menu iconknow your dna logosearch icon
What to Drink Instead of Coffee
Updated on February 27, 2023
Back to top
back to top icon
At Home Health
What to Drink Instead of Coffee
KnowYourDNA is reader-supported. This means we may receive a commission when you buy something from one of the links on this page.

It's no secret that most people's morning routine includes coffee. Coffee’s key ingredient—caffeine—jolts you awake and keeps you alert after a couple of sips.  

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, but many other options can give you the same caffeine boost you need. Some examples of coffee substitutes are teas, supplements, and so on.

Unlike coffee, these alternatives can boost your energy without the slump you often experience with too much coffee.

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 9

Why Replace Coffee?

Drinking coffee benefits your health in many ways, like upping your energy and helping you focus. It has caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant and is the cause of the uptick in alertness you feel after a cup.

However, anything in excess can still have negative impacts on your health. The aftermath of caffeine can be unpleasant to some people.

Too much caffeine can cause jitters or extreme nervousness, indigestion or acidity, and so on. It’s even more unpleasant for people who have caffeine sensitivity or intolerance.

They may experience discomfort and symptoms when consuming even just a tiny amount. 

Coffee increases your brain activity, helping you stay focused and energized. 

Half of the caffeine you take can stay in your system for up to six hours after drinking it.1 It means drinking coffee six hours before bedtime can affect your sleep cycle, causing insomnia or sleep difficulties.

Another uncomfortable side effect of high caffeine intake is the caffeine crash. A caffeine crash happens when the effects of coffee start to wear off.

Caffeine gives you a quick energy boost by blocking the adenosine receptors in your brain. Adenosine is a chemical messenger mainly involved in promoting and regulating sleep.2

So, once the high caffeine level effects wear off, adenosine bounces back. It causes a decline in brain activity resulting in drowsiness.

As the stimulating effects of coffee wear off, it’s typical to feel less focused or alert. You may be having a caffeine crash when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Headache

Caffeine crashes can also be a sign of caffeine dependence. You are more likely to experience caffeine crashing when you consistently consume too much coffee while previously feeling tired.

Replacing coffee with alternatives can help you cut down on your caffeine intake. Many other options can boost your energy and keep you focused without causing jitters or crashing.

Know Your DNA Reviews

Best DNA Kit

Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn more about yourself. Read our best DNA test page to find the best one for you.

Health Benefits of Coffee Alternatives

Most coffee alternatives have lower caffeine content while some have no caffeine at all. They can energize you with minimal to almost no caffeine aftermath.

The low caffeine content in these alternatives doesn’t interfere with your sleep cycle and mood either.

Replacing your morning coffee with healthy coffee alternatives can give you many benefits like:

  • Better sleep quality 
  • Less anxiety 
  • Balanced energy levels
  • Better mood

What Can I Replace Coffee With?

Consider looking for a coffee substitute when you experience some adverse effects from too much coffee.  

Coffee replacements may give you a different taste or kick compared to coffee. But these alternatives are guaranteed to provide an energy boost that can help you last the day.

1. Matcha

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 10

Matcha is a more potent version of your favorite green tea. Matcha is the powder form of the Camellia sinensis plant.

It’s made by steaming, drying, and grinding the leaves and other desirable parts of the plant.

With just one-sixth the caffeine of a regular coffee, it creates an alert yet calm feeling after each sip. You can drink a cup of matcha tea without worrying that you’ll have trouble sleeping later.

Matcha has L-theanine that helps you become focused and relaxed by reducing your anxiety and stress levels. It also counteracts the harsh effects of caffeine on your body.4

  • 113g resealable bag
  • Makes 50 servings
  • $19.99

2. Lemon water

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 11

Warm water with lemon is a staple in traditional Indian medicine. Ancestors believe it helps to get your digestion moving early in the morning. 

Nowadays, lemon water is gaining a reputation when it comes to replacing coffee as a morning beverage. It’s easy to make—just get a cup of water and squeeze half a lemon into it. 

You can enjoy it with hot water or drink it cold. It may not give you the same jolt as coffee does, but it helps significantly with hydration, especially in the morning.

Staying hydrated can save you from extreme fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. 

According to research, lemon is rich in vitamin C and potassium, which helps stimulate your brain functions.5

3. Neuro Gum

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 12

Neuro Gum is a unique coffee alternative—it’s chewing gum packed with caffeine. 

Kent Yoshimura and Ryan Chen, trained athletes with academic degrees in Neuroscience and Chemistry, developed its formula. 

They started their company called Neuro, which develops nootropics or supplements that enhance cognitive functions like concentration, memory, and so on. 

They came up with a formula that boosts and sustains your energy while improving your focus. Neuro Gum has natural caffeine and other essential vitamins.


It has 60 mg of L-theanine, an amino acid found in green teas that balances the harsh effects of caffeine. Combined with caffeine, L-theanine promotes mental alertness and better brain functions.6


Neuro Gum has vitamins B6 or (Pyridoxine) and Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin). They are crucial in nerve protection and nerve regeneration. 

