If you’re a coffee lover, then you’re not alone. Coffee is one of the world’s most-consumed beverages, and in the UK alone around 98 million cups are consumed each day. I bet that’s more than you thought! Luckily there's a lot of alternatives to coffee out there that we'll expand on in this post.
A lot of people drink coffee for an energy boost at the start of their day, but there are unfortunately some negative side effects of drinking coffee. From migraines to raised blood pressure, too much coffee can end up making you feel worse, rather than better. Sometimes it really is the things we love the most that hurt us!
If you’re starting to notice the negative side effects of caffeine, then don’t worry, it might be a sign to start reducing your caffeine intake. There are plenty of great alternatives to coffee that will give you the energy boost without the bad stuff. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Then let’s find out what they are!
The Good And Bad Of Coffee
Everything has a good and bad side to it, and coffee is no different. Here we’ll break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of everyone’s favourite drink for you. Get ready to find out what there is to love and hate about coffee!
Coffee does have its benefits, which is half the reason we love it. To start with, it has energising effects due to its caffeine content. This can help us feel more ready to take on the day. One small study discovered that consuming caffeine reduced fatigue levels in participants in a cycling exercise. It also increased time to exhaustion by 12%!
Other research has suggested that coffee can be beneficial for weight management, as it is thought to alter fat storage and support gut health. It may also benefit heart health as well as acting as an ergogenic aid for athletes who want to improve their athletic performance. It can also help to relieve brain fog symptoms, so it definitely has its perks!
Sadly, coffee also has a negative side. It can cause headaches (and even migraines!), impact sleep quality, and raise blood pressure, none of which will have you feeling your very best. This is why it’s important to find some alternatives to coffee that will boost your energy without the negative side effects.
Coffee can also cause you to feel anxious, especially if more than 400mg per day is consumed. Another drawback is that it can make you feel jittery and unsettled, which can knock your concentration. Now, we're here for everyone, but as a female focused brand, we always put the ladies first! So, if you’ve noticed any of these problems, and particularly if you want to tackle low energy levels in females, then you may want to find some alternatives to coffee!
Why You Should Consider Quitting Coffee
Quitting coffee can help you feel more alert without the negative side effects. If you’re feeling anxious, jittery or keep getting headaches, then quitting coffee can be helpful. You may be particularly prone to coffee’s side effects if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or if you consume more than 400mg of caffeine a day.
You might also just be bored of coffee, and want to try something new. If so, then you’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of healthy alternatives to coffee to choose from. Natural energy boosters will help you to feel great without the shakes. What more could you want?
If you’ve been thinking about finding alternatives to coffee, then we’re here to help. From teas to caffeine-free drinks, you’ll be sure to find your perfect match. Maybe give a few a try until you find the one that you most enjoy. There are a whole bunch of options to choose from!
Ways To Quit The Habit
The best way to quit your coffee habit is by substituting it for something else. You essentially want to swap the habit for something else, whether that’s herbal tea, decaf coffee or something else. So first, you need to choose what your chosen alternatives to coffee are.
You then need to throw out all of your coffee. It won’t be easy to skip it if you see it every morning when you open the cupboard! Throw it out, replace it with your healthier alternatives to coffee, and you’ll be well on your way to quitting the habit.
Remember, all habits are built with practice, so don’t give up. You may feel symptoms of caffeine withdrawal at first, but just stick with it! Soon you’ll feel on top of the world, without the need for the daily cup of coffee. Now, let’s talk you through our favourite alternatives to coffee.
1. Mushroom Alternative
Mushroom coffee is one of our favourite healthy alternatives to coffee. They've been used as a coffee substitute for years, particularly in Asian countries, where they are used for their nutritional and health benefits. So what are its health benefits?
Mushroom alternative is lower in caffeine than your standard cup of coffee. This is because mushroom powder is usually combined with coffee beans, cutting the caffeine content in half, which means you are reducing your risk of experiencing the negative side effects of coffee!
Medicinal mushrooms have been used to improve immunity, provide supportive therapies for cancer patients, and reduce the risk of heart disease. So, it’s got great health benefits and mushroom coffee lets you have your daily dose of coffee without the negative side. What’s not to love?
You can check out our comprehensive list of the best lion's mane supplements to get an idea of what options are out there.
One of our favourites is The Sruum by Jrny. It’s a great way to swap out your coffee habit, and it’s both delicious and healthy. Promising to help you feel calmer and focus better, this is one of the best alternatives to coffee.
