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8 Herbal Coffee Alternatives, Including 2 You Can Grow

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When I mentioned I was writing a post on herbal coffee alternatives, my eldest quipped, “Isn't that called, ‘tea'?”  Not being a coffee drinker, the boy simply doesn't understand the finer aspects of coffee drinking. There's just something about that rich, earthy brew that calls to me on cold winter mornings. I drink plenty of regular and herbal tea, but coffee is an altogether different beverage category.

Herbal coffee alternative lineup

In the interest of being a little kinder to my liver and adrenal glands, I've been experimenting with a variety of herbal coffee substitutes without caffeine. Do any of them taste exactly like America's favorite morning caffeine hit? Nope. Are they reasonably tasty? You bet! Plus if you're so inclined, they are a great way to help ween yourself off of your coffee habit. Just start with mostly coffee and a small amount of herbal coffee, and gradually increase the amount of herbal coffee while decreasing the amount of regular coffee each day until you're switched over to herbal.

How do I brew herbal coffee alternatives? Can I use my regular coffee maker?

It depends on which herbal coffee you choose. Some are ready to go right into your drip coffeemaker or French press, others are cooked on the stove top, some just mix right into hot or cold liquid.

8 Herbal Coffee Alternatives, Including 2 You Can Grow

1. Teeccino Herbal Coffee Alternative

I discovered Teeccino when it was on sale through one of the natural buying clubs I belong to. When I opened the bag, the aroma was wonderful! The flavor is rich and mellow, with many different notes. The hazelnut blend tastes like coffee with hazelnut creamer, except it's made with real hazelnuts. As a caffeine alternative, Teeccino provides a slow release of nutrients including potassium for hearth health. It also contains the prebiotic inulin from chicory root, which improves gut health. Although it includes barley, the brewed “coffee” has been tested and found to be gluten free. It comes in over 20 different flavors, including mocha and hazelnut and barley-free dandelion flavors. Ingredients include carob, barley, chicory root, almonds and dates and figs for sweetness. Can be brewed just like regular coffee.

2. Chicory Root Coffee

Made with simple roasted chicory root, which contains the prebiotic inulin. Chicory root has long been cultivated in Europe as a coffee substitute, and has made it's way around the rest of the world, including the United States. Chicory coffee enjoys a high degree of popularity in some areas such as New Orleans. This is an herbal coffee alternative that you can grow yourself or harvest from the wild. To learn more about identifying wild chicory, visit Weekly Weeder #5 – Chicory. For drying and roasting instructions, check out “How to Harvest Dandelion Root“. Chicory can be processed in a similar manner. Roasted ground chicory can be brewed like regular coffee.

Dandelion as coffee alternative

3. Dandelion Root Coffee

Like chicory, dandelion roots also have been used as a coffee alternative or way to stretch coffee during tough economic times. They can be harvested from your garden or yard (make sure to avoid areas that have been sprayed with chemicals or visited by pooper trouper pups). Roots are sweetest in early spring before the plants leaf out, but can be harvested anytime from fall to early spring. Visit Weekly Weeder #17 – Dandelion for identification information and Harvesting and Drying Dandelion Roots for drying and roasting instructions. May be brewed like regular coffee. I confess, I used the dandelion roots I harvested last fall to make a tincture and purchased roasted dandelion root and roasted chicory root from Frontier. Sometimes it's easier to let someone else do the work. I like blending the two together to create a more well rounded flavor profile. The dandelion is more earthy, and the chicory is more bittersweet, so the two together help balance each other out.

4. Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage

Dandy Blend contains extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. One rounded teaspoon per eight ounces of liquid produces a “rich, full bodied” coffee alternative. It is an instant drink mix, so you just stir it into your hot or cold liquid of choice. You can mix it with water for a basic coffee flavor, or milk for “Dandy Cafe Lattes”. The package gives recipes for several different drink ideas. Because it is made from grain extracts, not the grains themselves, the gluten is left behind during the manufacturing process. The mix is prone to hardening into a lump if left out in the original packaging at room temperature, so if you buy a larger package you probably want to reseal it in an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer.

