For many people, coffee is the go-to beverage to kickstart their day and boost their energy levels. However, excessive coffee consumption may lead to jitters, crashes, and disrupt sleep patterns.
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural coffee alternatives that can provide the necessary energy boost without the drawbacks of caffeinated coffee. In this article, we lay out eleven energy alternatives to coffee, each with their own unique benefits — some with caffeine, and others without!
1) Golden milk
Golden milk, also known as turmeric latte, is a soothing and nutritious beverage made with turmeric, milk (or plant-based milk), and a blend of spices like black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that has been studied to help boost energy levels by reducing inflammation in the body. Researchers have suggested that turmeric lattes can have a profound positive impact on energy metabolism, combating fatigue, and in turn, increase your overall energy levels.
One notable animal study with mice suggested that turmeric supplementation may improve exercise performance and prevent fatigue.
Additionally, the warm and comforting nature of golden milk can be a great way to start your day.
caffeine content: contains zero caffeine
2) Matcha Tea
Matcha is a finely ground green tea powder that provides a steady energy boost without the jitters associated with coffee. It contains a unique combination of caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, which promotes alertness and focus for 6-8 hours while also possibly reducing anxiety.
Matcha also offers a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which may help to boost your energy levels naturally.
Caffeine content: Matcha typically contains an average caffeine content ranging from 20 to 45 milligrams per gram. A standard serving of matcha, which is approximately 2 to 4 grams (equivalent to about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon), translates to approximately 40 to 135 milligrams of caffeine per cup of matcha.
Find out about the differences between green tea and matcha here.
3) Lemon Water
A simple yet effective choice, lemon water is a refreshing way to kickstart your day. The natural sugars in lemon provide a quick energy boost, while the high vitamin C content may work to enhance your immune system and help with overall vitality.
Plus, studies have shown potassium found in lemons might help with your overall brain and nerve function, which can help boost your state of alertness. In fact, researchers have found that even just a sniff of leman may help rev up your feel-good hormones and help alleviate and lower stress.
Drinking lemon water also aids in your overall hydration, which is essential for maintaining energy levels and not falling into a state of fatigue.
Caffeine content: contains zero caffeine.
4) Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a traditional South American herbal tea. It has an earthy and more bitter flavor and is made from the leaves of the yerba mate plant.
It contains caffeine, but its unique combination with other active compounds — purine alkaloids, polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, saponins, and minerals — have been studied to provide a smooth, longer-lasting energy lift without jitters.
Preliminary research also suggest yerba mate may help with healthy weight loss management and cholesterol levels, but further studies need to be conducted.
Caffeine content: Around 80mg per cup (which is similar to a cup of coffee) but due to the nature of how yerba mate is consumed by repeatedly pouring and mixing more water with your mate loose leaves, you can end up intaking more than 260mg of caffeine per serving.
5) Chai Tea
Chai tea is a fragrant and spicy beverage that combines black tea with a blend of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The black tea base provides a gentle caffeine boost compared to coffee, while the spices can enhance digestion and provide a comforting, warming feeling.
If you struggle with sleeping after drinking an afternoon coffee, chai tea may be an excellent choice for an energizing yet soothing drink you can have in the late afternoon or early evening.
Caffeine content: According to the USDA, there is around 22mg of caffeine per 4 oz of black tea — which is the average amount of black tea in a cup of chai tea. However, depending on the mixed used and the exact ratio of ingredients, one cup of chai tea prepared from the powdered form or concentrate may contain between 25 — 55mg of caffeine.
6) Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea, also known as red bush tea, is a caffeine-free herbal tea from South Africa. It is packed with antioxidants and minerals, making it a great choice for those seeking a caffeine-free energy option to enjoy anytime of day.
Compared to black or green tea, rooibos tea has much lower levels of tannins —which studies have shown may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as iron. This makes it a great choice to enjoy when taking your daily multivitamins or supplements in the morning and evening.
Research has also suggested daily consumption of rooibos tea can help support liver health against oxidative stress.
Rooibos tea has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be enjoyed hot or cold and with a sweetener such as sugar or honey — which can also help provide a natural energy boost.
Caffeine content: contains zero caffeine
7) Apple Cider Vinegar Shot (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, including increased energy levels. A shot of diluted ACV in the morning may help regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestion, and boost metabolism. Be sure to dilute it with water to avoid the acidity harming your teeth or throat.
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage known for its probiotic content, which can support gut health and overall well-being. While it contains a small amount of caffeine, it also touts energy benefits due to its B vitamins, enzymes, and organic acids that can also help enhance your digestion and increase vitality.
Caffeine content: Kombucha also contains caffeine like coffee, but there is less caffeine content due to the fermentation process. Usually a bottle of kombucha has about 15 mg of caffeine while a cup of coffee has over 75 mg — making it a great choice for a little afternoon or evening pick-me-up.
Mushroom-based beverages, like chaga or lion's mane mushroom tea, have gained popularity for their adaptogenic properties. These fungi can help the body adapt to stress and provide a natural, sustained energy boost without the caffeine crash.
Studies have shown consuming mushrooms can help combat fatigue by inhibiting blood lactic acid generation and increasing glycogen storage in liver and muscle.
Researchers have also demonstrated that mushrooms before a workout may help reduce glycogen consumption while exercising — making a mushroom lattes a great choice before a morning or afternoon workout.
caffeine content: contains zero caffeine
10) Mixed berry smoothie
A nutrient-dense mixed berry smoothie is a delicious way to start your day with a natural energy boost. Berries are rich in antioxidants and provide natural sugars for quick energy.
A mixed berry smoothie with blueberries, strawberries, and bananas for example contains iron, magnesium, and potassium — which are all essential minerals that have been studied to help fight fatigue and boost energy levels. Plus, a mixed berry smoothie is also high in fiber, helping you feel fuller longer.
Caffeine content: contains zero caffeine
You can also add matcha to your smoothie for an extra boost of energy. Get the ultimate fat-burning matcha smoothie recipe here!
11) Chicory root
Chicory, also sometimes called chicory coffee, is made from the root of the Chicorium Intybus plant by being dried, roasted, and ground up.
It has a sweet, nutty, and less bitter flavor profile compared to coffee, but has an overall similar taste — making it a great caffeine-free alternative for coffee lovers who may want to avoid caffeine later on in the day.
Chicory has also bee studied to help regulate appetite and increase intestinal absorption, giving it potential to be part of a successful weight loss management plan.
Researchers conducting animal studies have also found that chicory has anti-inflammatory properties, and it's insulin content may be beneficial for gut and bowel health — though it likely won't have you running to the bathroom like your morning cup of joe does.
Do keep in mind however consuming chicory could cause a potential allergic reaction if you're allergic to ragweed pollen since it's in the same family as ragweed.
Caffeine content: contains zero caffeine
The bottom line | Try out healthy energy-boosting substitutes for coffee
While coffee remains a beloved morning ritual for many, these eleven alternatives offer various health benefits and energy-boosting properties without the drawbacks of excessive caffeine.
Experiment with these options to find the one that suits your taste and lifestyle best, and enjoy a healthier, more sustainable way to kickstart your day. Remember that moderation and balance are key to maintaining optimal energy levels throughout the day.
- How do we create our Matcha? Read more here.
- See more of our Matcha informational blogs.
- Get to learn more Matcha recipes.
- Create your own Matcha business here.
These statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
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