Alternatives to coffee: 4 healthy plant-based substitutes


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alternatives to coffee

Quitting —or reducing— coffee intake might be one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Some of us, handle large doses of caffeine very poorly. It often gives us insomnia, or aggravates anxiety and headaches.

This is specially true for Vata and Pitta doshas, as coffee can be too stimulating and rajasic for us.

To help you keep the ritual of preparing, drinking, and enjoying a warm drink that helps you start your day and boosts your energy and alertness levels, but without experiencing the negative effects, here are 4 delicious alternatives to coffee.

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Is Coffee Poison or Medicine?

Well, it depends.

Largely on our body type, as well as on how much and how frequently we drink it.

The way you prepare it is also important. These are some tips to have coffee Ayurvedically and lessen the undesirable impact it can potentially have.

For Kapha body types, coffee can certainly be therapeutic. It can boost the slow metabolic function of heavy bodies, as well as improve their digestion process.

According to some studies, coffee has many benefits, such as reducing the risk of diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of prostate cancer, and lowering elevated cholesterol. With the exception of cancer, these conditions often have a Kaphogenic origin.

Nevertheless, for Vata and Pitta doshas, finding an alternative to coffee might be necessary. These two body types tend to be hyper-metabolic, thus consuming coffee will only exacerbate symptoms of stress, hyperactivity, and agitation (Vata) or anger, irritability, and inflammation (Pitta).

I think it is also important to consider that if we can’t stop drinking coffee, that might be an indication we are overusing it or consuming it with no control, in an addictive manner. If this is the case, going for a substitute, at least sometimes a week, can also be helpful.

Alternatives to Coffee

Here are 4 delicious alternatives to coffee you can try today.

Golden Milk

Golden milk, a caffeine-free drink made with turmeric, and typically, plant-based milk, is a super healthy coffee replacement.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a bright yellow chemical that aids in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and skin disorders.

It can be as creamy or sweet as you like, and you can have it with your breakfast, mid-afternoon, as a quick pick-me-up, or just before going to bed to support your body’s nightly cleansing process.

Prana Golden Milk

Servings 1


  • 1/2 cup Almonds (raw)
  • 1 inch Fresh turmeric root (sliced)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1 Fresh vanilla
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup Filtered water


  • Soak the almonds overnight.
  • In the morning, peel the almonds and blend them with filtered water and fresh vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a pan, add the homemade almond milk, fresh turmeric slices, and the rest of the spices. Mix well and bring to a light boil.
  • Then, simmer for 8–10 minutes on low heat.
  • Strain the spices, and serve in a mug.
  • Drizzle maple syrup on top and sip slowly.
You can replace the fresh turmeric root with 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder.

Date Seed “Coffee” or Dafee

This is an unconventional, but — trust me — delicious, caffeine-free alternative to a cup of joe.

The two stellar ingredients are date seeds and cardamon pods.

Date seeds are rich in oleic acid, dietary fibers, and polyphenols. These compounds have been associated with reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, less cholesterol, and weight loss. They cleanse the liver, control blood pressure, and help protect the body against oxidative stress damage.

Further, cardamom is an excellent digestive, specially beneficial in reducing bloating and gas.

Date seed coffee or Daffee

Servings 1


  • 6 Date seeds
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Maple syrup


  • Toast the date seeds at 200F for 30 minutes.
  • In a coffee grinder, add the seeds and the cardamom pods. Grind them until smooth.
  • Mix the seed and cardamom powder in 1 cup of hot water. Mix well. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Strain it, add the maple syrup, and enjoy warm.

Matcha Tea

Matcha is a special green tea that has a higher level of antioxidants compared with regular green tea.

Although it does have caffeine, about 68 milligrams per 1 tsp, it contains the amino acid L-theanine, which retards the release of caffeine and gradually increases your focus and alertness.

Conversely, coffee activates the central nervous system, causes jitters, and promotes anxiety rather quickly, with effects being visible after just 10 minutes of consuming it.

Most of the benefits of matcha are thought to exist because of its unique combination of the polyphenol EGCG, L-theanine and caffeine content. This combo is associated with improved mood, cognition, and less mental fatigue.

