It’s the new year and diets are trending again. There’s one staple, coffee, that factors heavily into most people’s diets and their new year’s resolutions. Is it time for you to choose a coffee alternative?
Maybe you love your coffee but you’d like to cut out the cream and sugar. Maybe you’d like to consume less caffeine, or limit yourself to a morning cup. Maybe you’re seeking a keto-friendly version and you’ve recently purchased a blender for that perfect bulletproof blend. Or, perhaps, you’d like more from your morning energy drink, and you’re searching for a performance-enhancing alternative.
Either way, coffee plays a large role in most people’s lives, and it’s not always easy to find a suitable replacement. The best coffee substitute is one that will still give you the good taste, energy and comfort you seek from your favorite brew.
- Are you on a keto diet or trying to lose weight?
- Does caffeine give you the jitters or add to your stress?
- Is an energy drink a must-have for your crazy, busy day?
Like most things, the context of your goals will influence which coffee alternative you should choose. There are a lot of choices out there. In this article, we take a look at the best coffee substitutes and best coffee alternatives in 2022.
Table of Contents
The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee
The Advantage of Using a Coffee Alternative
The Best Coffee Substitute for Chocolate Lovers
The Best Coffee Alternative for Energy
The Best Tea Coffee Alternative
The Best Caffeine Free Coffee Alternative
The Best Coffee Alternative for Espresso Lovers
The Best Nutrition Dense Coffee Alternative
The Best Overall Coffee Substitute
The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee #
Historians say the earliest evidence of coffee drinking goes back to the middle of the 15th century. Today, coffee remains the most consumed beverage worldwide after water.
The number of studies on the benefits and risks of coffee1 could likely fill a small library. The more coffee studies you read, the more you realize drinking coffee has both pros and cons. It works great for some people, and is not a good option for others. Not such a big surprise, is it?
Why Do People Love Coffee? #
People love coffee because it does have its advantages. It provides warmth and comfort, gives you energy and enhances performance, and it’s linked to social benefits.
Energy—Although many people actually love the taste of coffee, most people say they drink it for energy. If you know the basics of coffee chemistry you’ll know this energy is not coming from coffee oils but from caffeine. If drinking coffee isn’t your thing, this realization is liberating, as there’s more than one source of caffeine.
Performance Enhancement—Got a big workout coming up, or a physically demanding job? Coffee enhances physical performance in two important ways. It sends adrenaline into the bloodstream2, and improves the breakdown of fat for fuel.3
Cognitive Protection—Coffee also enhances the health of your brain. It keeps us focused and protects against cognitive decline. Coffee, not caffeine, protects against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, improving long-term memory.4
Antioxidant—Coffee contains polyphenols and hydrocinnamic acids, which are powerful antioxidants.7 These molecules bind to the free radicals responsible for early aging, negative pathological change and disease, rendering them inert and improving overall health.
Comfort—Some people just like coffee because drinking it is a comfortable routine. It feels good to hold a warm cup, linger with coffee in the morning, and share coffee with others in the break-room at work or at a local cafe. A psychological dependence on coffee isn’t necessarily negative, but it’s something to notice if coffee’s side effects are giving you problems.
Culture—Coffee drinking has been part of the human experience for hundreds of years. In Italy for example, the tradition of espresso after dinner is strong. Skipping it would feel like going outside without clothes on - unthinkable! Coffee is used in ritual, ceremony and for some, is just part of the culture.
Why Choose a Coffee Alternative? #
For others, coffee comes with unwanted physical side effects that just don’t vibe with their body or their personal health goals. These side effects can include:
- Acid reflux
- Increased anxiety
- Jitters/muscle tremors
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Stained teeth
Physical side effects aside, many people simply don’t like the taste of coffee. If you’re not drinking yours black, it’s worth questioning what’s keeping you attached to that morning cup of Joe. Is it the coffee you enjoy, or are you addicted to the added sugar and cream?
Coffee drinkers in the US consume an average of three spoonfuls of added sugars in their coffee each day.8 Include a flavored syrup and cream or steamed milk and you’re only increasing your caloric consumption as well as spiking your blood sugar. If your coffee comes pre-packaged as a flavored or ice-coffee blend, read the nutrition label. Is it the coffee you like, or are hidden sugars driving your behavior?
