The 10 Best Coffee Substitutes

Updated September 06, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Coffee Substitutes
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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Although most of us can't even think without that first cup of Joe in the mornings, many people are unable to tolerate the acidity, the caffeine or even the flavor of a regular cup of coffee. But for those poor folks there is an alternative. Try one of these delicious substitutes and see if they can provide you with the pick-me-up and refreshment without any discomfort. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best coffee substitute on Amazon.

10. Beyond Coffee Caffeine Free

Beyond Coffee Caffeine Free is GMO-free, organic, and rather tasty. The recipe uses barely, rye, and chicory in a blend a farmer from Maine first created back in the 1970s, so it has stood the test of time. It is one of the more expensive coffee alternatives, though.
  • multiple ways to prepare it
  • works with k-cup coffee makers
  • doesn't smell much like coffee
Brand Beyond Coffee
Model pending
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Natural Touch Kaffree Roma

If your stomach is sensitive to the tannic acids of coffee and your nerves get jittery at the thought of caffeine, yet you still love the flavor of a rich, hot beverage, then think about trying Natural Touch Kaffree Roma. It does have a bitter aftertaste, though.
  • vegan-friendly ingredients
  • dissolves in hot or cold water
  • some find it too nutty
Brand Natural Touch
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Dandy Blend Instant

Dandy Blend Instant can be used to make anything from a hot coffee beverage substitute to ice cream, or even mixed in with a protein shake before hitting the gym. It has a smooth, full-bodied flavor and contains just 7 calories per serving.
  • not bitter at all
  • can be mixed with real coffee
  • should be stored in the fridge
Brand Dandy Blend
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Inka Instant

If you tend to wake up late and are always in a hurry to get out the door in the mornings, consider switching to Inka Instant. Not only will it shave time off your morning routine, but it has a very intense flavor espresso drinkers will love.
  • grains are roasted just like coffee
  • perfect for cold winter nights
  • instructions aren't in english
Brand Inka Corp.
Model pending
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Teeccino Medium Roast Vanilla Nut Chicory

Teeccino Medium Roast Vanilla Nut Chicory is a non-acidic, caffeine-free grain, nut, and herbal beverage that tastes great and brews just like regular coffee, so you can use your coffee maker, a perc pot, an espresso machine, or a French press.
  • supports digestive health
  • gives a slight energy boost
  • makes a good smoothie base
Brand Teeccino
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Ayurvedic Roast French Vanilla

For a great tasting cup of not-coffee, try Ayurvedic Roast French Vanilla. It's a blend of barley, chicory root, and rye, and is 100% certified organic, so you can rest easy that you aren't imbibing any unhealthy chemicals when drinking it.
  • can help boost your immune system
  • produced in the united states
  • won't keep you awake at night
Brand Ayurvedic Roast
Model ayurvedic-roast-11oz-va
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Maharishi Ayurveda Raja's Cup

In addition to being caffeine, grain, and gluten-free, Maharishi Ayurveda Raja's Cup is a certified non-GMO product. It is made from a blend of four healthy herbs: ashwagandha, licorice, clearing-nut tree, and coffee-senna.
  • high in antioxidants
  • good for fighting free radicals
  • can be made just like drip coffee
Brand Maharishi Ayurveda
Model pending
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Zest Tea Earl Grey Black

If you are decidedly in favor of the caffeine you get in a cup of Joe but don't want or can't drink traditional coffee, then turn to the original coffee substitute and have a cup of tea, namely Zest Tea Earl Grey Black, which has as much caffeine as coffee.
  • can boost cognitive function
  • healthier than coffee
  • packed in biodegradable sachets
Brand Zest Tea
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Cafix Crystals

A jar of Cafix Crystals will always serve you well when you need that quick fix, provided your quick fix involves the taste of coffee without any of the caffeine or acidity you get with actual coffee beans. Just mix a spoonful in with a cup of hot water.
  • all natural ingredients
  • has a rich and pleasant flavor
  • contains barley and beet root
Brand Cafix
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Tattva's Herbs Capomo

Tattva's Herbs Capomo is 100 percent gluten-, soy- and caffeine-free so pretty much anybody can drink it without any adverse effects. It also contains a number of nutrients and vitamins not found in coffee, so you'll be giving your day a healthy start.
  • less than 40 calories per serving
  • made from maya nuts
  • high in amino acids
Brand Tattva's Herbs
Model pending
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Benefits Of Drinking Coffee Substitutes

The dark, bold flavor of coffee is unique, and people weaning off of coffee say it is difficult to replace. With that in mind, the experience most coffee substitute brands go for is that bold, richly roasted flavor that comes from real coffee beans. This means high quality coffee substitutes provide a very similar flavor and mouthfeel as coffee.