If you’re experiencing low energy but are trying to avoid coffee, then supplements are a great option. Supplements can provide you with all the vitamins you need, which can help to boost your energy levels. Multivitamins for women can offer upwards of ten vitamins and minerals, so you won’t miss your coffee at all!
There are different ways in which to consume your supplements, so you can pick your best fit. One way is through taking several different vitamin pills to make sure you get everything you need. Or you can take a single multivitamin pill, but be sure to check it has all of your essentials in it!
Possibly the easiest way is by taking your supplements in the form of vegan protein powder. This is because you can just shake it up into a tasty drink and get all of your vitamins at once. Now this really is one of the best alternatives to coffee!
Our personal favourite is jrny, the energy supplement. This fantastic supplement contains 16 vitamins and minerals which will boost your energy without the crash of coffee. Now that’s what we want to hear!
There are three delicious flavours to choose from - Madagascan Vanilla, Double Chocolate Brownie and Raspberry Ripple - so you’ll be sure to find your new favourite here. Shake up two scoops with some water or milk and you’ll feel great in no time! It’s the perfect choice for a healthy alternative to coffee.
3. Matcha Tea
Matcha has grown in popularity over the last few years. This bright green powdered drink is one of the best alternatives to coffee, and it tastes great, too! Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that can help to reduce stress. It works together with caffeine to reduce tiredness while increasing feelings of alertness.
Matcha also promotes oral health, which can help to improve your general health. This is much the opposite of coffee, which can increase the chance of cavities and contribute to bad breath. So, you’ll have a healthy mouth, lower stress and higher energy. Now that must make you want to give it a go!
The best matcha tea in our books is Matcha & Co’s Premium Matcha Tea. It’s 100% organic ceremonial grade matcha, selected from the best plantations in Kyoto. The delicate velvety finish and intense flavour make this the perfect swap for coffee. Get stuck into it!
4. Chicory Root Coffee
Chicory root coffee is made from the roasted root of the chicory plant. It tastes a bit like coffee, so it’s one of our favourite alternatives to coffee. It’s caffeine-free, so you get none of the bad side effects, but it’s still super tasty!
Chicory is thought to have health benefits such as improving cholesterol, controlling blood sugar and improving digestive health. Chicory contains inulin, calcium, magnesium and plant chemicals such as phenolic acids, which may have antioxidant properties. So this is a really healthy option to go for!
Some people do have allergic reactions to chicory, though, so it’s worth doing a patch test before trying it. More research is also needed to assess the safety of chicory root in people that are pregnant, so consider avoiding it if you’re pregnant! On the whole, though, it’s a great option for those looking to cut out coffee, particularly as it tastes similar!
Otzibrew’s Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Coffee Alternative is a great choice. It’s all natural, as it’s made with organic plant extracts, and it even comes in environmentally friendly paper tubes. Put one or two teaspoons in a cafetiere, and get ready for your new favourite morning beverage!
If you’re looking for something to reach for instead of coffee, then kombucha is a great idea. It’s a fermented drink made from scoby, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, and sweetened tea. The bacteria and yeasts convert sugar into ethanol and acetic acid, giving it its distinctive sour taste. So why choose kombucha?
Advocates of kombucha say it helps to boost your energy, among a host of other benefits. This means it’s one of the best alternatives to coffee, as it replaces the energy-boosting properties of coffee. It also tastes great, which is always a plus!
Kombucha also contains antioxidants, which fight free radicals. Free radicals are reactive molecules that can cause damage to the cells. The best kind of kombucha for antioxidative effects is made with green tea, as green tea is known for its antioxidant content.
As green tea kombucha contains more antioxidants, we’d recommend GT’s Multi-Green Kombucha for ultimate health benefits. It’s authentic and tangy, and it’s a fantastic option when you’re suffering from low energy. Next time you fancy a coffee, you should reach for this instead!
6. Green Tea
Green tea dates back over 5,000 years, and is particularly popular in East Asia. To best retain its antioxidant content, you want the temperature to be warm. Allow boiled water to cool slightly before making your tea, and then leave it to brew for 2-3 minutes for the ultimate health benefits.
It’s high in protective polyphenols, which are known to protect the body against disease. It also contains a number of natural stimulants, including caffeine, so it can boost alertness and focus. On top of that, it’s a source of L-theanine, which has a relaxing effect that can help to reduce stress.