The Advantage of Using a Coffee Alternative #
If you love the ritual of a warm beverage and the energy of caffeine but for whatever reason, coffee just doesn’t work for you, it’s time to find a coffee alternative.
A good coffee substitute is one that works for your body and your goals. The best coffee alternatives provide the benefits you enjoy, without unwanted side effects. What’s most important to you from this list?
- Performance enhancing
- Health boosting
- Fat loss promoting
- Easy to prepare
- Low in sugar and calories
While there are many coffee alternatives out there, they don’t always check all these boxes. Plus, there’s a matter of personal preference. It may take some experimenting with more than one coffee substitute to see what works best for you.
The Best Coffee Alternatives in 2022 #
It’s time to take a closer look at coffee substitute options. We’ll cover the popular choices and some that are less well known. And if maximizing your health and athletic performance in 2022 is important to you, keep reading to learn more about our pick for the overall best coffee alternative.
The Best Coffee Substitute for Chocolate Lovers #
Crio Bru Brewed Cacao #
For those who love a good morning cup of mocha-flavored java but are looking for a coffee substitute, Crio Bru Brewed Cacao is a healthy instant coffee alternative. With Crio Bru, you won’t need to give up your morning routine. You can brew a warm cup of cacao just like your regular cup of coffee.
Crio Bru gets its energy boost from theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant in cacao that expands your blood vessels versus constricting them as coffee does. Because it acts differently than caffeine, the energizing effects last longer.
As a bonus, brewed cacao is loaded with health benefits like immune-system-boosting antioxidants, magnesium and phenylethylamine. Keep in mind, this is no Nesquik hot cocoa. This sugar-free coffee substitute is made from 100% pure ground cacao and is keto and paleo friendly, non-GMO and dairy and gluten free.
If you’re trying cacao for the first time, Crio Bru offers a sampler set so you can see which flavors suit your taste.
The Best Coffee Alternative for Energy #
When it comes to an energizing morning beverage, Matcha powder is at the top of our list. You can think of matcha as the more nutrient-dense version of traditional green tea, with twice the amount of antioxidants.
When consuming traditional green tea, you drink the nutrients which have leached into the water, but you throw away the tea leaves. When you drink matcha, you’re consuming not just the water, but the entirety of the tea leaves, which have been ground into a powdered form.
As for energy, matcha contains more caffeine than traditional green tea. An average eight-ounce cup of matcha contains the same caffeine content of a small cup of coffee, but without the jitters. Because matcha contains l-theanine, caffeine absorption is slowed.
Matcha also offers a lot of versatility. Add a scoop to your morning smoothie, make a matcha latte, or try baking matcha donuts, cookies or snacks.
The Best Tea Coffee Alternative #
Yerba Mate #
Yerba mate, sometimes called just mate, is a widely popular herbal tea you can find in nearly any health food store or grocery store. The traditional South American beverage has a big following because of its flavoring, energetic punch, and the unique gourd and metal straw you may have seen some fans using.
Yerba mate comes from evergreen tree leaves and has natural caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. In the US, it’s sold as a canned cold brew, but you can also make your own with yerba mate tea bags or loose crushed leaves.
Yerba Mate gets its energy from caffeine, but also from theobromine, which helps take away that jittery edge.
The tea contains polyphenols (as does regular coffee) which act as antioxidants. Yerba Mate’s antioxidant properties seem to be higher than that of green tea. 9
More than one study has found Yerba Mate could help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and other markers of fat in the blood.10
If the health benefits of your coffee substitute are important to you, Yerba Mate contains nearly every vitamin and mineral your body needs, as well as seven of the nine essential amino acids.11
The Best Caffeine Free Coffee Alternative #
Brewed Chicory #
Chicory is frequently added to coffee for flavor, but can be enjoyed on its own as well. Brewed chicory coffee mimics the flavor of regular coffee beans, minus the caffeine. It’s a good coffee alternative for those who love drinking coffee but have trouble with its side effects.
Chicory contains the prebiotic fiber inulin, which means it helps increase healthy gut bacteria, which is great for digestive health. Inulin also tames blood sugar levels, fights high blood pressure, and can even reduce the risk of colon cancer.12 As a bonus, Chicory contains manganese and vitamin B6 which help with brain health.
Athletes love chicory because of its high potassium levels. Some chicory beverages come loaded with even higher levels of potassium than popular sports drinks. This helps you recover faster by restoring electrolytes and giving you a boost of energy, without the caffeine crash.
