Are There *Any* Good Coffee Replacements Out There?

December 20, 2011 · 51 comments

Coffee elicits passionate responses in people like few other topics.  If you’ve given it up, often due to health reasons (as you should if you have any type of hormonal issues), then you can probably list all the reasons coffee isn’t good for us, like Ann Marie did in her post from a while back, 30 reasons to quit coffee.  If you have no health issues, enjoy the taste and aroma, and plan to continue your cup-a-day habit, oh… like myself perhaps, then instead you probably appreciate articles like Kristen’s, which covers the health benefits of coffee and how coffee is a traditional beverage, after all.  (Just for the record, I’m not talking about those nasty $4 cups of coffee loaded with sugar, or fake sugar, and fake creamers, those are baaaaad.)

No matter where you’re at with all of this, you may want to think about coffee replacements if you’re ready to give it up, OR if you plan to continue drinking coffee, there will always be times when you’d like to enjoy an alternate hot beverage.

The following is a reader question I received a while back about coffee replacements…

Hi Kelly –

I am getting ready to tackle the Eat Fat Lose Fat diet, and am slowly integrating changes to my diet.  However, I remember reading from you that Sally Fallon recommended a herbal replacement for drinking coffee.  I am not a coffee drinker, but more of a tea drinker, tea with caffeine, black English or Irish Breakfast, my favorite!  I would like to cut out caffeine, to control the adrenal cycles.  Seems to me the replacement herbal drink is something you can drink hot and it also is an energy booster too.  When I went to Whole Foods the other day, the only suggestions they had for herbal replacement for coffee had caffeine!

I remembered you joking about your coffee and saying, “don’t tell Sally Fallon”.  Can you tell me what the coffee replacement she recommends is?

Thank you,

Paula in Omaha, NE

Coffee Replacements:

  • The short answer as to what Sally Fallon once recommended I drink instead of coffee is, “Dandy Blend“, and it happens to be my favorite coffee replacement because it really does somewhat resemble coffee in flavor and aroma.  I mostly drink this on those afternoons when I feel like a hot beverage, but I’ve already had coffee that morning.  If I drink it right after a cup of coffee, then it doesn’t taste good to me, but if I drink it later, on its own, then I love it.  And it’s actually good for you, too.
  • I also love a good hot (or cold) cup of tea.  (Find some delicious tea on my resources page.)
  • Teeccinohas been recommended by a lot of people as another good replacement, and some have gone totally off coffee with it, but this one didn’t do it for me.
  • A friend suggested I try Raja’s Cup (“authentic ayurvedic herbal formula”), and like the Dandy Blend, it has anti-oxidents, but I like the taste of Dandy Blend much better.  (I think she got it at the health food store.)
  • At the Weston Price conference in Dallas last month, they served Chicory root “coffee”, and I didn’t care for it at all; however, it may have just been too strong.  If I’d had hot water I’d have tried toning it down a bit and then it may have been fine.
  • Stanley reminded me in the comments that homemade bone broth is a super delicious and nutritious hot beverage!

What replacements do you like or dislike?  Let us know in the comments!

Did you read my post from a while back about all the nasty plastic or styrofoam ‘chemical cups’ that many drink coffee in every day, not to mention the little plastic k-cups for those Keurig coffee makers: A cup of coffee without the plastic toxins please!

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    { 51 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Stacy December 20, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I like Inka which is a Polish roasted grain instant beverage. My guess is that it would be similar to Postum (though I’ve never actually tasted Postum!). I think you can buy it off the internet, or if you happen to live in an area with a lot of Slavic immigrants, you might be able to find it at local specialty stores. I take mine with a little honey and cream and it definitely fills a coffee type taste and experience without the caffeine. (I’m not anti coffee and enjoy coffee with honey and cream a few times a week, but Inka is for days when I don’t want caffeine or when I’ve already had my one cup for the day and want another hot beverage).


    2 Irene December 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

    When I went to Poland to visit family, everyone drank Inka. I had no idea it wasn’t coffee! How funny. I will have to pick some up at the Polish deli.


    3 Magda December 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Ooh, I loved Inka as a kid! I grew up in Poland and my great-grandmother drank it from steel cups (I miss those….). I will need to order me some.


    4 Magda December 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Oops, now I know why I no longer drink it: gluten. It’s made with rye and barley which have gluten. I have a gluten intolerance so I gave Inka up but I’m fine with tiny amounts of gluten so I may try it again. I love Dandy Blend as well and I’m going to try roasted dandelion root, too (you can get it at Mountain Rose Herbs).


    5 Laura N. December 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I used to live in Poland, and I also loved Inka!!! Wish I could get it again.


    6 Irene January 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I just noticed Inka in our local health food store – maybe yours would order some for you if they don’t carry it.


