There has been an endless debate on whether coffee is good for you. For some, not even the coffee’s science-backed association with longevity can overcome the downsides, like restless sleep, jitters, and withdrawal headaches. No matter where you stand on the ‘is coffee good or bad’ issue, coffee shortages are coming due to climate change. The good news is that there are plenty of healthy coffee alternatives out there for your morning (or afternoon) pick-me-up. Here are our favorites.
Shilajit is a resin formed by the decomposition of nutrient-dense plants that’s reputed to boost energy levels. For the people of Nepal and northern India, shilajit is a traditional breakfast staple, taken with milk in the mornings. Sherpas claim it as their secret for strength and longevity, but we like to drink it mixed in with tea in the mornings. It’s definitely a bit cult-ish and on the pricier side, but it’s a pleasant cup.
For a kick of energy, add some bee pollen to a daybreak smoothie, or to your morning cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal. It boasts B complex vitamins, folic acid, proteins, lipids, and minerals that provides instant, natural energy. Unlike coffee, which can make cramps for women on their period worse, bee pollen also helps alleviate the pain. Some people actually just add it to their coffee, too. Just beware of potential pollen allergies—always test a bit out first.
While you probably shouldn’t take Four Sigmatic’s scientific claims too seriously, their mushroom matcha is a decent replacement for coffee. It boasts antioxidants, caffeine, and L-theanine, an amino acid they say gives you an energy boost without the crash. If you really want to lean into the adaptogenic craze, you could add the Lion’s Mane extract, which they say support memory, focus, and concentration.
This morning drink has all the properties and characteristics of coffee, without the crash: it has 5mg of caffeine, is fair-trade, organic, single-origin and is easy to make in a French Press. Founded by a mom who needed an energy boost without jitters or a crash, Rasa Coffee Alternative has an earthy taste, and some reviewers have claimed that it’s helped them quit cold turkey.
Unlike other matcha powders, which can be too bitter, this Baatcha brand has a mild taste and is also organic. You can drink it hot or cold, with almond milk or coconut milk as desired. It’s also great to add into smoothies, shakes, and can even be used to make face masks or in baking if you feel so inclined to make green-tea flavored cupcakes.
Yerba Mate is usually meant to be steeped for hours and shared with friends—and is brewed in a gourd. The coffee alternative has a distinctive, slightly bitter flavor, but in addition to delivering all-natural energy, vitamins, and amino acids, Yerba Mate may also support a healthy gut. Pair it with your own gourd and bombilla (drinking straw) set so that you also cut down on daily cup waste.