3 Healthy Alternatives To Coffee

reading time: 3 min

coffee, matcha, maca, health, coffee substitutes, recipe, vegan

If you often feel groggy and unable able to function without your morning coffee or if you find yourself chasing the next coffee high, this post is for you!

Over 90 per cent of adults in the Western World consume caffeine daily. Most people will consume it for pleasure or to get an energy boost or both. I was one of those people. When I was doing my a-levels and went off to do my bachelor's degree, I drank a lot of coffee, usually the super cheap ones from the supermarket. Yuck! It left me jittery and restless, I felt like a little monkey in class. Which isn't always so great.

A couple of years later, working to do my master's degree, I'm completely off caffeine – unless I forget to order a caffeine-free coffee, which leads me to turn into a squirrel on drugs basically – and I'm not missing it a bit!

I still really enjoy the taste and the alerting effect of coffee, so here is what I use to get a similar effect without the actual coffee.

Why Not Coffee?

In a nutshell, caffeine causes:
  • Sleepiness, irritability and lack of concentration due to the hangover-like crash after a caffeine high 
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Compressed blood vessels and reduced blood flow
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Headaches and fatigue due to dehydration
  • Heartburn and inflammations due to high acidity (read more about the disadvantages of an acidic diet and the benefits of an alkaline diet over here.) 
  • Added fats and empty calories from cream and sugar in your coffee.

3 Healthy Alternatives

Lucky for us, there are quite a few healthy coffee alternatives on the market that aren't caffeine-free coffee (which still has about 3% of caffeine and contains two natural chemicals – kahweol and cafestol – which can raise your cholesterol and can result in a number of different gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn and reflux disease).

The first – and best – of them being chicory coffee. Yep, chicory, the plant. (I've heard, a blend of roasted dandelion and chicory is even better.)


1-2 tbsp roasted and ground Chicory root coffee
1 cup boiling water
sweetener (optional)

Brew your coffee as you normally would – in a coffee machine with reusable coffee pads, a french press or using a coffee dripper. Sweeten to your liking – I usually don't add any sweetener because I like the bitterness of the chicory coffee. 

In my opinion, this is hands down the best caffeine-free and plant-based coffee substitute out there. It has the bitterness of coffee, it has a very similar roasted flavour and colour – and all that without making you jittery or dehydrated! This drink can be enjoyed black or with a splash of almond milk or your favourite milk substitute.



1 cup almond milk
1-2 tsp matcha powder
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp hot water 

Nope, the taste of matcha is not similar to coffee at all, but it will increase your energy and enhance concentration and focus, and it tastes amazing. It will also boost immunity since it is loaded with antioxidants, amino acids and chlorophyll.

Thoroughly blend one teaspoon of matcha into a splash of hot water and 1 tsp maple syrup. Once dissolved, add the matcha to a mug filled with steamed and frothed milk. Top with a sprinkle of matcha dust and more milk froth or whipped cream if desired. You can also make delicious iced matcha!


1 cup almond milk
1 heaping tsp organic maca powder
1 heaping tsp organic cacao powder
1 pinch cinnamon

Bring the almond milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add in the maca powder, cacao powder and cinnamon, and whisk until dissolved. Once it's boiling, switch off the heat and pour into a mug. 

This warming drink tastes like an earthy, creamy latte macchiato or something. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and protein, and will naturally enhance energy levels and endurance due to the adrenal boosting properties of maca without the caffeine crash later in the day. It also naturally balances the body to help cope with stress

(Plus, maca improves sexual function and fertility, and works as a natural aphrodisiac, so... win-win, right?)

I challenge you to go 14 days without coffee! You can do this!

If your cup of hot coffee is part of your morning ritual, try swapping it for a  steaming mug of matcha latte, chicory coffee or hot maca once in a while. Let me know how it goes!