Matcha tea

Servings 1


  • 1/2 tsp Matcha tea powder
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Honey


  • Add the matcha and hot water to a cup. Mix well using a frother.
  • Add the honey.

Ayurvedic Jallab

Jallab is a slightly sweet, Lebanese drink that can perfectly take over coffee.

This exotic, Middle East creation is aromatic and enchanting. I know it is typically served chilled, but I have enjoyed it warm and at room temperature (Ayurvedic digestion principle) and it is just as nice.

Because the ingredients are dates, rose water, and raisins, Vata and Pitta doshas can greatly benefit from drinking it. Dates are cooling and soothing, and an instant energy booster. Rose water is purifying, healing, and anti-inflammatory. Moreover, raisins pacify Vata and Pitta body types and provide gentle nourishment.

Ayurvedic Jallab

Servings 1


  • 2 Dates (pitted)
  • 1 tbsp Golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp Rose water
  • A pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Water


  • Soak the dates and raisins in half cup hot water for an hour until soft. Drain and grind into a smooth paste.
  • Pour a cup of hot water into it and strain the mixture, pressing through to squeeze all flavors.
  • Add the rose water and cardamom to the liquid. Mix well.

For more options to help you give up coffee, check my video: best detox teas for your dosha.

FAQs About Quitting Coffee

Q: Can transitioning away from coffee increase my energy levels naturally?

A: Yes, Ayurveda suggests that while coffee may give you a temporary energy boost, it can also lead to energy fluctuations and imbalances. Transitioning away from coffee and replacing it with herbal teas or warm water with lemon can help stabilize your energy levels and support your body’s natural vitality.

Q: Will I experience withdrawal symptoms, and how can I manage them?

A: It’s common to experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability when reducing coffee intake. Ayurveda recommends gradual reduction to help ease these symptoms. Additionally, incorporating balanced meals, staying hydrated, and practicing stress-reducing techniques like yoga and meditation can help manage withdrawal symptoms.

Q: How can I replace the warm, comforting aspect of coffee in my routine?

A: Warm herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon, or cardamom tea can be excellent coffee alternatives. These not only replicate the comforting warmth but also offer digestive and calming properties, aligning with Ayurvedic principles for balance and health.

Q: Is it possible to stay alert and focused without coffee?

A: Definitely. Ayurvedic practices suggest that a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and mindfulness exercises can maintain alertness and focus. Herbs such as Brahmi and Ashwagandha may also support cognitive functions and help in maintaining mental clarity without the need for stimulants like coffee.

Q: What are Ayurvedic-approved beverages I can consume for an energy boost?

A: Ayurveda encourages beverages that are nourishing and sattvic in nature. Some options include warm water with lemon to kick start digestion in the morning, herbal decoctions with spices that boost metabolism, and fresh fruit juices that provide a natural source of sugars for quick energy.

Q: Can Ayurveda help with managing stress which I often combat with coffee?

A: Yes, in Ayurveda, managing stress is critical for maintaining overall well-being. Incorporating practices such as Abhyanga (self-massage with warm oil), Pranayama (breathing exercises), and Shirodhara (gentle pouring of liquids over the forehead) can significantly reduce stress levels. These practices help soothe the nervous system and can be more effective and holistic for stress management compared to caffeine.

Q: Are there any Ayurvedic dietary recommendations for enhancing energy levels?

A: Ayurvedic tradition suggests eating whole, fresh foods that are appropriate for your dosha type to enhance energy levels. Including a variety of grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits ensures a balanced intake of essential nutrients. Ayurveda also recommends careful attention to eating habits – dining at regular times, eating without distractions, and being mindful of portion sizes to optimize digestion and energy.

Discover your mind-body type here.

Q: What lifestyle changes can support reducing coffee intake according to Ayurveda?

A: Along with dietary changes, Ayurveda promotes a holistic approach to reducing coffee intake by adjusting lifestyle practices. This includes setting a consistent sleep schedule, engaging in regular physical activity tailored to your dosha, and limiting exposure to screens and electronics before bedtime to ensure higher quality rest and naturally sustained energy levels.

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Hi! I'm Monica

My life purpose is to help women achieve physical, mental, and emotional alignment, improve their digestion, balance their hormones, and feel more confident in their own skin.

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