5. Pero Instant Beverage

Pero is made with barley, malted barley, chicory and rye. Like Dandy Blend, it is an instant mix. It's suggested that Pero be mixed into hot water or warm milk as a caffeine free coffee alternative. Like all the the other herbal coffees listed here, it is non-acidic, so it doesn't cause stomach upset like regular coffee can.

6. Cafix Instant Beverage

Cafix is another “mix and go” option made from roasted barley, chicory, malt, figs and red beet concentrate. Many reviewers on Amazon.com compare the flavor to Postum, and say that it's a toss up between Pero and Cafix as to which they like best.

7. Ayurvedic Roast Organic Caffeine-free Coffee Substitute

Ayurvedic Roast Coffee Substitute ingredients include roasted barley, roasted rye, roasted chicory; plus the Ayurvedic herbs Ashwagandha, Shatavari,  and Brahmi. Can be brewed just like regular coffee. From the manufacturer, more information on each of the herbs in the blend:

  • Ashwagandha: Known as the the “ginseng of India”, this incredible herb promotes strength and stability in the physiology, and is also an anti-oxidant. It builds immunity and strength, and calms the mind and body.
  • Shatavari: Possessing many of the benefits of Ashwagandha, it counterbalances its somewhat heating quality with its cooling effect, and augments their mutually beneficial effects on the body.
  • Brahmi: Commonly used in Ayurveda to lessen mental strain and worry*, it also helps increase intelligence and clarity*. In combination with the other 2 herbs, it has a soothing effect on the mind, while maintaining alertness.

8. Delicious Obsessions Herbal Coffee

My friend, Jessica from Delicious Obsessions, has recently introduced her own DIY Herbal Coffee Guide.

Jessica shares proprietary formulas for her most popular herbal coffee blends (Clean Living and Happy Liver), plus THREE never before released blends! You’ll also get amazing coffee shop style recipes that include: Vanilla Almond Latte, Frozen Peppermint Mocha, Salted Caramel Macchiato, S’mores Latte, Buttered Maple Cream…and MANY more!

If you've been thinking about ditching your coffee habit or just cutting back, you can see that there are a great assortment of herbal options to try. Depending on which one you choose, they may also provide you with prebiotics and herbs that enhance your health.

Have you tried any of these “almost coffees”? What did you think of the flavor?

You may also find useful:

Home Remedies for Acid Reflux

How to Harvest and Dry Dandelion Roots

Herbal coffee alternative lineup

Read Page 2:  “11 Ways Coffee Impacts Your Hormones”

11 Ways Coffee Impacts Hormones, plus 8 Herbal Coffee Alternatives

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47 Comments

  1. I love coffee but I still go between coffe beans and a mixture like the Happy Liver root coffee. I buy my supplies from Rose Mountain herbs and grind it myself. It has a really nice coffee flavor, is not bitter and like the name implies is good for the liver. Try it! You will be pleasantly surprised. P

  2. Wonderful post! I stopped drinking coffee at the end of October of last year and sometimes I still get a craving. These will make perfect substitutions. Many thanks!

  3. hi there!
    Have you tried the “Altrei coffee” from baker creek seeds? It’s the seeds of some special kind of lupine from Italy- they grow it specifically for drinking like coffee. It looks pretty hardy too.

  4. I’m glad to see this post as I’ve been battling my first attack of acid reflux and find I can no longer drink coffee OR most teas. Tried Chamomile and can’t even handle that. But I do miss my coffee. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I am not a coffee drinker (jmo, bleh) however I have children who find the aroma enticing. That being said, a few years ago I went on a search for alternatives and happily came across a post for taking organic roasted chicory root & organic roasted dandelion root and boiling in a pot of water to create your own “coffee”. My kids call it their gingerbread coffee =)
    I haven’t tried it, but a couple times a year I give in and buy the Frontier roots needed for their drink (rather spendy, but worth it). Thank you for offering other options with this post.

    1. I started drinking coffee back when we had the family catering business and were putting in 16 hour days. I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but the bitter winter cold just makes me crave something a little stronger than herbal tea. I think the dandelion and chicory make a good combination, too, just like the kids. 🙂

    1. Yerba Mate does appear to have a more nutrients than coffee, and some caffeine but not as much caffeine as coffee, so it may be a good choice for some. Looks like I have to work my way through test tasting a few more options.

      1. Yerba mate is definitely an acquired taste! Guayaki out on the west coast is a good source. And if routine is part of why you love coffee, try using the traditional gourds and “straws” to drink your mate. I can’t quite remember the terms but it supposedly doesn’t have caffeine but it has another “eine” substance that mimics caffeine without the potentially negative effects. Thanks so much for this thread!

        1. From the Guayaki website: “Brewed from the naturally caffeinated and nourishing leaves of the species of holly native to the South American Atlantic rainforest (Ilex paraguariensis), it contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and abundant polyphenols.”

  6. I have an allergy to chicory. Did you come across any coffee substitutes that did not have chicory?

  7. We also drink chickpea/garbanzo bean coffee. it is completely natural and prepared in the same way as regular coffee. i discovered it in my village and started to sell 🙂 they just roast it as coffee beans and grind..

  8. Delicious Obsessions Etsy Shop isn’t selling their blends anymore. They are selling an ebook guide for DIY coffee substitutes. I have had the Teeccino which is pretty good but I am going to try the Pero brand since I can buy that at my local grocery store. I stopped drinking caffeine a few years ago but am finding that now I am having trouble with too much coffee causing me heartburn so I need to find an alternative because I really love coffee.

    1. Thanks for the note on that. I need to update the post. Jessica stopped selling because of the stupid FDA regs – food is a drug because it may improve your health. Heck – if you’re eating the right food, all of it should improve your health! I really liked the convenience of the premade blends.

  9. One coffee in the morning is fine, but later in the day not so much, but I do crave it! Nice to have alternatives. I am going to try roasting various grains and seeds like thistle and see what I come up with, since believe it or not, dandelion doesn’t grow around here! (S Fl)

  10. I love coffee, very good quality coffee to be more precise (who does NOT? 🙂

    To be honest the “for” and “against” coffee voices out there are not so clear. BUT one thing seems clear to me (at least 🙂 drinking one cup a day wont kill you.

    For the rest of the time I drink either herbal teas, or coffee alternatives. The coffee alternatives all claim they taste like coffee – unfortunately majority don’t resemble it even. Some are still nice to drink though lol

    My favorite coffee like beverage is actually made from palm date seeds (http://www.dateseedcoffee.com) – it tastes like mild coffee but still nice and rich in flavors.

    My suggestion unless you can not drink coffee at all – keep to one or two cups (no later than 16:00 for the last cup) for the rest of the day enjoy the HUGE variety of teas out there – you are bound to find something you like 🙂

  11. Has anyone tried Capomo? Made from the Maya nut. 100% caffeine and gluten free. No barley, or other grains. It’s expensive (imo) but it sounds tasty. I’m trying to find a gluten-free, grain-free coffee alternative that actually tastes like coffee. 🙂

    1. I’m looking for a gluten free alternative, as well. I loved Postum and Roma, but all those grain beverages are out, now, since I was forced to give up gluten, and contrary to some reports, Teecino and Dandy Blend are *NOT* gluten free. Molecules matter.

      I’ll look for the Altrei and Capomo. I sure would like to find something earthy, roasty and full-bodied, without caffeine or gluten.

      Chicory is so sour it curdles every coconut milk creamer I try.