As well as all that, it can also help with the control of blood sugar, and reduce the risk of heart disease. See, it’s brimming with health benefits! And it’s lovely and warm, so is a perfect substitute for coffee.
Teapigs are known for being masters of tea, and their Mao Feng Green Tea is a personal favourite. It’s a light and pure green tea that sits in tea temples or comes loose, so you can choose your favourite! This really is one of the best alternatives to coffee that you’ll find anywhere.
7. Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Smoothies are great, because you can put your favourite fruits in them. That means you can create your perfect flavour combination and get a whole host of health benefits! Smoothies are a great way of getting all your vitamins and minerals while also enjoying a tasty drink.
Aside from just boosting your fruit intake, smoothies can also increase your fibre consumption. This can help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy immune system, among other benefits. Healthy and tasty? What a great alternative to coffee!
Opt for energy-boosting ingredients such as bananas can also make this a great energy-boosting drink. Pack your smoothie full of energy-packed fruit and you won’t miss your coffee at all. My favourite combination is bananas, strawberries, and almond milk. Try it out!
8. Vegetable Smoothies
Vegetable smoothies, or green smoothies as they're often called, are a firm favourite among health fanatics. They're very tasty and you can buy premade ones, but making your own is just as good and can save your pennies.
They’re a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, to start with and are also a quick and easy option for getting your nutrients in, which is always good. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, so you’re getting all your goodness in one go, which can boost your energy.
A tasty mix to put together is spinach, avocado, banana and almond milk. This is packed with some of your most important vitamins and minerals, and will be sure to give you an energy boost. Add a scoop of vegan protein powder to really up your nutrient intake!
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a home remedy thanks to its health properties. Some of its most common health benefits are similar to those offered by coffee, so it can be one of the best alternatives to coffee, depending on your goals. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits!
Apple cider vinegar can help to aid weight loss, which is also one of coffee’s benefits. Studies have shown that it can lead to reduced stomach fat and weight loss if consumed daily. It assists with weight management by helping you to feel full, lowering blood sugar and reducing insulin levels.
As it helps to lower blood sugar levels, it can also help to manage type 2 diabetes. Talk about a good added benefit! It’s important to talk to your doctor before using home remedies to manage conditions such as diabetes, though, so be sure to do so if you’re considering this!
10. Chai Tea
Chai tea is a fragrant, spicy tea that’s popular in India, and has become increasingly popular across the world. It has a number of health benefits, which will have you feeling great. It also tastes lovely, which is always a positive!
Chai tea consumes caffeine, but in far smaller quantities than coffee does. It contains around a quarter of the caffeine content of coffee, and around half that of black tea. So you’ll get a bit of an energy boost while avoiding the negative side effects of coffee!
Chai tea can also contribute to better blood sugar control. This is due to its ginger and cinnamon content, both of which can help with blood sugar levels, while cinnamon can also contribute to reducing insulin resistance. This makes it easier for your body to use insulin to carry sugar out of your blood and into your cells, therefore reducing blood sugar levels.
We love the Teapigs Masala Dream Chai Tea. It’s an all-natural black chai tea with strong and spicy flavours, which is really tasty mixed with a lot of different milk, especially plant-based milks like oat milks. It’s also one of the best alternatives to coffee thanks to its caffeine content!
11. Yerba Mate Tea
Yerba mate tea is a South American drink that’s said to have coffee’s strength and tea’s health benefits. It’s a herbal tea made from the Ilex paraguariensis plant. Its leaves are dried over a fire and then brewed in hot water to make the tea.
Yerba mate tea is a great energy booster, as it contains 85mg of caffeine per cup. That’s less than coffee, but more than black tea, to put it simply. This means it can boost your energy like coffee, but unlike coffee, it doesn’t give you the jittery side effects.
It’s also rich in antioxidants and nutrients, and is thought to have higher antioxidant power than green tea. As well as this, it may contain seven out of nine essential amino acids, as well as almost every vitamin and mineral needed by the body. Now this is a great all-rounder!
The best way to consume yerba mate tea is in its loose form, in our opinion. Forest Whole Foods’ Organic Yerba Mate Loose Leaf Tea is one of our personal favourites. Just two teaspoons of this tea will make you a delicious steaming cup of yerba mate. It’s also sourced from South America, so you know it’s good!
