Food

The goop Guide to Noncoffee Coffees

The goop Guide to Noncoffee Coffees

The number of ways to replace coffee (that is, if you’re looking to replace coffee) gets bigger every day, and some of them sound pretty crazy. Now we’ve tried all of them for you, sipping (occasionally spitting) every oddity in the “New Wave beverage” and “alternative coffee” aisles. We found that dandelion roots and mushrooms actually make pretty good hot morning drinks, along with various unconventional teas and even dates and cacao beans.

Best Overall

Dandy Blend

Dandy Blend

Well balanced, with a pleasant bitterness and velvety texture that are reminiscent of the real deal, Dandy Blend was the clear winner in terms of taste. Since it’s a dissolvable powder, like instant coffee, brewing a cup involves mixing it into hot water or any sort of milk. We especially like the individual packets they make for travel. It’s delicious hot or over ice, as long as you use twice the amount suggested—it has a much richer, fuller flavor and texture that way.


Best Coffee Alternatives

Teeccino

Teeccino

Since it’s brewed the same way as coffee, Teeccino is great for the coffee drinker reluctant to change routine. (The brand even includes directions for weaning yourself off of coffee by slowly adjusting your ratio of coffee grounds to Teeccino over a two-week period until you’re brewing 100 percent Teeccino.) Made of roasted and ground carob, barley, chicory, and ramon seeds, it’s super dark and chocolaty tasting, almost like a French roast. It definitely benefits from the addition of a little half-and-half or cashew milk, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, try a dash of coconut sugar—it brings out the caramel notes.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee

Technically this has coffee in it, but it comes in decaf—and the regular still has less caffeine than your average cup of joe. The coffee is mixed with adaptogenic mushroom powders, like chaga, Cordyceps, and lion’s mane. Brilliantly, the flavor of the coffee really works with the bitterness of the mushrooms, rather than trying to mask their earthy flavors. If you’re not into a hot cup, it tastes pretty delicious over ice with coconut milk. We thought it tasted best brewed extra strong, double the amount they suggest, but be aware that if you aren’t drinking the decaf version, a double dose has the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.

For Buzz without Caffeine

Cocoa Bean Coffee

When we brewed this French-press-style coffee made of roasted, ground cacao beans in the goop test kitchen, several staffers were sure the aroma wafting through the office was rich hot cocoa. But the taste is far from cocoa. It’s by far the most bitter of the bunch, and the only one that really required a sweetener in order to be palatable (we settled on a combination of coconut milk and monk fruit that tasted quite nice). Cacao can be a good choice for someone who misses the jolt of caffeine.

Cocoa Bean Coffee

For Body and Acidity

MediDate Coffee

MediDate Coffee

If you’re missing the bright acidity of coffee, this one might be perfect. Made with dates but not sweet like dates, this had the best tang of all the alternative coffees we tried. To brew, boil the date grounds with water; strain it well, as the sediment left behind is less than delicious. We weren’t into drinking this black, but it was delicious with milk or nut milks.

Teas That Tell a Coffee Story

Reishi Tea

Reishi Tea

This tea is actually made of dried reishi mushrooms (which have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries) instead of traditional tea leaves. Reishi naturally has an earthy flavor, which lends itself nicely to the coffee drinker’s palate. After a good eight minutes of steeping, the tea itself has an almost woodsy, chocolaty flavor. It made a cozy faux chai when we added cashew milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Hojicha Tea

Hojicha Tea

Hojicha Tea is made from the stems of green tea, which are significantly lower in caffeine than the leaves. It’s roasted over charcoal, so the tea tastes (and looks) a lot more like black tea than green, with an earthy, nutty, toasted flavor that totally scratches the coffee itch. It makes a brilliant latte: Combine warm almond milk and vanilla powder with the steeped tea.

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