Caffeine is my love language. Anyone with a little bit of money in the bank can take you to Paris, but the person who brings you liquid energy at 2:48 on Wednesday should be in serious consideration for ‘happily ever after status.’
If you’re like me, you may love coffee, but coffee doesn’t always love you back. Maybe you have acid reflux or heartburn after drinking java, or maybe you take a potty break that turns into a potty hour.
The amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee ranges from between 80-100 mg. There are plenty of coffee alternatives that will give you all the benefits without the tummy troubles though, and they range from a fraction of the caffeine in typical coffee beverages to 2, sometimes 3 times the amount.
Now would be a good time to tell you that I have A LOT of experience with caffeine-laced bevvies. One afternoon at work, I drank 4 Red Bulls, a Monster and 2 cups of coffee. It’s been referred to in my friend circles as The Incident, and we’ve all decided that was Too Much Caffeine For Erica. With that bit of information, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, that tidbit of knowledge is what, in literary terms, makes me an unreliable narrator. My tolerance level for caffeine is high, and my ability to operate while at an energy level akin to a hummingbird means that you should deffo consider the amounts of caffeine in the below drinks before you consume them. If a regular cup of joe gives you the jitters, look for coffee alternatives on the lower end of the scale.
With that caveat out of the way, here are coffee substitutes that bring the energy without the need for coffee beans.
You have plenty of choices here, from a perfectly-spiced chai tea latte to a smoother white tea. Most teas don’t have nearly as much caffeine as coffee, but, ranked highest to lowest your choice should be: black, oolong, green, white, then purple. Reaching for a kombucha will give you even less caffeine, typically around 15 mg per serving. If you need a stronger tea, try Yerba Mate (one serving has approximately 85 mg — less than a typical cup of coffee, but more than other alternative teas).
Homemade Hot Cocoa With Caffeine-Infused Chocolate
Awake, known for their chocolate with an extra kick of caffeine, promises that one bite of their Dark Chocolate Chocolate Bites provides the same amount of caffeine as a half a cup of coffee. Use the chocolate as a base for your hot cocoa, and you’ll get a bit of caffeine without the tummy troubles. (Note from the editor: I stocked up on these before embarking on a cross-country road trip and can confirm that yes, they do indeed work.)
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? Too many Red Bulls can have you feeling like you could punch Beelzebub in the face (ask me how I know), but a can of the fizzy energy drink every now and again won’t hurt. According to the brand’s website, an 8.4-ounce can provides 80 mg of caffeine; however, you should be aware that the energy drink also comes in 12-, 16-, and 20-ounce cans. Choose wisely!
Clif Organic Energy Gel With Caffeine
This gloopy energy elixir comes to you in a squeezable, anti-spill package. Available in assorted flavors like mocha, double espresso, strawberry, citrus and chocolate cherry, the Clif Organic Energy Gel With Caffeine gives you 25-100 mg of caffeine per serving, depending on the flavor. There are four caffeine levels in this coffee alternative, and nine flavors to choose from.
Alani Nu Energy Drink
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Wanna wrestle? That’s probably what you’re going to say to everyone you encounter after drinking an Alani Nu energy drink. Each 10-calorie serving of the brand’s Cosmic Stardust flavor offers about 200 mg of caffeine.
As your friend, I advise you to put away your car keys before you drink Celsius Heat. One 16-ounce can of the Jackfruit flavor has 0 grams of sugar and a whopping 300 mg of caffeine. This is also a fantastic time to remind anyone reading this who has a history (personal or familial) of cardiac issues, that you should most definitely check with your healthcare professional before drinking these types of beverages.
What are your favorite coffee alternatives? Share your recs in the comments!
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