12. Superfood Mixes
Superfood mixes are all the rage, as they have a whole bunch of health benefits. Depending on which superfoods are in your powder mixes, you could see benefits ranging from a boost in energy to glowing skin. They blend various fruits and vegetables with proven health benefits to improve your nutritional intake and boost your overall health.
So why would you consider them as an alternative to coffee? Some superfood mixes contain caffeine, which can help to boost your energy, as we know. One study where participants consumed a tablespoon of superfood mix every day for three months saw significant energy increases over the period of study.
This Bioglan Superfoods SuperGreens mix is a great option. It contains maca, kale and spirulina, so you’ll get plenty of goodness by drinking this. Give it a go and see your energy levels soar.
13. Herbal Coffees
Herbal coffees aren’t actually coffee as we know it. Coffee beans aren’t used to make herbal coffees, and so technically, they’re not coffees. They’re closer to tea blends, in fact, but they can replicate the flavour of a cup of coffee, hence the name.
Common ingredients in herbal coffees are dandelion root, chicory root (which we have already discussed), barley and figs, among others. Herbal coffees are some of the best healthy alternatives to coffee, as they have great health benefits. And, because they can taste like coffee, it’s almost like you’re not missing out!
Herbal coffees are usually caffeine free, so they’re great if you’re sensitive to coffee. Ingredients such as dandelion roots contain antioxidants, which can help with the body’s immunity. Dandelion leaves are also full of vitamins and minerals, so herbal coffees can act as great multivitamins for women.
Dary Natury’s Root Dandelion Organic Coffee is a great caffeine-free herbal coffee. Dandelion coffee helps to lower blood sugar levels as well as offering other health benefits such as improved immunity. It’s a great alternative to coffee!
14. Decaf Coffees
Naturally, one of the best alternatives to coffee is decaf coffee. Not least because it lets you keep your coffee habit without the caffeine crash! If you love coffee, then this might just be the best option for you.
The antioxidants that can be found in decaf coffee can neutralise free radicals, which can reduce oxidative damage. They can also prevent diseases including type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and cancer. Bet you didn’t think coffee could be this good for you, did you?
One of our favourites is Monsoon Estates Coffee Company’s Swiss Water Decaf from Brazil. It’s a medium roasted coffee with a slight chocolatey taste and no caffeine, of course. It’s delicious as an espresso, or mixed with oat milk to make a delicious latte!
15. Ginseng Teas
Ginseng has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine due to its extensive health benefits. It contains to significant compounds, ginsenosides and gintonion, which work together to provide health benefits. Let’s find out about some of those health benefits, shall we?
Its high antioxidant content can reduce oxidative damage to cells, helping to prevent chronic diseases. Red ginseng can also help to reduce oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant enzyme activities. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for overall health.
Ginseng is also thought to help to improve brain functions including memory, behaviour and mood. It can help to ease stress, as well as potentially helping with depression and anxiety, so the contrary to coffee! Give it a try and see your mood improve and your jitters disappear.
Indigo Teas’ Siberian Ginseng Root Tea is a firm favourite here at jrny. It uses 100% pure botanical ingredients, and is vegan, of course. If you’re looking for a revitalising hot drink, then this is the perfect choice.
16. Rooibos Teas
Rooibos tea is a tisane made from the fermented leaves of Aspalathus linearis, a flowering shrub. It’s typically consumed in the same way as black tea, though the two have no connection. This sweet-tasting brew has been around since the 1700s, and is a great alternative to coffee.
Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free, so is great for those who are trying to avoid caffeine. This means you won’t suffer the classic caffeine crash after drinking it, so it’s a great option if you want to maintain natural energy levels. So basically, it will make you feel much better over time than coffee would!
It’s also thought to be beneficial for blood pressure, contrary to coffee, which raises blood pressure. It also has a high flavonol content, which supports the cardiovascular system thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Flavonol also has a positive effect on blood fats including cholesterol, so the benefits are endless!
The Hampstead Organic Herbal Infusion Rooibos Tea is a delicious option. This organic herbal infusion provides a caffeine-free alternative to coffee, and is equally tasty. Everything is also sustainably sourced in this tea, which is always a plus!
17. Cacao Powder
Cacao powder is a delicious and healthy alternative to coffee. It can also be used in a similar way to coffee powder, which is always good. You won’t find it hard to reach for this over your coffee powder once you’re used to it!
Cacao powder is packed full of health benefits. It has a high fibre content, so can promote healthy digestion and reduce the risk of digestive problems including irritable bower syndrome. It can also help to lower blood pressure, unlike coffee, thanks to its flavonoid content, which helps to improve blood flow to the brain and heart.
