’s far less than regular coffee. So, if you lean more towards low caffeine drinks, then this is definitely a good option. You can culture your own homemade kombucha at home if you’re up to it. Or, you can get a bottled one from the store for a quick chug.

Caffeine-Free Coffee Substitute Drinks

Worried about how caffeine affects your blood pressure? If you’re looking to curb or minimize your caffeine intake due to health or other reasons, then this section is for you! Discover eight of the best caffeine-free coffee substitute drinks in the list below.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Sometimes, herbal substitutes for coffee just don’t cut it. For these kinds of mornings, apple cider vinegar (ACV) might be the right call.  Yes, this common kitchen ingredient can be used for more than just a vegetable manchego salad dressing! Although it might not be the first thing that would pop into your mind when you think about what to replace coffee with, it surely is effective. Made from fermenting apple juice, apple cider vinegar contains a substantial amount of acetic acid. This compound has several health benefit claims, and it’s responsible for the ingredient’s mouth-puckering sourness. Drink a shot of ACV in the morning, and it will surely awaken and invigorate your senses without the caffeine. This is a prime alternative to tea and coffee if you’re trying to steer clear of the said stimulant. Just always remember to mix a tablespoon or two of ACV into a cup of water to dilute it first before consumption.

8. Golden Milk

Golden milk or turmeric milk is actually pretty straightforward. True to its name, this beverage consists of either cow’s or coconut milk and turmeric spice. The latter gives the drink its signature bright yellow hue. These two ingredients blend to create a creamy and rich-tasting drink that has a good amount of heat. Ginger and cinnamon are popular add-ons, too. You can also try stirring in vanilla and honey to achieve a sweeter taste. If you don’t know a lot of healthy drinks that taste good, this traditional Indian drink will surely change your mind!

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All things considered, this is a good milk substitute that you can drink even at night. Although creamy golden milk has a rejuvenating and energizing quality like coffee, it won’t delay your sleeping schedule. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the very few coffee alternative drinks that can help you unwind — all thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties!

9. Postum

Wondering what to drink instead of coffee for your late-night cravings? Get your coffee fix at any given hour with this caffeine-free coffee drink! Unlike your regular Americano, Postum won’t keep you awake during ungodly hours because it isn’t made from regular coffee beans. Instead, it’s a milder-tasting grain substitute that consists of roasted wheat bran and molasses. To put it another way, it’s the best coffee alternative if you want to taste coffee but don’t want to deal with the restlessness associated with it.

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This blend has actually been around for a long time, produced in the efforts of coming up with a healthier drink to replace coffee. At some point, Postum even gained traction as a popular Mormon coffee substitute because it offers a similar coffee drinking experience to those who are forbidden to consume the caffeinated drink.

10. Chicory Coffee

Did you know that the chicory plant weed (sometimes misspelled as chicoree or chikori) or Cichorium intybus has more uses beyond its popular blue edible flowers? For this section, we’re interested in the time-honored tradition of brewing roasted chicory root as an alternative to coffee in the morning. This warm beverage dates back to the French coffee shortage of the 1800s, yet we still can’t seem to get enough of it!

READ ALSO: 15 Ways To Take Your Morning Coffee To The Next Level

You might be wondering, what does chicory taste like and how does it keep us coming back for more? Essentially, chicory coffee is an effective substitute because it drinks like the real thing. It’s among the best coffee substitutes that taste like coffee as it imparts the classic roasted flavor that we all crave in a cup of joe. The only catch is that chicory tastes slightly nuttier and more woody. Brew this non-caffeine “coffee” using a coffee percolator, French press, or any method you desire — though this may vary depending on the chicory coffee brands.