    7 PaleoMallin December 21, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Thank you for the suggestion. We have more and more Polish stuff in stores around where I live (because of all the polish folks working here) so I’ll look out for that. I love the polish stuff popping up because you can get some lovely food for good prices, guess it’s just a matter of time before everyone else cottons on although I’m sure some people would prefer to be able to read what’s on the front of the label (the ingredients are always in a choice of languages but not everything else is).


    8 ValerieH December 20, 2011 at 12:42 am

    I like black tea!
    Recently I went back to coffee after having read these posts:

    His argument is that the negative effects you experience with coffee are not from coffee but from mycotoxins from badly processed coffee. I live in Chicago burbs. I began searching for coffee roasters. I found a wholesale coffee roaster in my area that told me of retail companies where I could buy the beans that fit the qualifications: central american, single bean (no blend), high altitude, wet process. I bought the beans and the grinder and went nuts with the grassfed butter. I have not lost weight (yet) but I am experiencing amazing reduction in inflammation. I can wear rings that were too tight 25 lbs ago. Wulzen factor, right?

    This all is awesome but I really prefer black tea. After a BEST treatment, it was suggested that my body really prefers tea. So I am drinking bulletproof tea. MMMMMMM!!!!!


    9 KitchenKop January 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    “His argument is that the negative effects you experience with coffee are not from coffee but from mycotoxins from badly processed coffee.”

    I’ve heard this, too, and it makes sense, doesn’t it?


    10 Betsy December 20, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I have a sweatshirt that says that – except it says Chocolate, not Coffee! :)

    I’m afraid I haven’t given up coffee, but I do drink decaf about 99% of the time. I like Teeccino, but to me it’s another hot drink, not a coffee substitute.

    Another favorite hot drink is hot chocolate made with coconut milk. I make a mix with a can of coconut milk, 4-6 T raw cocoa, a spash of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend it up, put it in a pint jar and store in the fridge. When the urge hits, put a few spoonfuls in a mug and add hot water and sweetener of choice. Easy peasy.


    11 Lori @ Laurel of Leaves December 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Haha–fun shirt! And your hot chocolate with coconut milk sounds delicious!
    I used to be like you and drink decaf coffee if I drank it at all, but then I learned that the process of decaffeinating coffee leaves it far more acidic and can also leave traces of chemicals in your coffee. *sigh*


    12 Soli @ I Believe In Butter December 20, 2011 at 6:52 am

    When I decided to go off coffee last year it took a little searching to find something to substitute. I’m one of those people who likes the taste but isn’t too impressed by caffeine, and what I want is a robust hot drink in the morning. Ended up finding rooibos chai and that hits the spot. I do indeed have a mug of it next to me right now.


    13 Julie December 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Where do you find rooibus chai?


    14 Magda December 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Here is a recipe you can make yourself (awesome blog BTW):


    15 Sandy December 20, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I drink one cup of decaf most mornings and other times I enjoy rooibos chai and an instant beverage called Cafix that I get at the health food stores.


    16 Wendy (The Local Cook) December 20, 2011 at 7:15 am

    I have been LOVING herbal teas lately.


    17 Adrienne @ Whole New Mom December 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Hi Kelly! I don’t have it there yet, but I am going to be posting about the coffee substitute that I drink every morning….soon :-). It also has some really great health boosting benefits.

    Life’s been nuts recently (nothing to do w/ Christmas) but I hope to get to it real soon !


    18 Grace December 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I am drawing the line at coffee. My doctor once suggested I give it up. I suggested that perhaps I should run him down with my car.

    As I explained to him, I was a teen in the late 70s and early 80s. I’ve given up drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, asymmetrical hair, easy-quick-crappy food, etc. I’m keeping coffee. (Grace snarls and defiantly pours her second cup of the day.)


    19 ValerieH December 20, 2011 at 8:16 am

    This cracked me up!


    20 KitchenKop December 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Grace, thanks for making me spit out my coffee from laughing so hard. :)


    21 Susan W December 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Atta girl, Grace! My one cup of coffee a day (like one glass of wine a day) is not going to kill me. Moderation in all things! I drink tea, caffeinated or herbal, the rest of the day anyhowl!


    22 jpatti August 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You GO, girl!


    23 ValerieH December 20, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Here’s another awesome post about coffee from Dave Asprey


    24 Stanley Fishman December 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

    This will sound silly, but it works. I substitute hot, homemade bone broth for coffee. We always have plenty of homemade broth in the refrigerator, made from real ingredients and simmered slowly for at least twelve hours.

    A hot mug of this nutrient dense liquid is much more renewing and satisfying than coffee ever was. It is best when served hot and sipped slowly, an ancient human tradition. And it is just about the best thing you can possibly consume.


    25 KitchenKop December 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Stan, this is a great one, and they actually have bone broth sitting out at the Weston Price conferences, too, so I should’ve remembered to include it. I think I’ll go add this info to the post. Sometimes this really does just hit the spot.


