Coffee is the most common morning drink of choice, but there are many who prefer (or need) to avoid it. With a high-caffeine content and a list of potential side effects, having a few coffee alternatives on hand is never a bad idea.
Plus, many of the best substitutes for coffee have unique wellness benefits that are more than noteworthy. Here’s the coffee substitute lineup:
DISCLAIMER: Some coffee alternatives may not be appropriate for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking certain medications, or who have certain health conditions. Always discuss changes to your lifestyle and wellness routine with your doctor.
Table of Contents
Many coffee alternatives have benefits similar to coffee, like improved focus and energy levels.
Rooibos and Dandelion tea is great caffeine-free coffee alternatives.
Some coffee alternatives are designed for taste, while others are designed to have various therapeutic benefits.
Top 8 Coffee Alternatives
1. Chicory coffee
Chicory coffee is made from the roasted root of the chicory plant, and it’s one of the most well-known coffee substitutes because it has a flavor that is very similar to coffee.
It also is a rich source of inulin, a soluble fiber that supports a healthy gut microbiome and can aid in the digestive process. In fact, inulin has been found to support the growth of both primary probiotic colonies–Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. It may also support bile production, which can help the body break down substances that are otherwise hard to digest, like fat.
Chicory root coffee is pre-ground and roasted and comes in a form similar to coffee grounds. It’s also brewed the same way and can be made using any coffee machine, french press, or typical coffee-brewing method, making it an excellent coffee alternative for those who want to emulate the real thing.
2. Mushroom Coffee
Coffee made with mushrooms is an excellent substitute for a normal cup of coffee. Some mushroom coffee formulas do contain small amounts of coffee, while others are formulated with only medicinal mushrooms and are designed to be a coffee replacement. Either way, mushroom coffee can be a great low-caffeine, therapeutic option for starting your day.
Some of the medicinal mushrooms you may find in mushroom coffee include reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, tremella, maitake, shiitake, and more. The specific mushroom blend will determine the benefits you see from each dose. For instance, lion’s mane coffee is known for promoting focus and improving cognition, while cordyceps coffee may help to increase energy and endurance.
Lucid Super Coffee is a great substitute for the traditional cup of coffee because it contains only 45 milligrams of caffeine paired with energy and cognition-supporting mushroom+nootropics. All the fuel, none of the jittery side effects.
Matcha is a powdered green tea made from Camellia Sinensis. The difference between green tea and matcha is that green tea is steeped and the leaves are strained away, while matcha is consumed by mixing the whole ground leaf with water.
This makes all the difference–matcha offers a hearty dose of antioxidants, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known for a wide range of benefits from aiding weight loss and reducing the risk of diabetes to preventing and healing radiation damage.
Matcha’s flavor is very green and earthy, and the beverage can be prepared hot or cold by mixing the matcha powder with water, milk, and other sweeteners and flavor additives. The best part about matcha as a coffee substitute is that it’s become so common that you can get it at most coffee shops.
Lucid Super Matcha is made with premium Japanese matcha and a blend of mushrooms+nootropics designed to unlock the full potential of your body and brain.
4. Golden Milk
Golden milk is a creamy warm beverage made by combining milk with therapeutic, warming spices like ginger and cinnamon, plus a hearty dose of turmeric and black pepper. Turmeric is known for a range of health benefits, and is specifically known for having anti-inflammatory effects thanks to its active component curcumin. The black pepper helps to aid curcumin’s absorption in the body.
While this one doesn’t necessarily imitate the flavor or energy boost associated with coffee, it is loaded with just as many antioxidants. Golden milk may help to lower inflammation and may benefit the health of the brain and heart. Some research links turmeric to improved mood, lower anxiety and improved sleep, and improved brain function.
5. Yerba mate
Yerba mate is a caffeinated tea made from the leaves of the South American holly tree. Like coffee, one of its main selling points is its high caffeine content, which sits at around 78 milligrams per cup. Like most teas, it’s loaded with antioxidants and may have benefits for the heart and brain. It also contains an array of vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamins C and E.
Research is limited, but suggests that yerba mate may aid in weight loss, help to prevent heart disease and possibly help lower blood sugar.
This bold, smoky tea can be prepared black or with your favorite cream-and-sugar add-ins. If you buy dry yerba mate leaves, making a morning cup is as easy as steeping the leaves in hot water for 3-5 minutes.
6. Chai tea
Chai tea is another hearty tea option that can replace a morning cup of coffee thanks to its bold, warm flavor and mood and focus-boosting effects. This black tea is commonly blended with warming spices, like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, & allspice. Cream or sweeteners may be added to make a beverage that’s close to a traditional cup of coffee.
Chai is slightly less caffeinated than coffee but still has many of the same mental and cognitive benefits. Black tea may help to improve mental alertness, and the antioxidant properties of chai may help to support a healthy heart and brain.
Our Super Chai is a spicy, herbal blend of Masala Chai, Lion's Mane, Maitake, Alpha-GPC, Ginkgo Biloba, BCAA's, and other cognition and energy-enhancing therapeutics designed to help you start your day off on a high note.
7. Rooibos tea
Rooibos is a caffeine-free option for those who want the antioxidant boost of tea without the jittery side effects. In fact, rooibos contains a substantial amount of antioxidants and has been linked to a range of health benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer to reducing inflammation and potentially improving sleep.
Rooibos is easy to brew by just adding the tea leaves to a cup of hot water for 3-5 minutes.
8. Dandelion (Root) Tea
Dandelion root tea is made with the roasted root of the dandelion plant, which are known for their earthy, bitter flavor. The flower of the dandelion tea may also be added, which adds a light sweetness to the brew.
Dandelion is known to be rich in antioxidants and may help to support digestion. Dandelions are also a rich source of vitamins like Vitamin A, K, E, and C, as well as potassium.
You can buy dandelion tea in bags, but fresh dandelions can also be used to make a hot morning cup of tea.
Conclusion: What’s the Best Substitute for Coffee?
With so many options available, it can be hard to choose the best coffee substitute. Some are designed to emulate coffee’s taste and benefits, while others simply have unique benefits that may fit your needs. Luckily, many of the coffee substitutes on this list are accessible, so you can experiment with your morning cup until you find one that works for you.
One easy way to do that is to grab our Starter Kit. Try all three of our Lucid flavors (matcha, chai, and coffee) and enjoy the benefits of our nootropic stack (medicinal mushrooms, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Alpha-GPC, and more) no matter which way you go.
Read more about our ingredients to learn how the Lucid nootropic stack supports focus, energy, and immunity like no regular cup of coffee ever could.
- “Inulin: Properties, health benefits and food applications” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27178951/
- “Chicory: Understanding the Effects and Effectors of This Functional Food”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8912540/
- “Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14518774/
- “Effects of green tea and EGCG on cardiovascular and metabolic health” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17906191/
- “Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa)” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12676044/
- “Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23832433/
- “Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.572533/full
- “Effect of curcumin on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in women with premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26608718/
- “Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26408319/
- “Short-term consumption of Ilex paraguariensis extracts protects isolated hearts from ischemia/reperfusion injury and contradicts exercise-mediated cardioprotection”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28683208/
- “Effects of Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) on the hypothalamic signalling of insulin and leptin and liver dysfunction in adult rats overfed during lactation” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27609670/
- “Antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of aqueous extracts and crude polyphenolic fractions of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16366725/
- “Tea flavanols inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme activity and increase nitric oxide production in human endothelial cells” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16872562/