Alternate drink to coffee/tea?
July 6, 2008 6:16 PM   Subscribe

I want to find a replacement for coffee and tea for a morning kick drink.

My stomach is having problems with acid, especially from coffee and tea. I abandoned coffee and even though I like it, I am thinking about giving up tea (at least for a while). I'm looking for some ideas for alternative drinks that would help me get going in the morning. The tricky thing is some of the alternatives probably have a lot of acid too. I do sometimes try to get going by doing something physical, like a run or a bike ride, but often I just don't have the time in the morning
posted by zobot to Health & Fitness (38 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how acidic it is, but you can try drinking yerba mate.
posted by nasreddin at 6:21 PM on July 6, 2008

Dumb question, but just to clarify: when you say 'get me going,' do you mean that you want something with caffeine in it?
posted by box at 6:24 PM on July 6, 2008

Response by poster: That's not a dumb question because just about any kind of "kick" drink is going to have caffeine. The root of my problem is that caffeine is always going to equal fairly to very acidic. I guess I was hoping for some suggestions for energy drinks that don't necessarily give the kick of caffeine, but might still bring some energy boost. Either that or any other replacements people have used to phase out caffeine with some success, be it liquid, food, pill, activity, behavior modification, etc.
posted by zobot at 6:33 PM on July 6, 2008

I have not tried yerba mate, but if I were in your shoes I would be looking heavily at green tea. Last month I was very heavy on drinking a Red Bull or half a Monster drink in the morning, but my stash ran out and I'm up to 9 days now without caffeine, and now I'm drinking tons of water. It was kind of rough being without it at first but I feel like I have more energy now and there's not highs and lows through the day. My reflux has also abated to almost nothing. I recommend going down that road if you can.
posted by tinkertown at 6:38 PM on July 6, 2008

You might tolerate different teas better. Avoid black teas, but green and white teas are supposed to be less acidic. I've never tried it, but I think there's caffeinated water, too.
posted by katemcd at 6:39 PM on July 6, 2008

I went from coffee to black tea to decaf black tea to nothing, and am now back to drinking decaf tea. I figured out that what I really liked was the ritual of making the drink -- both tea and coffee lend themselves really well to a morning ritual of boiling water, steeping, setting, adding milk and/or sugar, etc. -- it's a lot like the process of rolling a cigarette or anything else addictive. You are using a lot of your senses, all building up to the moment that you sit down and take that first sip.

In other words, I can get by without the caffeine just fine (although the headaches for the first few days were killer) but I can't get by without my morning rituals. An energy drink (most of which I think have lots of caffeine) is the opposite of what I need -- I want ritual, not just the opening of a can.

So if you are like me, what you need is a drink that won't hurt your stomach, but that has a nicely involved process for making it. Mate is a great suggestion (and it definitely has a kick), especially if you get some of the accouterments that go with a traditional preparation of mate, or maybe even an herbal tea that comes in loose-leaf form, so you have to scoop it, steep it, and so on. For me, herbal tea in bags is great for drinking, but is missing a couple of steps for a really good morning ritual.
posted by Forktine at 6:42 PM on July 6, 2008

I'm sure you'd prefer healthier alternatives, but there's plenty of energy drinks that I find aren't all that acidic. And, of course, caffeine pills, if you just want to avoid the drink all together.
posted by shepd at 6:43 PM on July 6, 2008

Black gum.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:43 PM on July 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try a multivitamin with breakfast.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 6:43 PM on July 6, 2008

For the record, green tea does contain some caffeine. Less than other tea, though.
posted by amtho at 6:46 PM on July 6, 2008

I second the suggestion for green tea. And some food in the morning to get you started, a bagel or something perhaps.
posted by perpetualstroll at 6:47 PM on July 6, 2008

I swap in yerba mate from time to time; it's great as far as kick but kind of tastes like a can of smashed assholes so I would recommend looking up some recipes for cutting the assiness a bit, unless you have a high tolerance for that.
posted by The Straightener at 6:51 PM on July 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

This might be nothing like what you're looking for, but Naked Juice products are a sort of natural energy drink sans caffeine.
posted by Autarky at 6:52 PM on July 6, 2008

yerba mate isn't tea, it contains tons of mateine (which is the same as caffeine) and it is really hard on a lot of people. I'd avoid it if coffee gives you problems. I'm a coffee nut and I can't handle yerba.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 6:52 PM on July 6, 2008

