Coffee alternatives have existed since long before coffee was internationally popular. A rich variety of teas and other steeped drinks have been health staples enjoyed over breakfast for generations, and health food shelves are stocked with all sorts of interesting and exotic products vying for coffee with attention.
Instead of talking about specific drinks, we’re going to break down some of the most common ingredients in these substitutes so you can prioritize the effects that matter most to you and find a substitute that fulfills the most important needs in your existing dietary regimen.
There are few if any herbal supplements that have the range and efficacy of turmeric. This spice lends curry part of its unique flavor profile, but it’s found just as much use as an herbal remedy. Like many of the ingredients on this list, turmeric is rich in antioxidants.
But the miracle component here is cucumerin. Early research indicates that cucumerin can reduce the risk of heart disease, and it’s also been shown to help maintain neurological regularity. Cucumerin is a reliable bulwark against depression and may even slow the effects of degenerative neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Mushrooms are one of the most potent superfoods in the world. Their dense structure is rich in some of the most critical nutrients and minerals our bodies need, but the flavor of mushrooms is off-putting to many. Fortunately, coffee alternatives that include mushrooms tend to hide the flavor well. Chaga mushroom powder is the most common mycological ingredient in health drinks because they offer a full range of benefits along with a taste that’s much milder than other mushrooms. Chaga mushrooms can be used to cut down on the content of caffeine in mushroom coffee, as a base for a tea mixture, or mixed together with other ingredients for a balanced herbal powder.
Caffeine is the component in coffee that gives us energy, but how it achieves those results can be a bit worrying. Caffeine blocks off the receptors in our brain that tell us to rest, essentially pushing us past the safety boundaries put in place by our body. While that isn’t inherently dangerous, it can have a negative impact on your sleep schedule and your general restfulness. Those negative side effects have led to cordyceps being used as an alternative source of energy. Natural cordyceps are rare to find, leading many brands to produce them synthetically. But the result is a more natural form of alertness and wakefulness than what you’d get with caffeine.
Cacao was revered by the Aztecs as the food of the gods, and it’s a persuasive argument. After all, it’s cacao that gives chocolate much of its delectable flavor. Cacao is most often included as a way to shape the taste of a supplement and cover up the sometimes unpleasant combination of healthy ingredients included in coffee alternatives. It’s a natural and healthier alternative to synthetic sweeteners, but it comes with some distinct health benefits as well. While it can’t offer the same jolt of energy you’d get from caffeine, it’s often a supplement to other ingredients and gives a boost of alertness without emulating caffeine’s harmful effect on your central nervous system.
Finding the Right Alternative
When looking for the right alternative to coffee, you need to ask yourself why you drink coffee in the first place. Whether you like the flavor, the pep, or simply the social engagement that comes from sharing a pot of coffee, you can find something that fills the gap for you. These organic coffee substitutes are healthy and delicious alternatives to the real thing.