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The Best Coffee Alternatives: Best Caffeine Alternatives for Getting Energy and Staying Grounded

Tea or chai lattes aren’t the only coffee substitutes; try one of these coffee alternatives instead.

Updated May 27, 2021

DoubleBlind Mag is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here.

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Millions of people rely on caffeine to get them through their day. Whether it’s a cup of coffee to jumpstart their morning or a cup of tea in the afternoon to stave off an unwelcome nap, caffeine is there to provide a boost of energy to keep you going until you have time to rest. It’s also cheap, easy to find, and legal (if not encouraged) to be consumed in pretty much every context.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to consuming caffeine. For example, even when consumed in small doses, it is easy to gain a dependence upon caffeine, and the withdrawal symptoms are no joke. Missing that morning cup of coffee can lead to migraines, irritability, and fatigue later in the day. 

It’s also important to note that everyone is going to experience caffeine differently. Many people can handle the maximum amount of caffeine (400mg) that is recommended for daily consumption by doctors; however, there are people that, because of a certain gene variant, have a high sensitivity to caffeine and will need far less to meet their needs, if they can consume it at all. 

Read: Microdosing Caffeine – What You Should Know

Thankfully, eliminating coffee from your diet does not mean you are destined to live a tired existence. There are alternatives that can provide the same benefits as caffeine without the negative effects you are looking to avoid. 

So, whether you are looking to break your dependency from caffeine, have a heightened sensitivity, or just want to try something new, here are five coffee alternatives that can give you a pep in your step with none of the jitters. 

Keith’s Cacao

A block of Keith's Raw Cacao
Each bar of Keith’s Cacao is one pound of solid cacao.

The first thing most people think of when they hear “cacao” is chocolate. So it often takes people off guard to think of cacao as something that is good for you. I mean, not many are thinking about the health benefits of cacao when they sit down to enjoy a nice bar of chocolate. 

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In reality, cacao is a superfood that offers energy without the crash that is associated with caffeinated beverages. Cacao also differs from other utilitarian caffeinated beverages in that it is used to enhance insight, presence, and focus. In other words, it has more uses than just keeping energy levels up. 

Keith works alongside local Kaqchikel Mayan women to help bring economic opportunity to the region and ensure that the cacao is processed in a traditional manner that guarantees optimal potency and flavor. The processing team goes through painstaking lengths to make sure that each bar of cacao is perfect. All the cacao beans are sourced from the native rainforests of Guatemala, and each bean is individually graded for quality, hand peeled, and milled. 

Each bar of Keith’s Cacao is one pound of solid cacao. To prepare a cup of cacao to drink, all you do is shave off .5 ounces of cacao and mix it with hot (not boiling) water. Sweeteners and ground peppers (cayenne) are sometimes added to the mix to enhance the drinking experience; however, many enjoy it without adding anything at all. 

Check out Keith’s Cacao if you are trying to replace those mocha lattes!


Hand holding jar of MUD/WTR coffee alternative
MUD/WTR is a delicious blend of nine organic ingredients.

MUD/WTR is another coffee alternative that was created to provide the consumer with the benefits of caffeine without the negative effects associated with its use. MUD/WTR’s co-founder, Shane Heath, realizing that his daily coffee intake was starting to have a negative impact on his life, decided to do his own research and use his kitchen to find an alternative that worked for him. 

By harnessing the power of adaptogens, Heath found he was able to get the energy he needed to get through his day, avoid the negative effects of caffeine, and counteract the effects of stress in his body. Yes, MUD/WTR has a small amount of caffeine; however, with only 14mg you are going to get natural energy and avoid getting the jitters and crash that occurs with regular coffee consumption. 

Unlike coffee, MUD/WTR is more than just a vehicle for caffeine to ride into your bloodstream. MUD/WTR is a delicious blend of nine organic ingredients (cacao, masala chai, turmeric, sea salt, cinnamon, chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s mane) that have a long history of being used for their health benefits. In other words, it’s good for you! 

Even when consumed in small doses, it is easy to gain a dependence upon caffeine, and the withdrawal symptoms are no joke. Missing that morning cup of coffee can lead to migraines, irritability, and fatigue later in the day. 