The Best Coffee Alternative for Espresso Lovers #
Barley Coffee #
If you love your espressos, lattes and cappuccinos but need a coffee substitute, barley coffee is your new best friend.
Also known as caffè d’orzo, this Italian coffee substitute is caffeine-free and made from roasted barley grains, rye and chicory. Although barley doesn’t taste exactly like traditional espresso, nor does it require an espresso machine, it does have a satisfying flavor and comes packed with some extra nutritional benefits.
Notable nutrients found in barley include vitamins B and E, phosphorus, and magnesium. One drawback? Barley coffee does contain barley and rye, and is not certified gluten-free.
The Best Nutrition Dense Coffee Alternative #
Mud\Wtr Mushroom Coffee #
If you’re ok with a little bit of coffee and love the idea of turning it into a nutrient-dense super drink, then mushroom coffee might be the perfect solution.
Most mushroom coffees feature chaga, lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms. They come packed with crazy high levels of antioxidants. Mushrooms are among the most alkaline food on the planet, help improve gut health, and contain more than 215 phytonutrients.13
If that’s not enough, mushrooms help relieve stress, boost immunity, aid in anti-aging, and help improve brain function.
Mud\Wtr coffee does contain a small amount of caffeine, but does not include coffee as FourSigmatic, a mushroom/coffee blend does.
The Best Overall Coffee Substitute #
If high energy, physical performance, weight loss, and a healthy boost are important to you, you’ll love your pick for the overall best coffee alternative for 2022. This coffee substitute will give you the energy and nutrients you need to build muscle, lose weight and manifest your health-related resolutions.
IN-Perium is a new, high-performance coffee substitute that features a healthy blend of caffeine, MCT oil, and electrolytes. It provides a long-lasting, crash-free flow of energy, making it a go-to coffee alternative for anyone who’s intermittent fasting.
What are the IN-Perium Ingredients? #
IN-Perium features seven powerful natural ingredients that when combined replenish your electrolytes, provide sustained energy, and boost your metabolism.
- Caffeine: If you’re looking for improved physical performance, including muscular and cardiovascular endurance, it’s really hard to beat caffeine. It also helps with mental performance by improving reaction times, concentration, and wakefulness.
- Medium Chain Triglycerides:** MCTs are easily converted to ketones and provide energy for your body, especially during fasting. MCT oils are a common ingredient in bulletproof coffee. IN-Perium uses a powdered form of MCT which offers the same appetite suppressant properties, without the need for a blender.
- Beta-Alanine: Beta-Alanine has been shown to increase muscular performance, especially during periods of intense exertion. It’s the perfect pre-workout supplement.
- Electrolytes: IN-Perium contains sodium, potassium and magnesium. These essential electrolytes are critical for cellular function, blood pressure regulation, and muscle and nerve health. Magnesium is associated with positive impacts on blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.
- L-Theanine: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in many of the above coffee alternatives. When combined with caffeine, L-Theanine has been shown to improve cognition and attention and is reported to help mitigate the “jittery” feelings some people associate with caffeine consumption.
- L-Citrulline: Evidence shows that L-Citrulline reduces fatigue during exercise and enhances overall performance. It aids with recovery, increases arginine and creatine levels, and boosts GH production.
- Coffee Extract: Because IN-Perium is a perfect coffee substitute it contains an extract of natural coffee to provide the other beneficial compounds found in coffee. Remember all of those studies about the benefits of coffee? IN-Perium takes that into account and has added coffee extract so you can keep the pros while ditching the cons.
How to use IN-Perium #
IN-Perium can be used as a pre-workout supplement or general coffee substitute. It comes in an easy to mix powdered form. Just mix one scoop with 8 ounces of water and blend thoroughly. You can take it before your workout, at the time you would normally consume coffee, or both.
How Does IN-Perium Compare to Coffee Head to Head? #
When it comes to the benefits of drinking coffee, IN-Perium offers all that coffee does, plus more. The coffee substitute provides long lasting crash-free energy, with added electrolytes. What’s more, at just 25 calories per serving, if you take it for energy while fasting, it won’t break your fast.
If your 2022 goals include improving your body composition, making healthier choices and sticking to your keto or paleo diet, IN-Perium is the coffee alternative you’ve been waiting for.