9 Alternatives to Coffee (And Why You Should Try Them)

9

Alternatives To Coffee: What’s Wrong With It?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. There are many reasons why people like drinking it. Some of them include its mild taste, which makes it good for beginners; its stimulant effect, which helps you feel alert and energetic; its ability to keep your mind focused when working or studying; and finally, its pleasant aroma that gives a sense of well being.

However, there are some downsides to coffee. First of all, it contains caffeine, which may cause you to have a headache if consumed in excess. Second of all, it contains chlorogenic acid, which causes cancer in humans.

Thirdly, it is not only addictive but also toxic to animals and plants. Fourthly, the amount of sugar contained in coffee increases your blood pressure and leads to diabetes mellitus (a disease caused by high blood pressure) and heart diseases. Finally, it contains other chemicals such as tannins, polyphenols and various acids that may cause damage to your health.

There are several ways to avoid these problems. One way is to use decaffeinated coffee. Another method is to make your own coffee at home using organic ingredients.

But what do you really need with those options? How much money would it cost you? And how long will it take before you get sick from them? And how much time would you waste going to the grocery store? Wouldn’t it be better if there were some other options that don’t have all these problems?

The good news is that there are other ways to get a jolt of energy. There are plenty of drinks that can give you the same benefits as coffee without the downsides. So without further ado, here are 9 alternatives to coffee:

1. Start Your Day With A Shot Of Espresso

Espresso is a concentrated coffee drink. It is made by forcing boiling hot water (195-205 degrees Fahrenheit) at more than 9 bar pressure and about 1.5 kg/cm2 (15 bars) of pressure of through finely ground dark-roast coffee beans.

The result resembles a thick, dark, strong tea with a lot of foam on the top. By itself, an espresso has a VERY strong taste.

The best way to consume espresso is to drink it just the way it is. You can also have it with sugar or your favorite sweetener, creamer, and if you like a little milk mixed in as well.

Just to give you an idea of how concentrated espresso is, a single shot of espresso contains the same amount of caffeine as about three cups of coffee! It also provides a jolt to your system because it contains a lot of caffeine. This is why espresso drinkers feel more awake and invigorated than people who drink the regular stuff.

You can try to make your own espresso with a “regular” coffee machine. But if you really want the real deal, you need to buy a proper espresso machine, which can range in price from $70 to $1,000 or more–just for the machine itself!

If you really want to be economical about it, you can always buy a stovetop espresso maker for about $10-$20. But again, you are going to get what you paid for.

2. Try A Cup Of Black Tea (No, Not Earl Grey)

Black tea is made from the same plant as regular old boring green tea but it goes through a different process. Unlike green tea, black tea leaves are not steamed or heated before being dried. This allows it to keep the natural flavors of the leaves which makes for a stronger taste than green tea.

It also contains less caffeine than coffee but more than most other types of tea.

Like green tea, black tea has been found to contain substances that help prevent cancer and heart disease. People who drink black tea on a regular basis are less likely to catch a cold or the flu because of its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. It also helps keep your teeth healthy by preventing the buildup of plaque.

If you are a coffee drinker who is looking for a substitute because of the energy jolt, then black tea is perfect for you. It has about the same amount of caffeine that coffee does so you get all the benefits without a lot of the negatives like jitters and crashes. Some even argue that black tea helps you feel more alert than coffee does.

If coffee upsets your stomach, black tea is less likely to do that. It is also less acidic than coffee so if you have sensitive teeth, this is a better choice as well.

3. Drink Mate (It’s Like Coffee…Except Better)

If you live in Southern or Southwestern United States, then you have probably seen at least one store that sells yerba mate. Maybe you have heard some of your friends talk about how they love it.

But do you really know what it is?

Yerba mate is made from the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant. It contains less caffeine than coffee but more than green tea. It also has a lot of healthy stuff in it like vitamin A, B1, B2, C and E along with several essential minerals and antioxidants. It has a very distinctive taste but that is part of what makes it so popular.

If you want to buy some yerba mate from the store, you need to buy the actual dried leaves (usually in a large can), though some places sell the leaves pre-packed in tea bags and even some places that sell it in traditional tea bag form. The brand you buy will determine how strong the flavor is and some are stronger than others.

The first thing you need to do is grab yourself a gourd. These can be made of several different materials but the most common are wood, plastic or leather. The gourd acts as an container where you will put the leaves.