    26 Diana B December 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Stanley, I had a friend recommend doing this just yesterday! Not necessarily to replace coffee ~ but she told me she starts her day off with a cup of hot bone broth. It sounded like a good idea, if I can keep that much bone broth on hand!!

    I went about 7-8 months with only have coffee once a week, went on vacation and had coffee every day, and now I’m back up to 2 cups a day! Ack! I think I need to try going off it again! :)


    27 JCF December 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I drink coffee very occasionally, though most days I drink tea. I am trying to finally kick the caffeine habit for good and get rid of caffeinated tea–baby steps, right? I like Teeccino, but only with lots of cream and raw honey, which surprised me, because I like my coffee black, or maybe with a tiny bit of cream.


    28 Lora December 20, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Ditto on sipping hot bone broth. It’s wonderfully satisfying any time of day.


    29 Elle December 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve never heard of Dandy Blend but I’m curious. I’m trying to get myself off coffee at this time and failing miserably.


    30 BeccaOH December 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I first tried Dandy Blend when I went to a class on wild foraging held by the maker of the blend. It is really good. I use it mainly for quick iced coffee.


    31 Ki December 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I drink herbal teas now, with a spoonful of coconut oil in it. I drink that probably four or five times a day, and it’s nice because the coconut oil gives it enough sweetness not to have to add a sweetener, which it doesn’t do for coffee. Coffee is too bitter to not sweeten.


    32 Rachael December 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    AH… I agree with cheap coffee… good, local, micro-roasted coffee is smooth and wonderfully delicious without anything added to it. It’s just like the difference between cheap wine and a high quality wine. Cheap wine has to be sweetened.


    33 Tiffany Workman December 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    My husband enjoys “Pero” brand coffee replacement. We get it at our neighborhood store, The Health Hutt. I am thinking that it is probably sold at the Harvest Health stores in the area too.


    34 Lauren December 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I gave up coffee several months ago in the interest of my worn out adrenals…but I miss it so. I recently tried the turmeric tea recipe that Mark’s Daily Apple had a few weeks ago and I found it satisfying in the same way that coffee is–a little bitter, rich, warm. It’s not the same as coffee but it’s nice. All you do is gently heat coconut milk or dairy milk ( I actually like half of each), a little turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, a tiny bit of cayenne, and a touch of maple syrup or honey. When I am using just dairy milk, I also add a generous splash of cream.
    Sorry I didn’t link to MDA…it’s too much trouble to hyperlink ’cause I am writing on my iPad. If you go there and search for turmeric tea, you will find it.


    35 Tracey @ ControlTheChaos December 21, 2011 at 6:23 am

    So, I live in the Netherlands, and here coffee is more important than water. This is a very healthy country over all, so I feel like we can all get worked up about something, but there will be another culture group that demonstrates the flaw in the logic: Japanese eat white rice with every meal, the Dutch drink coffee 4-6x per day.
    That said, I just heard about roasted cocoa. It is NOT hot chocolate; rather, it is simply roasted and brewed cocoa beans…you make it just like coffee. We know cocoa has antioxidant health benefits, so it sounds like it might be an alternative for those who don’t like tea.


    36 Ki December 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    That’s the issue though. If you are healthy, some coffee isn’t going to hurt. But if you have worn out adrenals, a compromised gut lining, or damaged gut flora, and are trying to GET to the point of health, then coffee will hold you back. Trust me, I want to go back to my cappuccinos very much, and they are not at all what caused my adrenal burnout, but they won’t help me heal either. It’s just a matter of what your body can tolerate. Some people eat gluten and are just fine, but I have a compromised immune system and can’t. Perhaps I can heal enough to go back to it, perhaps the damage is too great. But right now I can’t eat it.


    37 Lisa December 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Why is drinking organic decaf so bad for you? After a couple cups of coffee in the am, I drink hot water with lemon much of the afternoon. Something about MN winters makes me love holding a hot mug of something!


    38 BeccaOH December 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

    When I was drinking Kombucha every morning I really didn’t crave or need coffee. I need to get brewing again and get back on Kombucha, but I do prefer a warm drink on a cold morning.


    39 Linda December 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    thanks for the info Kelly, very timely for me as I am “backing” into GAPS and maybe this will be tasty without my cream. That will be a hard thing to give up. I wonder what happens if you add homemade yogurt to a warmed drink? I’ll let you know.


