Janice K. Lee
Healthy & Tasty Coffee Alternatives
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
How I overcame my caffeine addiction, and how you can too.
As a college student and cafe lover, coffee is synonymous with my identity but I never thought I would get addicted to my morning joe. So when I caught myself going through two-three cups a day (and going through the horrible jitters, thus drinking more coffee to somehow remedy that), I knew I had to find a healthy alternative. For the most part, I turned to the healthy, energy boosting matcha.
My iced matcha lattes quickly became my favorite morning drink, but deep inside I knew it was only a distraction. There was something about coffee that matcha couldn't replace. As much as I loved the whisking process and the earthy notes of green tea- I missed the brewing process of a french press, the patience of overnight cold brew, and the bold flavor of Dalgona. (Disclaimer: I didn't turn to decaf coffee since it was a last resort)
After weeks of research, trial, and error, here are my two tried-and-true solutions:
#1: Dandy Blend
Dandy Blend is coffee with a twist: it's made from Dandelion root.
Here's what I love about Dandy Blend:
It tastes just like coffee. I was skeptical at first when I read great reviews about how it tasted like coffee. I was going to be mad if this was just a marketing scheme. After opening it and noticing its interesting texture (the blend is very fine and small unlike traditionally chunky instant coffee pellets), I realized that it did in fact smell like coffee! And I remained satisfied to the end since it tasted like coffee just as much.
Energy. For a recipe with no caffeine, Dandy Blend provides as much energy as matcha and doesn't give you the jitters like coffee! It's the perfect "blend" of coffee's punchy taste and matcha's stable energy. The company claims the energy sources from the nutrients and not stimulants like caffeine.
Hot or Cold? Both. I use dandy blend for iced coffee in the morning, and cappuccino at night. (video coming soon!)
Dandy prices. For the 3.5 Oz Bag (50 servings, starter size), the price point is ~$10 USD. Hey, not bad.
The one downside:
The process. Hardly a con, but if you're a sucker for grinding, soaking, cold brew-ing your coffee beans, this isn't for you. This is an instant blend, meaning it will dissolve in water. But if you're in love with the brewing process, you're going to love my next recommendation.
Innovation and creativity at its finest.
I'm a little jealous I wasn't the one to think of such an idea first, considering how Teeccino's product, name, and purpose is all a little too perfect. Here's what I love about it:
It's literally coffee. But without the caffeine. The ingredients? According to its website: "chicory, carob, dandelion or barley plus fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew like coffee or steep like tea." Unlike Dandy Blend, Teeccino's bags are concoctions ready to be brewed and filtered as if they're real coffee beans. They have a variety of steeping methods- some of their products come in tea bags as well!
Variety of flavors. Chocolate Mint Chicory, Hazelnut Chicory, Chocolate Raspberry are just some of the interesting combinations other than its basic flavors. You can also get their variety pack if you're in the mood to explore and experiment.
Energy. Their "coffee" products contain zero caffeine and most of its energy comes from the nutrients from its ingredients.
Price. For your average 25 servings, most of the packs are ~$10 USD each.
You can only have it hot (since it's not instant), otherwise you can put it in the fridge overnight for a refreshing morning drink.
The Bottom Line
Whether you're feeling adventurous or desperate to stop drinking your usual Nescafe blend, give these a try. I've been drinking both of these for a month now and I can proudly admit that I don't depend on caffeine to get me moving everyday. Both Dandy Blend and Teeccino have their own health benefits and perks that don't always come with regular coffee, and you can bid farewell to the jitters without breaking the bank.
I always like to say I love coffee because of the process. So have fun tasting, making, and experimenting with your new morning routine. Happy drinking!