To use it, you need to fill the gourd about 2/3 full with the dried leaves and then fill it up the rest of the way with hot water (but not scalding hot). Then you need to give it a good shake so that the leaves are distributed throughout the water.

I know what you are thinking because I used to think the same thing: Isn’t that a lot of work just to make tea?

But it actually is pretty easy and doesn’t take all that much effort and you can do everything in about 5 minutes.

If you want, you can sweeten it by adding some honey. The nice thing about yerba mate is it has a distinct flavor that doesn’t really go well with lots of things but it does compliment honey.

One thing you do need to be cautious about is the temperature of the water. NEVER, EVER, EVER put hot water in a gourd made of leather. The hot water will ruin the leather and cause it to get all shriveled and cracked looking.

This doesn’t happen with gourds made of plastic or wood.

Other than that, there isn’t much else to using yerba mate. It has a strong flavor so you probably won’t want to drink more than one cup per day. The nice thing is it doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of caffeine as coffee so you can have a cup in the morning and still be able to fall asleep at night.

Some people have more than one cup in the morning but most of those people are pretty much immune to caffeine anyway. There is a fairly common practice of having a second, smaller cup in the afternoon but this isn’t really necessary if you don’t want to have it.

I really enjoy yerba mate. It has a good flavor and it gives me lots of energy without having to drink a lot of it. I also really like the fact that is healthy and doesn’t have a lot of caffeine.

I know there are a lot of people out there who will never like yerba mate, but everyone should at least give it a try.

Yerba mate can be a big commitment. You have to buy the dried leaves and it isn’t like you can just run out and buy a different kind if you don’t like the flavor of one brand. However, if you want to drink yerba mate, you have to accept this commitment because there really isn’t any alternative.

The tea bag approach is usually a bad idea. The tea bags you buy in the store contain fannings, which are the smallest pieces of leaves that are chopped up. While these will do in a pinch, they won’t give you the full yerba mate experience and are really only good if you really don’t like yerba mate at all.

If you really like yerba mate, you should consider buying the leaves in bulk and having them shipped to you from South America. There are companies that will do this for you and you can even have the leaves delivered right to your door. This is definitely the way to go if you really like yerba mate.

So if you want to try something new or if you’ve been putting off trying yerba mate because you are just too used to drinking coffee, then I would encourage you to give yerba mate a try. You might be surprised at how much you like it.

However, if you don’t like yerba mate at all, then there are a few other things you can do. Some people add herbs to the water in the pot before they pour in the yerba mate to give it more of a flavor. This can help but it won’t work on it’s own and isn’t something I’ve ever tried.

You can also brew coffee in a pot instead of a machine but….well, you’re just making things harder for yourself.

If you have to do this, you might as well get a coffee maker that uses coffee filters instead of a paper one. There is no reason to make your life harder than it has to be.

I grew up in a family that drank coffee when I was a kid. This might sound odd to some people but it’s true. My sister, her husband and my mom would all drink coffee on occasion.

Even my dad and his mom (my grandma) drank coffee every once in a while.

My dad had a coffeepot that he used to make the coffee in the morning. I remember he ground up the beans before he made it too. Of course back then, people actually knew how to do these things and had the time to take care of such things.

These days most people just pop in a pod into a machine or worse, just buy pre-made coffee from a store that was made days ago and transport it across country before it gets to you. I think this is part of the reason why so many people have such a hard time dealing with mornings.

Of course if you drink coffee for it’s supposed purpose, to get you going in the morning then this isn’t really a problem. However, I remember my dad having a big glass of milk first and then making the coffee. My dad loved his coffee but even he had to admit that it wasn’t very good and that’s why he had the milk first.

I don’t know why, I never acquired the taste for it. I tried when I was little but it just wasn’t for me. Even the stuff in the cans didn’t appeal to me and I’m pretty sure that comes from a can.

I mean if you are going to drink something that is supposed to be good for you, why not get the real thing instead of some imitation?

I can only think that it’s a generational thing. My entire family and most of my parent’s friends all grew up drinking coffee. There was never any choice in the matter to them. However, I grew up in a house where we had things like Lipton Tea packets, Interval Tea Bags and Yoo-hoo. We didn’t grow coffee or even live near a coffee bean plantation.

It seems that it’s only been in recent years that coffee has really become popular and more people are getting hooked on the stuff. Granted in my case it still wouldn’t be a problem except that I work from home and drink it all day long.