Naturya’s Organic Cacao Powder is 100% Fairtrade and completely plant-based. It’s also rich in copper, magnesium and zinc, which is a plus. Once you swap out your coffee for cacao powder, you’ll soon be wondering why you didn’t make the change earlier!
18. Hot Sauce
Hot sauce is probably my favourite alternative to coffee. We know it as a spicy addition to our meals, so it may come as a surprise that it can be a good alternative to coffee. It has some similar health benefits, though, so prepare to be surprised!
Hot sauce can help with weight management, due to the capsaicin content. Capsaicin increases your metabolism and boosts fat burning, which can help with weight loss. It can also help to lower certain signs of inflammation, though this requires furthe research. Who knew that our favourite condiment could be good for us?
It’s important to manage your intake of hot sauce, though. High amounts can cause unpleasant side effects such as acid reflux and stomach cramps, if you are sensitive to capsaicin. So try not to overdo it!
19. Maca Powder
Maca powder comes from maca root, which is rich in minerals. Often considered a superfood, the health benefits of maca powder are numerous. So why can it work as an alternative to coffee?
Maca powder can boost energy, which replaces the need for coffee. It can also help to increase exercise performance, as well as lifting your mood. On top of that, maca powder is also though to improve brain function and memory. It really is a superfood!
One of its biggest health benefits is that it can relieve the symptoms of menopause. It helps to improve blood pressure and anxiety, which are also linked to excessive coffee consumption. So it’s a fantastic alternative to coffee!
Indigo Nutrition’s Organic Maca Powder is a great option. This blend uses pure botanical ingredients and is high in iodine. It also contains a rare combination of essential minerals and vitamins, which is what earned it the name of superfood!
Ashwaghanda is a herb that’s long been part of Ayurvedic rituals. Its health benefits are numerous, and it is used to treat a range of conditions. Most notably, it is thought to moderate stress and anxiety, much the opposite of coffee!
As well as reducing stress and anxiety, it can also help to benefit sleep quality. This may be due to lowered levels of stress, as stress can wreak havoc on our sleep. Stress, anxiety and poor sleep are all side effects of drinking coffee, so this is the perfect alternative to coffee!
Next time you fancy a cup of coffee, reach for the ashwaghanda instead. As well as reducing stress and helping you to get better sleep, it is also thought to lower blood sugar, and sharpen focus and memory, as well as improving heart health. What more could you want?
If You Still Can’t Live Without Coffee: Here’s a Healthy Option
Clean coffee is a great option if you just can’t live without coffee. We know that everyone is partial to the occasional cup, so it’s good to have a healthy option to reach for. Clean coffees are free from all the nasties that are found in regular coffee, and they optimise your health and avoid the energy crashes of regular coffee.
Balance Coffee puts your health at the forefront. They carefully test for mould, mycotoxins and pesticides to provide a naturally clean coffee. Their coffee is sourced from the top 5% of farms worldwide and they are committed to paying 25% more for the best in quality available. For students asking how to focus when studying that are determined to use coffee, this is your best bet.
You can also consider using a functional coffee alternative which provides various benefits when compared to drinking regular coffee. Balance produce one of the best mushroom coffees in the UK, so you can look after your health first and were voted 'Best Organic Roaster 2022. There's a lot to love!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Caffeine a Depressant or a Stimulant?
Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure while also boosting your energy. As it’s a stimulant, you will notice increased alertness, but it comes with an inevitable crash as the caffeine wears off.
Does Caffeine Change Your Brain?
Research from the University of Basel suggests that regular caffeine intake can change your brain. The grey matter in the brain was seen to increase in participants who consumed caffeine, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a negative effect.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking Coffee?
You might experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking coffee. These can include tiredness, mood swings and trouble focusing, among other things. These symptoms won’t last long, and can be alleviated with some of the swaps we’ve outlined above!
Giving up coffee may not be something that you’re excited about. Luckily, though, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to coffee which will have you feeling great without the negative side effects. Whether they’re caffeinated teas or caffeine-free alternatives, you’re sure to find your perfect fit.
We would suggest opting for vegan protein powder that can provide all of the necessary multivitamins for women. Our jrny shakes contain everything you need, so your energy levels will soar. Who needs coffee when you have these tasty alternatives?
By Lola Sherwin