Wrapping your hands around a warm mug makes mornings better. For many of us, coffee is the go-to beverage of choice. But, if you're trying to cut back on caffeine for personal or health reasons, there are plenty of caffeine-free alternatives to coffee out there for you to enjoy.
I used to be a chocolate-caramel latte lover until I discovered caffeine triggers a medical condition related to my immune system. I had to find something new for my mug ASAP. Sure, chamomile tea and hot chocolate are great, but I really wanted something robust in flavor and low in calories to become a regular part of my morning routine.
What I Drink Instead of Coffee
My go-to beverages since going coffee-free are rooibos tea, chicory root coffee, and hot lemon water. Over the years, I've tried multiple blends of teas and hot herbal beverages. These flavorful, caffeine-free alternatives to coffee are the ones that keep landing in my shopping cart, week after week.
1. Rooibos Tea
South Africans have made this antioxidant-rich beverage part of their culture for generations, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa. Leaves from the Aspalathus linearis shrub are used to concoct this beverage, also known as red tea or red bush tea.
I choose premade tea bags made from 100 percent pure rooibos leaves with no added flavorings or fillers, and I simply steep with hot water to prepare. You can also buy rooibos tea in loose-leaf style.
The taste is rich and deep, reminding me of a light roast coffee. Rooibos tea can easily be used in your homemade cappuccino or latte recipes, and it's sometimes available at well-stocked coffee shops as an alternative base for your favorite coffee drink. Give it a try on your next afternoon coffee run!
2. Chicory Root Coffee
If you prefer a dark roast coffee, explore chicory root herbal coffee. You can find it in granules to be prepared in a French press or in a simpler tea bag form to dunk in a mug of hot water.
PlantVillage, a research and development unit of Penn State University, explains that chicory is a leafy herb in the Asteraceae family of plants often grown for salad greens. When it comes to making a coffee substitute, the root of the witloof chicory variety is dried and ground to achieve that dark-roast taste.
I've discovered that I like chicory-dandelion root blends for their strong coffee-like flavor. They also mix well with a splash of almond milk, a spoonful of coconut sugar, or a swirl of chocolate sauce when I'm missing coffee shop treats.
3. Hot Lemon Water
What? Water? Before you dismiss this option, hear me out. Part of the allure of our morning cup of coffee is its comforting warmth and the routine of grabbing something to sip.
Last year while working on an article about digestion, my research revealed that a hot mug of water flavored with a squeeze of a fresh lemon wedge can really satisfy morning coffee cravings. Not only that, but much like coffee, it also helps with digestion, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
I started drinking hot lemon water on cold winter mornings and actually started to prefer it over tea. As it turns out, this beverage is also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C while being low in sugar and calories, as the Cleveland Clinic notes.
So, get ready to elevate your morning routine! Give one of these beverages a try, and enjoy the wake-me-up benefits of a go-to beverage without the caffeine in traditional coffee.
We'd love to see a picture of your chilly fall morning mug filled to the brim with your beverage of choice. Post it to Instagram and be sure to tag us @toms_of_maine.
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Why It's Good
You don't have to give up cozy mornings with a warm beverage when cutting back on coffee. Rooibos tea, chicory root coffee, and hot lemon water satisfy cravings for a comforting drink while helping you meet your personal health goals. Next time you fill a mug, explore an alternative to coffee. You might discover a new favorite hot beverage!