Of course when you work from home, you tend to also do a lot of other things from home too. Like for instance, eating. People don’t often think about this but when you work from home, there aren’t any other people around to keep you in check.

Especially when it comes to food. You tend to eat when you are bored, which leads to mindless snacking. This can easily lead to weight gain if you aren’t careful.

I find this out every time I have to go into town and wander into the local market for something I suddenly realize that I need. It’s always the same thing too. Caramel Apples.

I love them and they aren’t very expensive either so I always give in and buy one.

I guess I could just not buy them but then I’d just end up buying something else and that would be worse. I mean at least with the Caramel Apples, I’m getting something I like and it isn’t costing all that much.

Of course I never get just one. I always buy at least a half dozen because there is no way I’m going back into town for at least a month after that. By that time, the apples start to go soft and I have to throw them out.

The next thing I know, I’ve spent like $10 at the market when all I really needed was milk which I could have gotten at the local gas station for a fraction of the price.

This is just one of those things that seems to happen to me. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if I only lived here part time but as it is, I’m here all the time.

One thing that does help is that the house has been pretty well stocked for some time now. Mom must have worked for a good bit before she died because there is no shortage of food in the cupboards.

Actually there is no shortage of anything in the entire house and that’s where my problem lies. I never run out of anything. This means I have zero reason to go into town for anything.

I could literally wipe out all life as we know on this planet and still not have to make a single trip into town for more.

I think that’s probably why mother prepared so much food because she knew I would be living here alone and I guess she was right. It’s just too easy to overindulge in this environment.

I guess that means I’m going into town today.

I always travel to the same place in the town, The market. Don’t ask me why because there is a larger General Store type place closer to the house but for some reason for the past couple months, I’ve only been going to the smaller market.

I think the reason is because there are less people there and I find their selections to be better at times. Of course this is a double edged sword because it means less selection but whatever. I usually go there to get Caramel Apples, they just taste so much better there for some reason.

I think she knows I come in just for those because every time I go in there she is holding one and every time she sees me, she asks if I want one.

Not that I would ever just grab one without asking first but the fact that she always offers is pretty nice. It’s a small thing but there has been a shortage of small kindnesses in my life recently so it stands out more.

I don’t know her name and I’m pretty sure she knows that I only come in for the apples but she still asks if I want one every time I come in. She always has a smile on her face too. Nobody that works there really has a smile except her so it makes me feel welcome every time I go in there.

Sometimes I wish I could just sit and talk with her like I could with Lisa but I get too nervous. I’m pretty sure she knows I like Caramel Apples since I always get the large bag and eat 2 or 3 on my way home but she doesn’t say anything about it.

I mean come on, how could you not offer someone a caramel apple if they are buying the big bag?

Still, small kindnesses such as these are few and far between for me right now and I won’t forget them even if I am too nervous to say more than a few words every time I go in.

Sometimes I think about making some sort of excuse to go into that store just to talk to her but I’m afraid it would be considered rude since I already go there for apples so I just don’t know if I could justify going in there for no real reason.

I’m rambling now. I think I should stop thinking so much and just go in.

I’ll just tell her I want to try something new.

That’s a good excuse right?

***

I’m standing outside the store now but I’m still not sure if I should go in or not. Maybe I should wait until she offers me an apple first.

Would that be considered greedy if I went in there and asked for one?

No, I’m already going in.

I walk towards the store very slowly then start to speed up until I finally reach the door. I walk in and see her looking at me with a confused look. She says nothing though and simply goes back to organizing the shelves.

I look around and see what seems to be new inventory since I was last here. There is now more than fruit and vegetables on display here. There is also candy and other snack types of food.

I notice they also have ice cream too.

I think I’ll ask for one of those today. Something different to try.

“Would you…like something?”

She asked me in that same tone as always. That is the only way I can describe it because I know she doesn’t mean anything bad by it and it isn’t her being condescending either. It’s just her normal tone.

I have to think of something now though.

What do I want?

I look around and see ice cream and…

Would you like an apple?”

She asks again when I don’t immediately answer. I notice she is holding one in her hand, almost cradling it. Unlike the others she isn’t coating this one with poison. Maybe she isn’t trying to kill me after all.

But can I eat it?

I don’t know if I can. I want to but I just don’t know.

What kind of apple is that?”

Maybe this will give me more of a clue…

“It’s a Gala.”

I have no idea what that means but it looks less scary than the others so maybe I should try it.