B6 or Pyridoxine supports your body’s serotonin and norepinephrine production. They are vital hormones that regulate our moods and help us cope with stress.

B12 or Methylcobalamin contributes to your body’s ability to convert proteins, carbs, and fats into glucose, the energy source. 

Together, vitamins B6 and B12 help your body sustain your energy level.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that acts as a chemical messenger in the brain. It increases the alpha waves of brain activity, promoting better memory and enhanced intelligence.7

It also induces calm and relaxation and plays a role in managing stress, fear, and anxiety. 

Neuro Gum only contains natural ingredients like natural caffeine extracted from coffee beans. It has no added caffeine. Some of the other ingredients found in Neuro Gum are:

  • Spirulina extract
  • Monk fruit
  • Stevia
  • Fruit and vegetable juice
  • Turmeric extract

It may taste different than coffee since it comes in mint flavors. But it can provide a more sustained energy boost without the slump you often experience with too much caffeine. 

It’s also easier to consume and carry. You can bring it anywhere with you—it’s like having a coffee on the go without holding a cup or a tumbler. 

  • 1 box, pack of 6
  • Contains 54 tablets
  • $23.99

4. Brewed raw cacao

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 13

Brewed cacao is a low-caffeine drink with a rich, dark, earthy taste. Although some may refer to it as cocoa, the two are somewhat different.

While both came from the same plant, cacao is the unprocessed version of cocoa. Cacao drink is made from unroasted beans or the seeds inside the cacao fruit.

It has less caffeine than coffee but is naturally rich in theobromine. Theobromine and caffeine belong to the methylxanthine chemical group. It acts as a central nervous system stimulant.8

But theobromine is milder. Unlike caffeine, it slowly boosts your energy level, giving you longer-lasting energy.8

You can enjoy this decadent drink like hot chocolate, with or without a splash of milk.

  • 10 oz resealable bag
  • Makes 36 to 42 servings (6 oz cup)
  • $15.74

5. Kombucha

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 14

Kombucha is a probiotic-rich drink made from fermented green or black tea. It has lower caffeine content than traditionally brewed tea due to fermentation.

Like any other cup of tea, it has L-theanine, which helps with alertness and focus. It also contains B vitamins, like B1 or thiamine. Your body needs thiamine for better focus and memory.9

It can give you an energy boost like coffee, with additional health benefits from probiotics. Probiotics are strains of good bacteria that help promotes healthier digestion.

  • Pack of 24 cans (8.5 fl.oz. per can)
  • $40.49

6. Masala chai

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 15

Masala chai, also known as chaa, is a part of the traditional Hindu or Indian medicine system. It’s a herbal tea made by brewing a black tea with different blends of herbs and spices. 

Masala refers to “spices,” and chai refers to “tea.” Given this description, the term "chai tea" may appear redundant. An authentic desi masala chai recipe includes these herbs and spices:

  • Cardamom
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace
  • Star Anis
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Ginger powder

You can explore different combinations of these herbs and spices and create your masala chai blend. 

Chai is a high-caffeine drink since its base is black tea. However, it has components like L-theanine that weakens the effect of caffeine on your body. 

It also contains tannin, an antioxidant plant compound commonly found in teas. Tannin decelerates the absorption of caffeine, helping avoid energy slumps.

  • 85g tin can 
  • Makes 100 servings (8 oz cup)
  • $15.99

7. Apple cider vinegar

What to Drink Instead of Coffee 16

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermenting distilled apple juice from crushed apples. It’s a versatile household ingredient used as a home remedy for health problems like sore throats.

Drinking ACV diluted in water as your new go-to morning drink can help boost your metabolism. According to some studies, your body breaks down ACV into acetic acid during digestion, which increases AMPK.10 

AMPK is an enzyme that helps the body switch from storing fats to burning them. When the AMPK activity increases, so do your metabolism.

ACV helps restore energy levels and fight fatigue because it contains:

  • Potassium
  • B vitamins
  • Amino acids
  • Enzymes
  • Pack of 2 (16 fl.oz per bottle)
  • $14.99

What is Natural Caffeine?

Natural caffeine comes from plant extracts. Caffeine is found in more than 60 species of plants worldwide. But it's commonly sourced from the seeds of coffee beans, cacao beans, and kola nuts.

On the other hand, synthetic caffeine is lab-made from urea and chloroacetic acid. It doesn’t use extracts from plants with naturally occurring caffeine. 

Synthetic caffeine has a nearly identical effect on the human body to natural caffeine. Both cause irregular spikes and drops in your energy levels.

However, natural caffeine can be more beneficial than synthetic caffeine. It’s because products with natural caffeine are often rich in other minerals, like amino acids and antioxidants. 

Additionally, these foods and drinks are less likely to have potentially harsh compounds.

Know Your DNA Reviews

Best Microbiome Test

Looking for the best microbiome kit on the market? Look no further! Our review round-up page has all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Updated on February 27, 2023
Cristine Santander
Cristine Santander
Content Contributor
Cristine Santander is a content writer for KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Psychology and enjoys writing about health and wellness.
Back to top icon