First thing in the morning, I am nothing without my steaming hot mug of coffee. Truth be told, you’d have to pry it out of my hands to get me to give it up! However, I have a one mug-a-day limit — any more caffeine throughout the day starts messing with my mood and sleep, and the acid isn’t so great for my tummy either.
When I want the warm, comforting sensation of a cup of coffee without the acid and caffeine, I reach for one of these four substitutes instead. Here are the brands I’ve tried and enjoyed — they're in regular rotation in my house, perfect for quelling my afternoon coffee cravings.
Teeccino is the sweetest of the coffee substitutes I've tried, and in my opinion, the tastiest as well. Carob is the first ingredient, and there are dates and almonds in here too. It's not overly sugary, though, and at just twelve calories per 8-ounce serving, it's an indulgence I'm happy to partake in. They've got many different flavor varieties in both loose and single-serving packaging. Hazelnut is a familiar favorite, while Maya Chocolate has a hint of chile heat.
2. Cafix Crystals
Cafix Crystals look just like freeze-dried coffee crystals, but they're made from a mix of barley, rye, chicory, and sugar beets. The flavor is not particularly sweet, tasting mostly of roasted, toasty grains.
This is the quickest-brewing of any coffee substitute — just pour boiling water in with the crystals, stir, and you've got a piping hot drink in seconds. It's easy to add more or less of the product depending on how concentrated you like your brew.
3. Ayurvedic Roast
Ayurvedic Roast touts its health benefits as well as its coffee-like flavor — it contains Ayurvedic herbs Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Brahmi. The flavor profile is similar to Cafix, but fresher and more aromatic. This makes sense, as it's a less processed product — the grains and herbs are simply roasted and ground.
It takes a little bit more effort to prepare this coffee substitute — you can steep it like loose tea for a medium-bodied beverage, or boil it in water for a more viscous brew. Either way, it's got a nice, toasty flavor, and I've enjoyed both the French vanilla and unflavored varieties.
Art of Tea Chocolate Monkey Rooibos Fusion
4. Art of Tea Chocolate Monkey Rooibos Fusion
Rooibos tea isn't really trying to be like coffee, but this blend is far more robust than a regular cup of herbal tea, so I think it deserves a special mention! Art of Tea's Chocolate Monkey Blend has a complex, intriguing aroma, with additions of dried apple and banana, cacao nibs, and pink peppercorns for a pop of spice.
This brews up more like tea than coffee — it's lighter and more translucent than any of the straight-up coffee substitutes mentioned above. I like it on its own, or with a little honey and almond milk for an extra treat.
Have you tried any other coffee substitutes? I'd love to hear about your favorites!
(Image credits: Coco Morante)