“Yes please.”

I try my best to smile as I say this. I feel like it is very important to make her happy right now. Maybe she will let her guard down if she knows I am not here to cause her trouble.

“Here you go.”

She hands me the apple and I take it.

“Thank you.”

I turn and start to leave but then I remember why I came here in the first place. To talk with her. I need to get to know her so she will trust me.

I turn back around and see that she is looking down at the ground.

What’s your name?”

“Rose.”

She looks up at me when she answers. I can’t quite tell how old she is. She isn’t very big and I think that makes her look younger than she really is but there are times when I see her face when I can tell there is much more behind those eyes.

She looks sad. Like she has seen many things in this world and not all of them were good. I wonder if that’s because of me.

“My name is Hazel.”

I have decided to give her the same fake name I gave to the man with the cart. She doesn’t need to know my real name. I do wonder if she will connect it to the girl from the story she told the other kids though.

“I have to go now.”

I turn and walk out the door, clutching the apple in my had. I don’t know if I am supposed to eat it here or wait until I’m home. If I’m home then I won’t be able to come back for a long time.

But if I eat it now then I might not be able to come back at all.

What if she stops me next time she sees me?

I jump a little when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I look up to see the old man from this morning. I guess he is the owner of the store. Maybe he can tell me what to do.

“Hello again Hazel.

How are you enjoying your first day in our fair city?”

His voice is calmer than it was this morning. I guess he isn’t angry at me anymore.

Do you like our little store?

We try to keep it well stocked with all types of items.

What were you looking for today?”

I show him the apple.

“Ah, a Gala.

It is a good one isn’t it?

I usually have one after my lunch. You can eat it if you like.”

He motions for me to follow him and we walk over to a table with several chairs around it. A few other people are sitting there drinking something out of cups. They look over at me and I feel a little shy.

“Everyone, this is Hazel. She just arrived in the city yesterday.”

He motions for me to take a seat and then walks over to a large machine in the corner and pours some of its contents into a cup.

Would you like something to drink Hazel?

It’s just water.”

I nod and take a seat. I have never had water before. We only have milk at home.

The man walks over with the cup and puts it down on the table in front of me.

“There you go.”

He sits down across from me. The others at the table are still looking at me so I lift the cup to my mouth and take a small drink. It tastes good, especially after walking in the hot sun.

So Hazel, do you have any family?”

I nearly choke on the water. I thought he was going to ask me if I had come here off the street. I don’t know what to say though. If I tell him I have no one then he may not let me come back. Maybe he won’t believe me and the lady in the story did say he owned the store. I have to decide now.

“I do have a family.” I say in a quiet voice.

“That’s good. Children always feel better when they have family.”

I take another drink. The man watches me for a moment and then turns to talk to the others at the table, apparently forgetting about me. Maybe I won’t have to worry about seeing him again.

I slowly eat my apple as I watch the people talking at the table. None of them are paying any attention to me. They all seem very happy, laughing and talking with one another. I wish I could join them. It must be nice to have friends.

This had been the best day ever! First I got to play with Jon, then I got to go shopping, and then I met a new friend. Jon was right, this city had lots of fun stuff to do.

Maybe we would get to stay here forever.

I glance over at the old man. He watches me with a creepy smile on his face. I turn away and curl up in a corner of the room.

Maybe he is nice to grown-ups but he scares me. Maybe I should tell Jon not to come back here by himself.

The door opens making me jump. The old man walks over and picks me up off the floor. He turns and walks back to the table.

I look up at him.

What do you think? Does she pass inspection?”

he asks the others at the table.

They all stare at me with creepy smiles on their faces. I feel scared. This isn’t fun anymore.

I try to get down but the man holding me won’t let me move. He holds me out in front of the group so they can look at me better.

Sources & references used in this article:

You dissin me? Humiliation and post 9/11 global politics by P Saurette – Review of international studies, 2006 – JSTOR

Public spaces, private lives: Democracy beyond 9/11 by G Yukl – 1981 – Pearson Education India

After the fall: American literature since 9/11 by HA Giroux – 2003 – books.google.com

Your money or your life: 9 steps to transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence by R Gray – 2011 – books.google.com

Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process by V Robin, J Dominguez, M Tilford – 2008 – books.google.com

Power and play through poisies: Reconstructing self and other in the 9/11 commission report by TL Saaty – International journal of services sciences, 2008 – inderscienceonline.com