    40 Armi Legge December 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Great article and thanks for the link!

    If people are interested in some of th benefit of coffee, I urge them to read this:
    “Coffee: 5 Reasons You Can Perform Better & 10 Ways to Live Longer”


    41 cheryl December 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    My husband and I had switched to swiss water filter decaf, since he is diabetic and after reading “The Schwarzbein Principle” (recommended on Weston A. Price website related to diabetes) she said if you can’t give up coffee, drink the above. It is 99% caffiene free and the water process does not involve chemicals. Then I tried the French Chicory at the Wise Traditions Myth Busters conference in Nov. 2011. At first Ithought – yuk! Then I added hot water and decided it was perked just too strong for me without some adjusting. Once home I looked up the source Orleans Coffee Exchange @ I ordered american and french chicory. At home my husband and I found the difference between the 2. The american chicory is smooth and a wonderful substitute. The French chicory is peppery and is ok with added cream and rapadura. We mix half american and half french frequently for a pleasant brew. It only takes 2 small coffee scoops for 4 cups of water and the cost is about $5.95 a pound – so we are savings $8-9/pound from our swiss water filtered decaf! Chicory also has many health benefits. Look it up. So I found it is much better when you can brew it to your own liking and chicory actually has many health benefits! Yeah! Also my husband has tried everything before for different reasons trying to substitute coffee – this is the best yet in his opinion!


    42 KitchenKop December 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for telling us this, I might just try it now… :)


    43 cheryl January 30, 2012 at 7:41 am

    My husband did the measuring to give you precise information.

    My husband,Nathan, spent some time making precise measurements. We use 4 teaspoons of chicory (American or French) to 20 oz. of water in a drip coffee maker (because it comes drip grind).

    We often mix 2 t. american and 2t. french for 20 oz.


    44 Denise January 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Which flavour Teeccino did you try? I love the stuff? Amaretto, vanilla nut, and hazelnut are my favourite. Coffee was causing my GERD and I am so thankful for this delicious replacement. Vitacost has a great price and since I use a French press, it costs me less than the organic coffee did.


    45 KitchenKop January 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    It’s been a while so I don’t remember. It’s good you found something you love!



    46 Lisa January 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Have you ever heard of Organo Gold coffee with ganoderma extract? I was just approached with this and wondered if you heard of it & what you thought.


    47 KitchenKop January 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Nope, never heard of that one.



    48 Jacqueline August 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I looked at this coffee that also has decaf. The coffee is Colombian Gourmet and also has increased health benefits by including what is called the Coffee Berry. I’ve been drinking it and have had long lasting energy instead of the usual crap sugar crash, and increased mental focus due to the antioxidants (15,000 ORAC Units).


    49 Helena August 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I’ve found an amazing Yerba Mate and chocolate tea that really satisfies my coffee cravings. In fact, it actually tastes even better to me! And that’s saying a lot, coming from someone who’s been addicted since age 12. It’s from the Republic of Tea, called Double Dark Chocolate Mate… mmm, and it can be found both on Amazon and in Whole Foods. It tastes amazingly rich and has a little caffeine (although waaay less than coffee) to perk you up in the morning. When I really want a treat I add a little milk, a little maple syrup, and a little more cocoa powder. Aah… it reminds me of Christmas morning. But, if you’re not feeling the extra cocoa, other additions like vanilla or mint extract are great with it too!


    50 Marie October 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I know this is an older article, but I just wanted to mention that you can make your own herbal coffee out of chicory root, dandelion root, and cocoa powder, it tastes as good as Teecino and doesn’t have the nasty gluten in it, plus it’s cheaper. Especially if you harvest and dry your own roots, I haven’t gotten that far yet, need to go dig up some :)


    51 Anita August 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Chicory coffee is incredible. I’m telling you, give it a chance. To whoever is desperately seeking that coffee replacement. I got this idea from my italian relatives from Italy, not all italians drink coffee. This goes back during the war, when many did not have the means to afford coffee, chicory was the alternative way in Italy. They prepared it just like coffee, with cream or whole milk. And for the children, with honey. When I first made chicory coffee, I made it very strong, I do actually enjoy the flavor very much when it’s strong. But if you don’t, you can change this. The flavor of strong chicory reminds me of coffee, but with deep molasses undertones to it, and it’s nice and thick. You can also make it very weak, the weaker you make it, the less of a molasses undertone you will get. Make it weak enough til it suits your taste. I weakened it by a small notch each day until I finally got the taste I was looking for. You can play around with your recipe. It reminds me of coffee a lot. It’s the closest I can get to my long lost love. Dandy blend, Teecino and all those others never came close to coffee for me, it was mere disappointment. But with my chicory, the appearance, color, aroma comes very close, and even gets those golden bubbles just like coffee when made fresh in your traditional stainless steel stovetop coffeepot. Give it a chance, try it like this for the first time around…

    In your cup of hot chicory…
    add a splash of cream
    1/4 tsp fresh ground vanilla bean powder (love it, their’s no alcohol in it)
    pinch of stevia

    And let me tell you, your chicory latté will meet to your satisfaction!!!

    P.S: Chicory also has health benefits, makes a great natural prebiotic drink and supposedley very good for the liver.


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