Alternatives to coffee: 4 healthy plant-based substitutes

by Monica Gisella
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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.

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 alternatives to coffee.

Alternatives to coffee
Coffee can stimulate the digestive fire and act as a digestive motivator.

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 heat (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, but in an addictive manner. If this is the case, going for a substitute, at least sometimes, can also be helpful.

Alternatives to coffee

Here are 4 delicious alternatives to coffee you can try.

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 inch Fresh turmeric root (sliced)
  • 1 cup Plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup (optional)
  • A pinch of black pepper


  • In a pan, add the milk, turmeric slices, and black pepper.
  • Simmer for 8–10 minutes.
  • Serve and drizzle the maple syrup on top.
You can replace the fresh turmeric root for 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.

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