The best coffee substitutes

If you are one of those people who say, “I’m not a person until I’ve had a coffee”, and you don’t know what to take as a substitute for coffee in the morning… this article is for you.

In this post, we will talk about the best alternative drinks to coffee, especially for those specific moments where the need for coffee goes beyond the simple satiety of thirsts, such as breakfast or afternoon coffee.

What are the best substitutes for coffee? Whether you are looking for an alternative to caffeine or the opposite (a good dose of caffeine, but no chance to drink coffee), pay attention because we will tell you all about them below. And if you’re looking for a coffee substitute that doesn’t stain your teeth so much, you’ll find it on these pages as well. It is the summary of our proposals:

The best coffee substitutes on the market

And now, let’s get to know these alternatives to the coffee a little better:

Coffee substitutes with caffeine

There are two essential reasons to look for a drink to replace coffee in order to wake up full of energy. Because we don’t have coffee on hand or because we can’t drink caffeine for health reasons.

In this first section, we will look at some of the products that can replace and complement coffee with caffeine. If you need your usual dose of caffeine in the morning or some other type of stimulant, take note of these:


Among the best substitute products for coffee at breakfast, we can undoubtedly find tea in its various varieties and origins. This infusion is coffee’s first cousin, and in fact, in many countries, it is the drink par excellence.

Of course, tea also has caffeine (well, or theine, which is the same molecule, but with a different name as it is found in another plant), but that is: in much less quantity than coffee.

Cola drinks

Cola drinks are a good alternative to coffee, for example, when driving, but we don’t like them very much because of their high sugar and artificial ingredients content. If you have to drink them, at least make sure they are in the “zero” (sugar-free) version.


Yerba mate is a very typical infusion from Argentina and other Latin American countries. It also contains caffeine (not as much as coffee), so it acts as an energizer to the same extent and is an excellent substitute for natural coffee.

The yerba mate infusion is made in a similar way to tea, but with a special mate kit. Yerba can easily be found in large stores or on Amazon:

Coffee substitutes for a boost

Whether you need caffeine or not, there is a wide range of coffee substitutes. Here is a list of some of the best-known coffee substitutes:


Chicory is the root of a plant (of the same name) and owes its popularity to the fact that it tastes similar to coffee, although without caffeine. It is why many consumers, especially within the vegan community, take it as a natural substitute for coffee in the morning.

Chicory coffee is also widely consumed. It is simply a matter of mixing our usual ground coffee with a little chicory root, roasted and ground, and then preparing a cup of coffee in the traditional way.

It is not difficult to find already ground chicory in packages of 500 or 1000 grams, even ready-made soluble chicory drinks, simply by adding hot water.

Barley coffee

Barley as a substitute for coffee is one of the products that resembles it most, not in taste, but in the way it is treated.

Barley coffee is a very popular drink in Italy as a substitute for coffee to wake up in the morning. There it is called D’orzo coffee. As we say, it does not taste the same as coffee, nor does it have caffeine, but it is consumed so much because it is prepared in practically the same way. It can even be made in a regular Moka pot, but there are also other specific models adapted to infuse this cereal, such as the Bialetti Orzo Express:

Malt coffee

We have already talked at length about malt coffee on our website. It is a cereal that is prepared in a very similar way to the normal coffee and also to the barley coffee explained in the previous section. It is not in vain that malt is a derivative of barley. All the information about this preparation can be found here:

What Is Malt Coffee?

Cocoa (if pure, better)

In terms of energy and stimulation, cocoa is one of the best natural substitutes for coffee. The disadvantage of cocoa is that it is usually prepared with a lot of sugars and artificial components, so look for the purer, the better. It’s a bit bitter, but your health will appreciate it.

Nowadays, there are excellent varieties of cocoa in tablet (solid) form as well as insoluble powder. But remember, the purer the cocoa, the better.

Ginseng in capsules

Ginseng is a powerful natural stimulant and is usually sold in the form of pills or tablets. It is more popular in Asian culture than in our country, but if you can’t drink coffee, it is an alternative to consider.

There are also ginseng coffee pods for Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines, but these do not work as a substitute because they contain coffee.

Soluble cereal drinks

Apart from the traditional Caro Landkaffee, there are various soluble cereal-based preparations on the market to get you off to a flying start without the need for caffeine. It is why these so-called cereal coffees are so popular with older people.

Both the taste and the texture are similar to traditional coffee with milk, and in fact, they can also be made with milk instead of hot water.

What are coffee substitute cereals?

Alternatives to coffee are one thing, but cereals are another. It is something that is particularly sought after if we want an alternative to coffee at breakfast. As most of them can be drunk with hot milk, they are a great substitute for lattes.

Apart from the malt and barley mentioned above, rye is also one of the most common cereal substitutes for coffee. It is often found as a component in most soluble cereal beverages. Fig coffee is also very popular in Argentina, or malt and chicory coffee, a mixture of both elements that you can make at home in this simple way: