By Corina Tan
Are you looking to spice up your usual morning routine? Or maybe you are tired of caffeine jitters and are looking to avoid the dreaded afternoon crash. Whatever your reasons may be, ditching your coffee habit could be difficult to imagine as you regularly rely on it to wake you up, give you that morning buzz and obtain the mental clarity that comes from a tasty cup of joe.
Well, the good news is there are alternatives for everyone, including die-hard java fans and those who cannot live without the taste of traditional coffee. The best part is that many of these alternatives have health benefits besides waking you up, so you will be getting what you need without any of the usual side effects of coffee.
If you really need that morning pick me up and wonder how you’re ever going to give up coffee, matcha is a great alternative that contains more caffeine than traditional green tea but less than regular coffee. Matcha is also more nutrient dense with twice the amount of antioxidants. It also contains something called I-theanine that slows down the process of caffeine absorption. This means you’re less likely to experience caffeine crashes in the middle of the day. Other than whisking matcha powder in hot liquid, it can also be used in smoothies, lattes, baking, cooking and skincare.
If you need a serious energy boost, dandelion coffee is the perfect caffeine-free solution that is quick and easy to fix. It has a mildly sweet, rich flavour and is made with dandelion root. Blended with other ingredients like barley rye, beets and chicory root, it is rich in probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It also tastes very similar to regular, full-bodied coffee, but without the acidity and bitterness.
This Italian coffee substitute is caffeine-free and made from roasted ground barley grains. Barley doesn’t taste exactly like traditional espresso but has a slight earthy, bitter taste with less body and richness. Its rich potassium content can restore electrolytes, and has other nutrients like vitamin B, E, phosphorus and magnesium. Its most popular method of preparation is via an espresso machine, but can also be made using a traditional coffee pot.
Chai is the Hindi word for tea, while masala means spice. Masala chai is a strongly flavoured, full-bodied black tea that’s usually accompanied with hot milk. Much of its taste comes from cardamom, ginger, cloves, and other spices. Like other black teas, its caffeine content is pretty strong, but is still less than a cup of regular coffee. Besides providing a morning buzz, this tea also improves heart health, lowers blood sugar levels, improves digestion, minimises nausea and aids in weight loss.
This trendy creamy golden-hued turmeric latte has complex spiced, gingery flavours that dates back thousands of years. Typically used in Ayurvedic medicine, its star ingredient curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that helps fight cancer, ease arthritis, combats depression and boost heart health. Fans love it with heated milk or plant-based milk like almond milk, cashew milk and even a dash of honey.