To say authors and coffee go together is an understatement.
Just take a glance at the Instagram profile of virtually any author, and it seems like every other picture features a cup of coffee.
Take a look at mine. Guilty as charged!
But there comes a time in many authors’ lives when they might want to reevaluate their coffee intake.
No matter how valuable coffee seems to be at keeping you awake, and spurring you on to write more words, sometimes the drawbacks can outweigh the benefits.
If you are jittery and anxious, have trouble sleeping, or have frequent heartburn or other digestive issues, it’s possible that coffee could be a problem.
It could be worth dialing it back, or eliminating it altogether.
Don’t kill the messenger.
Most authors can get away with a certain amount of coffee, so I generally suggest authors with these issues start by toning it down a bit.
There are some benefits to drinking less coffee, though. The most notable is that when you are not addicted to high levels of caffeine, you can take advantage of it when you really need it.
If you have a deadline, and you’re trying to pull an all-nighter, coffee can help.
But if you’re already addicted to the bean, more caffeine won’t help.
To some extent, caffeine is like flipping a switch. So, adding more when the switch has already been flipped doesn’t do much more than make you more anxious, nervous, or jittery.
And if coffee is no longer keeping you awake, adding more would just mean you fall asleep under the influence, which means no more deep sleep for you!.
Do I have to tell you the negative ramifications of living a life without REM sleep?
Okay, I said enough about why you should cut back, it’s time to go into the hows.
As author and productivity specialist James Clear often says, one of the best ways to eliminate a habit, is to replace it with another.
One of the best ways that I’ve found to replace a coffee habit, is to swap your coffee out for something else that gives you similar, but different effects and feelings.
It’s hard to replicate the taste of coffee, but you can get close, below.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which will help me test even more coffee alternatives.
Oh, now let’s take a look…
Dandy Blend is one of my favorite coffee alternatives.
Note: it tastes nothing like coffee.
Yeah, the taste is totally different, but it hits a lot of the same ‘feels’ that coffee does. It’s a little bit bitter, it has a similar body, and it looks like coffee.
It even smells a little like coffee from a distance, but don’t let that pull you. The taste is quite different.
I want to take a second to remind you that for most of us coffee itself was an acquired taste. I hated it the first 10 times I tried it, but I kept trying until one day I loved it. The same thing happened with Dandy Blend. I really disliked it the first few times, but I was a man on a mission, so I kept going. Now, many cups later, I actually love it.
I often crave Dandy Blend. I never thought that would happen!
One of the best things about Dandy Blend is that it’s instant. That makes it as easy as instant coffee only better tasting.
Because it’s instant, all it takes is hot water and a mug, so you can fill, stir, and get back to writing.
You can also stir it into cold water, then add ice for something that doesn’t taste like iced-coffee, but is still good.
Dandy Blend is great when you’re in a rush and you don’t have time to brew a cup of anything, but need to have something.
Crio- Bru (aka roasted cacao)
Crio Bru, or ground cacao beans, are another favorite coffee alternative you might like.
And, I think it’s a very approachable alternative for many authors. Because it tastes a lot like chocolate.
Again, this is not coffee. But also, this is not chocolate either. It just hits the same way for many people as coffee or chocolate do.
Crio Bru has a similar mouth feel and body to coffee, and smells very much like hot cocoa.
It’s 99.9% caffeine free, which is equivalent to a cup of decaf coffee. That means that Crio Bru is a good alternative when you want to drink something warm and comforting in the afternoon or evening. When you need something in your mug to help you eke out a few more words.
I said it didn’t taste like hot cocoa, right?
Crio Bru, or any ground cacao drink, should be considered its own thing. If you like chocolate though, it’s a lot less of an acquired taste, than some of the other alternatives.
Crio Bru taste great with a little half-and-half, and I’ve heard it tastes good with a little sugar, too. Just be careful, because then you are moving into hot cocoa territory, and then we have to start talking about sugar and calories!
Let’s save that for another day.
The third alternative I’m going to talk about today is going to sound pretty weird. It has one ingredient, figs.
That’s right, Coffig is made from dried roasted and ground figs. That means it also tastes nothing like coffee.
Of the alternatives on this list, Coffig , tastes the least like coffee, it doesn’t smell like coffee, and it’s thinner than coffee, and it also has less of a coffee-like mouth feel.
Coffig tastes a bit fruity, which I like
This coffee alternative tastes a little bit fruity, and also tastes great with some half-and-half added in.
Still, I’ve found Coffig to be a great alternative to coffee, just not my full-time swap.
Coffig looks like it’s instant, but it’s not.
I ordered some 100% natural, no-plastic, compostable teabags for my Coffig, and haven’t looked back.
I fill the bags about once a week, and keep them in a jar next to my tea.
2 to 5 minutes in boiling water is all it takes to make a great cup of Coffig.
[Good] Decaf Coffee
Finally, if you are simply looking for an alternative to coffee because you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, I urge you to try and find a great-tasting decaf coffee.
Decaf coffee gets a bad rap, but there are many coffee roasters who take as much care in roasting the perfect decaf beans as they do their flagship roast.
Decaf isn’t bad, bad decaf is bad
If all of the decaf coffee you’ve had in the past tasted bad it’s not because decaf coffee is bad, it’s because that decaf coffee was bad.
A lot of roasters simply don’t care, so find one who does.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite decaf coffees below.
Whether you like dark medium or light roasts, today’s hipster coffee roasters are there for you.
What’s YOUR favorite coffee alternative?
These are just four of my favorite coffee alternatives, but I’d love to know what alternatives to coffee you love!
Let me know in the comments, or reach out using my contact page.
Happy drinking, and happy writing!