For some people, a morning just isn’t a morning without a cup of joe. For others, coffee is a sacred and splendid anointment to be treated with the respect and reverence due to a gift from the gods. For still others, drinking coffee sucks. Whether it’s because of the acid content, the potential for stained teeth, the fact that it’s hard to find a brand that doesn’t profit from third world exploitation, or just the taste, some folks just aren’t coffee drinkers. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the satisfying kick of caffeine! Here are some ways you can get your morning jolt without the coffee breath.
We’ll start with the obvious. Who doesn’t enjoy the aromatic experience of preparing a nice cup of tea? You’ve probably heard that tea has just as much or more caffeine than coffee. That’s not true but tea does contain caffeine. 14-70mg per cup of black tea and 24-45mg per cup of green. This makes tea a great alternative to coffee if you want to cut back on caffeine but still want a little. There’s even coffee flavoured tea to fake out your brain if you’re trying to quit. Or if you don’t want to cut back your caffeine but just love the act of sipping, tea’s lower caffeine content means you can drink it all day. Just be sure to pick a non-herbal tea if you’re looking for a buzz.
6) Sun Tea
You think your ten minute drip coffee is a long brew? How’s all morning sound? Sun tea is a strong brew that’s made by steeping tea leaves as well as other herbs or fruit for several hours in a pitcher or bottle of water set where the sun can hit it. The idea is that the sun’s rays will gradually warm the water allowing for a slow release of flavonoids which allows the molecules to better infuse the water. The general rule in cuisine is the more slowly your dish cooks or your drink steeps, the more flavourful it will be. When brewing beverages, a long steep means a smoother flavour. Since Sun Tea uses no energy to prepare, it’s great for camping or just reducing your gas bill.
5) Tea Syrup
Often used as an alternative to energy drinks, tea syrup is like sun tea to the extreme. It’s long steeped like sun tea, only far less water is used and natural sweeteners like agave syrup or honey are added to the process for added energy and sweetness. The result is a powerful energy surge-inducing shot which some hippie bars mix with vodka as a substitute for energy drinks.
Chocolate, specifically pure cocoa is a decent source of caffeine. In fact in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe during the café boom that occurred when Europeans first discovered the Americas and began trading for coffee and chocolate, chocolate was far more popular than coffee as a pick me up beverage. It’s unclear why chocolate lost its status as an everyday drink, but at 100mg of caffeine per 50 grams it certainly hasn’t lost its kick. Dark chocolate is best. It contains less sugar and milk solids than other forms of chocolate. To brew a sugar and fat free cup of chocolate just put a scoop of cocoa powder into your coffee maker and brew as usual. It will be a bit thinner than the hot chocolate you get as a treat with marshmallows, but it makes perfect morning go-go juice. And the resulting chocolate paste from the leftover cocoa in your filter goes great on top of some ice cream later in the day! If cutting sugar isn’t your prerogative you can add some. Brewed chocolate is basically just better tasting coffee.
Guarana is a creeping plant that grows in the Amazon basin. The bright red berries contain about twice as much caffeine as coffee beans. Guarana fruit is not generally available raw due to its unpleasant flavour, but it is sold as a powder, extract, or in capsule form for use as a dietary supplement. Guarana is the main ingredient in most energy drinks and shots. It’s also added to many soft drinks in Brazil. Remember to use caution if you choose guarana as your coffee alternative. The high caffeine content can be a shock to noobs, and man of the other ingredients in energy drinks aren’t great for your internal organs. If you can, try to get your guarana in a pure powder form and add a small scoop to your morning smoothie.
2) Vape it
Yes, you can now vape caffeine. Companies like Eagle Energy, Energy Shisha, and Rush Energy Vapour all produce vape pens and cartridges for caffeine delivery. This method is a bit different from consumable caffeine because the inhalation process delivers the caffeine directly to the bloodstream. Companies that produce caffeine vapour products say that this is more efficient and safe than drinking coffee or energy drinks because the effect is immediate, giving the user a better sense of when they’ve had enough.
1) Chocolate covered coffee beans
You don’t have to drink coffee to reap its caffeine. Chocolate covered coffee beans offer a convenient, quick, and clean way to get your fix anytime, anywhere. Plus the chocolate coating adds an extra caffeine boost. Grab a handful on your way out the door in the morning, keep some in your desk, or just carry a bag of those sweet little java nuggets around with you wherever you go. No more travel mugs, no more coffee shop lines, no more forgetting about that last sip you always leave in the bottom of your cup at work over the weekend until it starts to grow hyperactive bacteria colonies.
There are lots of different sources of caffeine and lots of different ways to get it. Use this list to find an alternative that works for you or try them all and shake up your routine.