Coffee substitutes are often made of roasted grains and roots that are pulverized and made into a water soluble powder for use, like instant coffee. The ingredients used in many coffee substitutes have benefits beyond their distinctive flavor. Chicory is one such ingredient in many coffee alternatives. Chicory is a high-fiber root that has been extensively studied for its impact on health. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds called polyphenols. These polyphenols can protect blood cells and reduce inflammation and toxins in the body. Chicory may also protect the liver from free radical damage, and may even help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The fiber in chicory may also improve gut health and relieve constipation.

Dandelion root is also found in many coffee substitutes. Dandelion root is packed with nutrients, like vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a rich source of calcium. Drinking dandelion tea can help fight diabetes, cleanse the liver, and protect against signs of atherosclerosis. Roasted grains like barley make up the base of many coffee substitutes. Barley tea has an impressive blend of nutrients and antioxidants that can help the body stay balanced. Barley tea improves blood circulation and digestion, and can even block invading oral pathogens. It is also low in calories and helps fight against free radical damage in the cells. The benefits of a particular coffee substitute will vary based on any additional ingredients it contains.

Coffee Vs Coffee Substitute; Which Is Better?

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug on the planet, and it has a range of physical and psychological effects when taken. It is the most significant ingredient found in coffee, though caffeine is also commonly found in tea, soft drinks, and workout drinks.

Caffeine from coffee appears to be good for athletes. Mixing caffeine with carbs can replenish glycogen in the muscles and reduce pain in the muscles after an intense workout. This is why caffeine is often added to protein powders and workout recovery drinks. There is also some evidence that the mental stimulation from caffeine can help keep cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay. It may also help reduce inflammation in some users, and has even been linked to weight loss in multiple studies.

It is not all good news for coffee, however. Coffee increases stomach acid production in the body, which can make symptoms like acid reflux and ulcers much worse. Many people with GERD switch to coffee substitutes to find relief from their symptoms. While coffee provides high levels of antioxidants in each sip, it also releases diterpenes into the body. Diterpenes have been linked to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Many coffee alternatives are likewise packed with antioxidants, but have little risk of raising cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Coffee is well known for the stimulating effect it has on the brain, but it actually stimulates the body in similar ways. Caffeine prompts the body to break down fat stores and release fatty acids into the blood stream. This can result in long lasting energy; up to 12 hours from a single cup of coffee. However, a regular coffee drinker will quickly develop a tolerance to these effects and require more and more caffeine to feel the same energy increase. There is less chance of developing a similar tolerance for coffee substitutes, so their benefits may be enjoyed every day.

Caffeine tolerance may also decrease insulin sensitivity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. High caffeine intake can release chemicals into the body that cause inflammation and make a person feel stressed. Coffee can also make a person pass more minerals through the urine, causing an electrolyte imbalance in the body. These problems are virtually nonexistent with coffee substitutes, as they do not stimulate the nervous system in the same way as coffee. Coffee substitutes are usually a much healthier choice than coffee in the long term.

Are Coffee Allergies Real?

When asked why they drink coffee substitutes instead of coffee, many people will cite a coffee allergy. Coffee allergies are possible, though they are not as common as anecdotal evidence would make it seem. Most cases of coffee allergies are actually sensitivities to one or more other ingredients in the coffee.

Most people who say they are allergic to coffee are actually caffeine sensitive. A caffeine sensitive person will experience many symptoms when they drink coffee that other people do not. Caffeine can make people jittery, nervous, anxious, and restless. It may cause a person to feel extremely irritable or agitated, and even cause insomnia. Physically, caffeine can cause a drastic increase in the heart rate or blood pressure of sensitive individuals. It may also cause muscle spasms and digestive disorders. Sensitivity to caffeine can build up over the years, and there may also be a genetic predisposition to symptoms of caffeine sensitivity in some people. Many people who make the switch to coffee alternatives find their symptoms subside immediately.

An assumed coffee allergy in some people may also be an allergic reaction to added ingredients, like milk or even sugar. Lactose intolerance can produce digestive symptoms that many confuse with a coffee allergy. These include symptoms like nausea, severe cramping, and diarrhea. It is also possible to have a reaction to the acids in coffee. Creating a very acidic environment in the digestive system by drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause digestive upset and symptoms like nausea, gas, and bloating.

It is possible to be allergic to coffee beans, though recorded cases are extremely rare. A true coffee allergy like this would produce symptoms within the first hours after coming into contact with coffee. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to coffee often include skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.



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Last updated on September 06, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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