coffee alternatives

I don’t like coffee. Call me crazy, but I’ve just never enjoyed the taste of it. Even when working in a café as a barista, I rarely took advantage of the free drink policy. The smell is alright; I just really can’t get past the taste, which is why I’m always looking for coffee alternatives.

If you’re like me or you’re just looking for a Starbucks replacement, I’ve got a great list of some of the weirder, more unusual coffee alternatives out there to get you going in the morning.

1. Kombucha

Homemade craft Kombucha – probiotics

If you’re not sure what kombucha is, it generally refers to a fermented black or green tea. Technically speaking, “kombucha” refers to the cultured bacteria and yeast used to ferment it, but most people refer to the drinkable finished product as kombucha.

I admit it is a bit of an acquired taste, as most fermented foods and drinks are. However, kombucha is a great beverage once you get used to it. It’s got tons of probiotics which makes it great for gut health, and the unusual almost carbonated feel in your mouth is sure to give you some extra pep.

How many health benefits there really are in kombucha has yet to be determined, but it’s low in sugar, low in calories, and can even be made at home (do be careful if you decide to make it at home, though). There are tons of flavor combinations that work well in kombucha, which means there’s a huge variety to try.

2. Sparkling Tea

Cold sparkling hibiscus (karkade) tea with lemon, mint and ice in glasses on a grey stone background.

Sparkling tea is pretty similar to kombucha; it just lacks the fermentation process. Instead of being fermented, the iced tea is carbonated. It’s not super widely available, but you can usually find a few flavors at your local Target.

Just like kombucha, it’s low calorie and low in sugar, too, with plenty of different flavor combinations. Sparkling tea is pretty close in taste to sparkling waters and seltzers, so La Croix and Bubbly fans are sure to enjoy.

Out of everything on the list, sparkling tea is hands down my favorite, but I’m a tea person in the first place.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Bottle of apple cider vinegar with red apples

Not sure how I feel about this one, but if you’re more adventurous and already have a taste for kombucha, try out apple cider vinegar. There are also other “drinking vinegars” out there if the apple cider stuff isn’t your thing.

Drinking vinegars are uncommon but not so hard that you won’t find them anywhere. If you live in a small town, you might have to order it online, though. Luckily Amazon has a big collection of types, flavors, and shots.

If you decide to try it out, please ensure you aren’t just grabbing any old vinegar and taking a swig. Regular vinegars used in cooking will taste especially vile and will not be good for your health.

If you get vinegar that is safe to drink, there are some reported health benefits. Supposedly drinking apple cider vinegar can help promote weight loss and improve blood sugar levels, but that’s yet to be widely verified.

4. Matcha

Homemade Dalgona matcha latte. A trendy drink from Korea.

Matcha is a green tea powder that you can find at any Asian grocery store. It’s got tons of antioxidants and can be used to make tons of different drinks and even foods. You can use it to make lattes at home or just make some regular tea with water.

As many teas do, matcha has a long history in Asia. It has tons of health benefits and still has caffeine to help keep you alert during afternoon slumps. 

If you’re lucky enough to visit a tea house, you may even be able to enhance your matcha experience with a traditional tea ceremony! There’s just something extra special about seeing a tea ceremony up close and in person, and the drinks will be extra flavorful and unforgettable.

5. Golden Milk

Golden milk latte made of tumeric and vegan organic almond milk

Turmeric milk, also known as golden milk, is made with ground turmeric and a variety of other spices. It can be slightly bitter, but if you want something sweet, adding ginger, honey, and a touch of vanilla give a lighter, warmer taste. If you ever get the chance to have a golden milk latte, I highly recommend it.

If you’re feeling creative, you can even try making it at home! Plenty of online recipes are out there, but this one is quick, easy, and doesn’t call for any crazy ingredients no reasonable person would have.

Turmeric milk is similar to matcha in its versatility and powder base, though it isn’t advised to drink more than a cup a day. Turmeric in high doses may be hard on your liver. If you decide to drink golden milk regularly, you may want to speak with your doctor about it. 

A cup every once in a while should be fine, though, and there I cannot stress how delicious golden milk lattes are; I really can’t.

6. Dandelion Coffee

Cup of dandelion coffee, dandelions and crocheted flowers on green background.

If you really can’t kick your desire for coffee, you can try out this delicious coffee alternative. Dandelion coffee has a similar taste and appearance to regular coffee but without the jittery feeling, coffee can sometimes leave you with. It has absolutely no caffeine (something even decaf coffee can’t say!) and is easy to mix with hot water, ice water, or even some milk.

The mix is made with dandelion root, chicory root, and usually a touch of cinnamon. Also, like almost everything else on this list, it has some great health benefits and lots of vitamins. Meaning you can at least pretend you’re being healthy as you drown your cup in packets of sugar.

I personally haven’t tried dandelion coffee, but I’ve heard some of my friends rave about it, and there are tons of 5-star reviews for various brands on amazon. (I also don’t like the taste of coffee either, so I won’t be trying this particular coffee alternative).

Hopefully, one of these drinks can help you cut down on your coffee consumption or just help you find another new beverage to enjoy in the mornings. If you’re looking for more drink alternatives, we also have a list of non-boozy things to drink when you can’t drink.

What’s your go-to coffee alternative?

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