Within our western society coffee has been the go-to caffeinated beverage for most. Consumed for its strong flavor and energizing effects, coffee has become a staple within our morning routine. While this seems to be the norm for most, alternate options suggests why others choose not to drink coffee and highlights the negative side effects that go along with coffee consumption.
For some, the high amount of caffeine — 95 mg per serving — can cause nervousness and agitation, also known as “the jitters.” For others, coffee can cause digestive distress and headaches. Additionally, many simply don’t care for the bitter taste or are bored with their usual morning cup of joe.
Below we have highlighted 3 of our favorite coffee alternatives that you should try in 2021.
1. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a naturally caffeinated herbal tea made from the dried leaves of the South American holly tree, llex paraguriensis.
If you’re looking for a coffee substitute but don’t want to part with your morning caffeine, yerba mate is our favorite choice.
One cup of yerba mate contains roughly ⅓ of the caffeine content of the average cup of coffee. The energizing effect of yerba mate is often explained to be much smoother than coffee and does not induce the jitters that can be felt following a cup of coffee.
Yerba mate is also loaded with beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants. In fact, recent studies suggest it may be higher in antioxidants than green tea.
Additionally, it contains several vitamins & minerals, including riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamins C and E.
In summary, yerba mate provides a similar caffeine boost to coffee along with a long list of consumption and health benefits.
2. Matcha Tea
Matcha is a type of green tea made by steaming, drying and grinding the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant into a fine powder.
In contrast to brewable green tea, with matcha you consume the whole leaf. For this reason, it’s a source of antioxidants.
Many of the proposed benefits of matcha are attributed to its main antioxidant - EGCG. For example, observational studies suggest regular green tea consumption may reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Because you consume the whole leaf, matcha is typically higher in caffeine than regular brewed green tea and sometimes higher than coffee. The amount in each serving can vary widely, with a range of 35–250 mg per cup.
In summary, matcha tea provides an abundance of beneficial antioxidants as well as providing an effective caffeine boost comparable to coffee.
3. Golden Milk
Golden milk is a rich, caffeine-free substitute for coffee.
This warm beverage incorporates invigorating spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper. Other common additions include cardamom, vanilla and honey.
Besides giving your drink a beautiful golden color, the turmeric in golden milk also provides powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
While difficult to purchase over the counter you can prepare a basic golden milk in about 5 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup (237 ml) of milk or a non-dairy alternative with 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger and a pinch of black pepper.
Warm the mixture on low to medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Once heated, pour the drink into your favorite mug and enjoy.
In summary, golden milk is a rich, caffeine-free alternative to coffee that includes anti-inflammatory and energizing effects.
While coffee has many health perks of its own, we wanted to highlight a few other amazing caffeine and caffeine free alternatives. Replacing coffee may seem extreme but as you look to stimulate your 2021 health goals, trying some of these alternatives will help you along this journey. Hopefully this helped broaden your view on potential coffee alternatives.