11. Dandelion Coffee or Dandelion Root Tea

Don’t get confused with the name of this drink! Although it’s called dandelion coffee, it’s technically a type of “tisane” or herbal tea that is made by steeping roasted dandelion roots in hot water for a few minutes. More importantly, this herbal coffee substitute is a popular top contender for the title of “best tea to replace coffee” because of its flavor and overall feel. You’re on the right track if you’re looking for a type of tea that tastes like coffee. You can expect that a cup of this beverage is warm and comforting, despite being robustly smoky and nutty. Although despite being the closest coffee-flavored tea, the two have their fair share of differences. Dandelion root is less bitter and less acidic than traditional coffee. It might just be the best “coffee” for people who don’t like coffee.

12. Dandy Blend

Dandy Blend is an herbal coffee substitute without caffeine that is made of roasted barley, rye, chicory roots, beetroots, and dandelion roots (hence its name). Appearance and texture-wise, a steaming cup of this drink looks and feels no different than freshly brewed coffee. However, your taste buds will be in for a treat because this has a uniquely sweet roasted taste that is incomparable to other types of drinks. Besides that, the Dandy blend coffee substitute is loaded with health benefits. As a gluten-free coffee substitute, even people who struggle with celiac disease and other digestive issues regarding this ingredient can enjoy this drink. Plus, it’s compatible with different lifestyles since it’s kosher, vegan, vegetarian, and GMO-free! All in all, Dandy coffee is the best coffee alternative to go for if you want something substantial, yet simple and easy to whip up. You can use it as a substitute for instant coffee by simply dissolving a heaping tablespoon in a cup of hot or cold water.

13. Rasa Coffee

Feeling tense? Help your mind and body relax with a warm cup of this no-caffeine coffee substitute. Rasa coffee is a type of herbal blend that is packed with adaptogens or ingredients that help you cope with stress. This includes eleuthero (Siberian ginseng),  ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), Ceylon cinnamon, and six others. The base component of this healthy alternative to coffee is a mixture of roasted chicory, burdock, and dandelion roots. Although it might not taste exactly like a cup of coffee, these ingredients give off a pleasantly rich-tasting dark roast that is only slightly bitter. Unlike other grain-based alternatives to drinking coffee, Rasa is safe for a gluten-free diet. It doesn’t take much to whip up this Rasa, either. All you have to do is steep the herbs in a pot or brew bag, pour hot water, and you’ll get to enjoy this calming coffee substitute in under 15 minutes!

14. Barley Coffee

Barley coffee, also known as caffè d’orzo, is a type of Italian drink that is made from roasted barley grains. When brewed, it’s among the kinds of non-caffeinated hot drinks that resemble the real thing. This beverage tastes nutty and earthy, but less bitter compared to regular java. Also, caffe d’orzo is a good choice if you’re looking for healthy coffee options, as it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Typically, you can prepare this coffee alternative using a regular coffee machine. You may also use an espresso machine and brew the grains as a non-coffee substitution for espresso powder. For more flair, add frothed milk on top to make a caffeine-free cappuccino that even kids can enjoy! In the same vein, you can also use coffee as a barley substitute for recipes that call for this ingredient.

15. Ayurvedic Roast

Ayurvedic roast is a type of organic herbal blend that consists of roasted barley, chicory, and rye. Three special herbs from the traditional ayurveda (Indian alternative medicine) practice are also present in this beverage. These are ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, shatavari which is a type of asparagus, and brahmi (aka bacopa monnieri). This blend is among the best caffeine-free hot drinks to substitute for coffee because of its rich taste, aroma, and appearance. Also, you brew it as you would a normal coffee bean or tea. Ayurvedic roast gives off a satisfying roasted flavor and aroma, without the acid and the jitters that you’d normally get from a cup of joe.

Choose the Right Coffee Substitute for You

At the end of the day, coffee substitutes are not one size fits all. Most tea-based alternatives are best for people who want a quick pick-me-up, while non-caffeinated blends are more suited for those who are trying to cut down on the stimulant. Determine which suits your lifestyle and your palate so that you can enjoy the most out of these delicious drinks!

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Kaye is a writer and a recent oat milk convert. With a background in Language Studies, she has founded a deep appreciation of cultures, traditions, and the power of words. In her spare time, she enjoys testing some of the trendiest and most accessible recipes on the internet.