Little known Lucy fact: I'm allergic to coffee. I love the smell of coffee, and if I keep it to about 12 oz. once a week I'm fine. But much more than that, and my stomach just ties itself in knots! Don't get me wrong, though: I still really like drinking coffee as a treat. I drank coffee all through college, but on our way home from the UK in August of 2016, I got super sick and couldn't keep anything but water down for about 4 days. This was terrible, but it did kick my caffeine addiction. Ever since then, my body just can't handle regular or high doses of coffee.
While coffee isn't the drink of choice for me, I do still like to down tea like Don Draper drinks whiskey. Over the years I've found a few coffee-alternatives and teas that I really like, and if you're looking to explore a coffee-free world (less terrible than it sounds!), here are my recommendations:
Matcha | Green Tea
Basic, I know. But I do genuinely enjoy matcha or green tea lattes. Like coffee, there's a pretty noticeable difference between the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. While you don't need to buy anything fancy or expensive, you are definitely getting what you pay for when it comes to green teas. I really like stash green tea, as it's not too bitter but still has a strong flavor. For matcha, I like the jade leaf organic, which you can get on amazon. One thing to note is that matcha powder definitely degrades over time. It doesn't quite "go bad" per se, but again like coffee you want to buy in small doses so you're consistently getting relatively fresh matcha. I've found that if my matcha sits around for more than 6 months, it's probably not worth having.
Pero is "made up of soluble solids of roasted barley, malted barley, chicory, and rye." While it doesn't taste exactly like coffee it's hearty and savory in the same way coffee is, and holds milk and sugar especially well. I like that it's a little bit filling and has a lot of body to it, and it definitely quenches my craving for a coffee-like drink. It's cheap, quick and easy to make too! Definitely my go-to non-coffee drink for most mornings.
Similar to Pero, Teeccino is just roasted barley and chicory that you can steep that tastes somewhat like coffee. While pero, which is just powder, is much easier to make (and you can make a much stronger cup with it), teeccino definitely tastes more like coffee and comes in lots of yummy flavors. It's a tea bag that you steep in really hot water for 5-6 minutes, and I've found that one bag is good for ~12 ounces maximum, 8 ounces ideally. They're tasty, but pretty weak and take a long time to steep enough. That said they are really tasty, and definitely worth giving a try particularly if you don't mind weaker coffee.
Despite the weird name, this is just roasted cocoa that you steep to make a coffee-like drink, and as you might expect it is rich and chocolately and absolutely delicious. There are only 2 real downsides: 1. You have to have a lot of it to make a strong cup, 2. You need to make it like coffee, which can take a while and is a rather manual process. I don't tend to make it at work because it takes a while, requires special equipment, and pouring Pero into a cup and adding hot water is just so much easier, if a little less tasty. But if you have the time and wherewithal Crio Bru or any other cocoa coffee-substitute is definitely worth trying!
There are so many great flavors of herbal tea, and for the most part this is what I drink all day every day. I love to have a lemon ginger cup in the morning to get digestion moving and wake me up a bit. Then I'll go for either mint, chamomile, or a tea you may not have tried but which I highly recommend: licorice. What I like about all these teas, especially the licorice, is that they're slightly sweet and help satisfy my sweet tooth without being overwhelming or involving a sugar crash later. I do also occasionally love finding seasonal teas at the store, like white chocolate mint tea at Christmas time or pumpkin chai in the fall. Really, you can't go wrong, and there are whole worlds of herbal teas to explore! I highly encourage you to find one that strikes your fancy and give it a try.