Is there a real alternative to coffee? Five caffeinated drinks in comparison

Whether filter coffee, cappuccino or latte nacchiato: caffeinated hot drinks are indispensable for millions of people in the morning. Not only do they taste good, they are real pick-me-ups. But what if you don’t like or tolerate coffee, but don’t want to do without caffeine entirely?

According to a current coffee report from Tchibo (which was created in collaboration with brand eins and Statista 2020), Germans drink an average of 3.6 cups of coffee a day. This was the result of a representative survey in which more than 5,000 people took part. According to this, the most popular hot drinks include, in addition to the classic filter coffee, other variants such as cappuccino and latte macchiato. What the study does not reveal, however, is the fact that there are also people who do not like coffee or who do not tolerate it so well – but still need a pick-me-up in the morning. There are a variety of tasty coffee alternatives for them that also contain caffeine. You can find out what these are here.

1. Coffee substitute: guarana powder

The plant, which comes from the Amazon basin, has such a high caffeine content that it is mainly used in energy drinks. The over-the-counter powder is also a good alternative to coffee, but should not be consumed pure as it tastes very bitter. Instead, you can use the guarana powder Mix organically grown into a flavored drink (for example a fruit juice) – but be careful: the caffeine it contains does not work immediately, it takes a moment. However, you should not exceed the recommended daily amount of three grams (that’s about three cups of coffee). If you have drunk too much guarana, you could temporarily suffer from sleep problems, palpitations, headaches or diarrhea.

2. Coffee substitute: green tea

Also green tea is a popular coffee alternative: In contrast to the classic stimulant, the caffeine contained in the leaves does not work immediately after consumption, but only gradually – this is due to the amino acids and tannins. But the effect lasts longer than with a coffee. The non-fermented tea is also very digestible, so that it causes fewer stomach problems. However, it is important that you do not pour boiling water over the leaves and that you only let the tea steep for two to three minutes at the most, otherwise it can taste bitter quickly.

3. Coffee substitute: Matcha powder

This coffee alternative is also green tea, but in powder form. Matcha means “ground tea” because it is made from whole leaves, is therefore high-dose and contains healthy and invigorating ingredients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements). The concentrated powder has a slightly tart taste, is also poured with 80 degrees hot (not boiling) water and then with a  bamboo whisk whipped until frothy. Here, too, the amino acids and tannins contained in the stimulant have a gentle effect so that the caffeine kick does not start immediately, but lasts for a longer period of time. Dosage: give a maximum of one to two grams of matcha powder up to 100 milliliters of water.

4. Coffee substitute: black tea

A popular classic and coffee substitute is black tea. The tannins it contains are also responsible for the fact that the caffeine only takes effect much later than coffee, but also lasts longer. Rich in vitamin B and potassium, the hot drink stimulates the circulation and has a calming effect on the stomach. There is now a wide range of different flavors, so there is something for everyone: From English breakfast tea to Assam black tea to Darjeeling or Earl Gray, black tea provides the necessary caffeine replenishment, which is gradually released to your body and for the hello-wake effect.

5. Coffee substitute: Mate tea

Similar to the popular cold drink, mate tea has it a very idiosyncratic, sweet-sour and slightly smoky taste that does not always meet with approval. However, if you like the aroma, this coffee alternative is a good substitute for caffeine: The shrub from South America is not made into a stomach-friendly tea itself, only its leaves. These are first dried, cut into small pieces and then poured with boiling water. As with guarana powder, the caffeine contained in the mate is not released immediately, but takes time – but it also lasts longer. The rule here applies: the longer you let the powder steep, the stronger the stimulant. Incidentally, like any other tea, it can be sweetened with honey or sugar if the taste is too bitter.

Coffee alternative Caffeine content *
Guarana powder 50 mg / 1 g *
Green tea 47 mg / 1 g *
Matcha powder 40 mg / 1 g *
Black tea 32 mg / 1 g *
Mate tea 3 mg / 1 g *

* No fixed guide values. Depending on the variety and manufacturer, the amount of caffeine per gram can vary.

Invigorating coffee alternatives without caffeine

Not only drinks containing caffeine have an invigorating effect on the body: There are also hot drinks that can stimulate the circulation without a stimulus. These include the following three foods:

  1. Nettle tea: The herb known from medicine can also be used as a coffee substitute – even without caffeine. The active ingredients contained in it are not only healthy, but can also counteract exhaustion and tiredness. However, the stimulant does not make itself felt immediately, but rather in the long term. It is still worth a try if you want to avoid caffeine.
  2. Ginger tea: the popular tuberis a real all-rounder. Thanks to its invigorating ingredients, fresh ginger has a positive effect on the immune system. It gets the circulation going, stimulates digestion and counteracts tiredness. When cut into thin slices, it is simply poured with hot water – and tastes warm and cold. With or without a shell, it doesn’t matter.
  3. Wheatgrass Juice: Granted, the taste is not for everyone. For it has wheatgrassa multitude of important nutrients in the luggage – such as vitamins C, E, B1, minerals calcium, iron and magnesium. As a result, the juice provides an energy boost in the morning. However, since it can hit the stomach, you should increase the dosage slowly. Start with one shot and increase the amounts over time.

Leave a Comment