MUD/WTR is easy to use and versatile. If you are looking for something to replace your coffee, just add it to some hot water and enjoy. You can also get more creative and incorporate it into a smoothie, granola, or even use it to make cookies! even when consumed in small doses, it is easy to gain a dependence upon caffeine, and the withdrawal symptoms are no joke. Missing that morning cup of coffee can lead to migraines, irritability, and fatigue later in the day. 

The Maca Team

Bag of The Maca Team's Red Maca Root Powder
Maca will give you energy, elevate your mood, and help bring balance to your bodily systems.

The Maca Team specializes in an adaptogen called, you guessed it, maca. Maca is a plant that grows in the mountains of Peru. The root of the plant has been prized for thousands of years for its medicinal properties that are said to increase energy, endurance, and fertility for those who consume it. 

Another thing that makes maca so unique is its nutritional content. It is jammed packed with protein, fiber, essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and D, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium, calcium, glucosinolates, fatty acids, macaenes, and macamides. To put it mildly, maca is a superfood. You combine that with the added benefits of being an adaptogen, and you have one powerful plant. 

Like coffee, a beverage made from maca will give you energy, elevate your mood, and help bring balance to your bodily systems. Unlike coffee, maca will not give you the jitters or cause you to crash later in the day. 

The Maca Team offers four different types of ground maca (black, red, yellow; mixed) in their shop, each offering a unique playlist of benefits. The good people on The Maca Team also know that there is a lot of misinformation out there about maca, so they offer a generous amount of scientific research that speaks to the benefits of this amazing root. 

Ground maca powder can be added to warm water or milk to take the place of coffee, and it can even be used in baking. The versatility and nutritional benefits of maca really make it a product to keep in the pantry.

Guayusa Tea from Shaman’s Market

Bag of Guayasa Tea from The Shaman's Market
Guayusa is a naturally-caffeinated herbal tea from the Amazon Rainforest.

Sitting somewhere between tea and coffee, Guayusa is a naturally-caffeinated herbal tea from the Amazon Rainforest. Guayusa is an interesting product to find on this list, as it has quite a bit of caffeine; however, it distinguishes itself from coffee in the way the caffeine is experienced in the consumer. 

In addition to caffeine, Guayusa contains theophylline and theobromine. This unique blend of stimulants produces an energy that is balanced—eliminating the jitters and crash that are commonly experienced by people that consume caffeinated beverages. Instead of getting large doses of caffeine dumped into your system at once, Guayusa stalizes the release of caffeine, thereby, offering a more enjoyable experience. 

Guayusa also offers the consumer a plethora of other nutritional compounds (antioxidants, polyphenols, saponins, theanine, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals) that contribute to the overall health of the consumer. The Guayusa tea from Shaman’s Market is also sourced with the utmost care. It is non-GMO, fair trade, gluten-free, paleo, kosher, and grown in sustainable forest gardens. 

So, if you enjoy the pick-me-up you get from caffeine but hate the jitters and crash, the loose leaf Guayusa tea from Shaman’s Market is a great place to start.

Rainbo’s 11:11 Tincture

If you just love those beans from your local roaster or that matcha from Japan, you might consider adding this tincture to your morning ritual, instead of trying a new beverage altogether. The folks at DoubleBlind have genuinely become passionate about Rainbo’s adaptogenic mushroom tinctures. Their 11:11 includes Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Oyster, and more to help with energy, immunity, and focus. You can put it in your coffee or tea to help with the jitters, and to stay feeling good all day.

More Than A Cup of Coffee

It is clear that there are a lot of wonderful options for replacing your cup of coffee. Not only will they provide the energy you need to get through the day, not only will they provide additional health benefits, they are also delicious. 

Let’s be honest, getting energy isn’t the only reason people drink coffee. A true coffee replacement needs to replace the rituals and feelings that surround it—not just the caffeine. So be sure to try a few and see which one really hits right. Happy hunting!

If you’re looking for peer support during or after a psychedelic experience, contact Fireside Project by calling or texting 6-2FIRESIDE. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for support.
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