        1. Dandy Blend, made from roasted water derived extracts of all ingredients, is actually gluten free because gluten and gliadin are both totally insoluble in water, so don’t pass to the beverage. Go to http://www.dandyblend.com. click on downloads, and print out the lab test results from Elisa Tech Labs, on of the pre-eminent gluten testing labs in the US. Recent questions about the possibility of partially-hydrated gluten passing through was tested by University of Guelph, and the conclusion was that there are no chemical processes involved that could fractionate the gluten and make it water soluble, so, in 2016 with those data in hand, Health Canada approved it as gluten free. There may be other properties that make Dandy Blend troublesome for people, but it is NOT gluten. The Dandy Blend company offers free samples to those who want to try it before buying to see if they will have problems, so contact them through their website above.

    2. I have been drinking Capomo in conjunction with regular coffee for a couple months. I am slowly decreasing the coffee to wean off it. Capomo tasted just like coffee but it is pricey. It is supposed to have a natural energy boost but does not give a “kick” that I needed to start every morning. I am still searching for a GF substitute that has the same effects of coffee (without aggravating my acid reflux) but not so expensive as the Capomo.

    3. Yes, I think Capomo is the best of all options I’ve tried (Dandy blend, Teecino, Postum, Caffix, Pero! I would like to try the Ayurvedic one though. So far Capomo is my favorite – most like coffee, but pricey.

  12. I tried Teeccino. I loved it for the first few days. But then I think all the inulin caught up with me… not a happy tummy! Has anyone else had that effect that you’ve heard? Did I drink too much of it?

    1. Interesting. I haven’t had a problem with it, but I usually only drink a cup or two per day. Do you take probiotics? Over time your system should adjust to an increased prebiotic load, but it’s likely best to cut down consumption and increase slowly.

  13. I am also looking for an alternative to coffee. Many moons ago I enjoyed a Pioneer brand – chicory, barley & figs. I’ve recently found out that I am allergic to barley. I’ve made note of Frontier dandelion, Altrei & Capomo. ty for the tips..

  14. I am looking for a caffeine coffee without the coffee. I love coffee but it doesn’t love me. I have become allergic to it over time but still need my morning caffeine fix and a hot coffee type drink. I love tea but tea isn’t coffee especially in the morning. I see most of the products on the thread are caffeine free. Any suggestions?

    1. These are herbal coffee alternatives, so yes, they are caffeine free. When you say coffee doesn’t love you, what do you mean? Acid reflux, or something else? If you still want coffee flavor with less acidity, you might try mixing half herbal coffee and half actual coffee. My husband has hated coffee all of his life, but he likes caffeine.

      When he’s home on the weekends, I make half hazelnut Teeccino and half organic breakfast blend coffee (I like Equal Exchange Organic Coffee, Breakfast Blend. The finish on it is smoother and less acidic than many coffees I have tried.) I finish the coffee with a scoop of collagen peptides, a dose of heavy cream, and a dab of honey in each cup. He still needs to sip it, not slug it down, but the guy who hates coffee will drink this option.

  15. I recently came down with IBS-d, so chicory, caffeine, and gluten are out. Le sigh. That Ayurvedic one sounds nice, though it does contain rye. Hoping the gluten’s in a small enough amount that it won’t trigger my stupid bowels. Starting a teaching job soon and won’t have time to spend half the morning in the bathroom! But I gotta have my morning stimulating beverage! Haha what a dilemma, eh.

  16. I like Runa tea as a coffee alternative. It doesn’t taste at all like coffee, but it is made from the leaf of a South American tree that is stimulating, but not as harsh as coffee. It comes in a couple of flavors (peppermint is one, cinnamon/lemongrass is my favorite).

  17. I just discovered Celestial Seasons Roastaroma tea. Wonderful herbal tea coffee substitute, caffeine free

  18. I’m looking to make recipes that taste like coffee without any actual coffee and that are 100% caffein free. Which of these alternatives do you recommend may work best in cakes and coconut ice cream? Thx.

    1. For flavoring, I’d opt for the Dandy Blend, Pero or Cafix instant beverages. Which one would work best for you depends on your taste preferences. All are caffeine free.

  19. Thanks for this article. I really need to cut down on coffee – not just for my health but coffee is getting more expensive and should be drinking less anyway. I will try some of these

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