My favorite morning drink of the past several months is honey plus cinnamon in hot water. It is amazing in the satisfaction I get. I use 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp honey in a cup of hot water. It is satisfying and great taste.
posted by JayRwv at 6:57 PM on July 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

Now this isn't a drink, but I used to swear by Penguin caffeinated mints when I had to work 5am shifts when I was younger. I know I've seen other brands of caffeinated mints since, but Penguins were my preferred brand. I want to say that three mints equaled an 8oz cup of coffee, but I'm not sure. They are tasty! But, just as a warning, if you eat them all day long, they do make your tummy hurt, but I would say that about most mints, caffeinated or not. Worth a try if you are just looking for a morning pick me up. They are also less calories than some nasty sugary energy drink.
posted by greta simone at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2008

You could actually go back to coffee if you're willing to put a bit more work into it. There's a weird drink I really like called a hot cold press which removes a good amount of the acidity while still retaining nearly full flavor and whatnot. Good for stomach issues and whatnot. You grind the coffee coarsely (french press) then let it sit for 12 hours in ice cold water, one part coffee to three parts water, covered container, strain with a sieve or what have you, and it keeps for about three days. Bring it up to heat however you please and you'll find something truly bizarre but pretty damn good.

Or get it at Caribou, where I learned about it. Most of the workers won't know it exists 'cause it's not part of the training but their registers actually have a button for it (tell them to check under the hot drinks tab. always a surprise.) Don't know any other chains that do it.
posted by Teira at 7:02 PM on July 6, 2008

The only way I could trick myself into not choosing caffeinated beverages in the morning was by going the complete opposite route: I treated myself (and SO) to a kick-ass blender that can make smoothies in seconds. It's kind-of decadent and we don't do it all the time, but they taste awesome and you can pretend like you're reaping tons of health benefits (I mean, there are some, sure, but most fruits are just simple sugars--which means this doesn't work well for diabetics). It also has the added benefit of completely clashing (taste-wise) with coffee, tea, soda--anything caffeinated.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:41 PM on July 6, 2008

I was also going to mention cold press coffee. I found it a lot less acidic and tasted pretty much the same. Before you give it up totally, I'd recommend that. That said, really good smootheis with fresh fruits and protein powder can be a great way to kick off a morning.
posted by jessamyn at 7:48 PM on July 6, 2008

I have been having this same issue but haven't gotten as far as you yet --- on days when my stomach complains I drink tea instead of coffee. I have mostly switched to constant comment, a milder black tea than most other things labelled "black tea."

When I do have coffee I have started taking it with cream. Not milk or half-and-half, but the stuff my grocery calls "heavy whipping cream." The milkfat cuts the acid back and also keeps me from drinking too many cups of coffee. Also it tastes decadent.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:56 PM on July 6, 2008

Wow, nobody has said running yet. Runners high is actually a really good morning kick. Much better than coffee. After a run, water's all I want.*
* Water, and a nice long nap on the couch.
posted by salvia at 8:16 PM on July 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Huh, also surprised no one has said diet soda yet. That's my morning drug of choice, and there's a wide variety out there—may be one with less acidity you could drink.
posted by limeonaire at 8:23 PM on July 6, 2008

Diet soda (or at least Coke) actually has more caffeine than regular soda, making it more acidic. So that's probably not the best solution for the OP.
posted by chan.caro at 8:43 PM on July 6, 2008

If you want the caffeine without the acid from a drink, why not just take some caffeine pills? They're no worse for you than a cup or two of coffee.

If you're reacting to the acid in the caffeine itself and want a non-caffeinated morning beverage, many of my vocalist friends (who aren't supposed to have caffeine, sugar, nicotine, or anything else fun) drink weak peppermint tea or just hot water. It's got quite a bit of sugar in it, but warmed up apple juice or apple cider is delicious also.
posted by rossination at 8:51 PM on July 6, 2008

I have stomach issues, and I swear by cold press coffee. You don't need to by a Toddy system to make good cold press coffee, though it does make it easier. Here's the recipe I use:

1/3 cups ground coffee
2 cups water
Tupperware (or similar container)
An empty bottle
A funnel
A coffee filter

Take the ground coffee. Put in a Tupperware container with 2 cups of *tepid* water; first stir a little of the water in to wet the grounds, then pour the rest in.

Let it sit on the counter for 12 hours. (You can also put it in the fridge, but I use the counter)

After 12 hours, put the funnel on the empty bottle, then the coffee liner in the funnel. Drain the coffee into the bottle.

To drink, I mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio, microwave, then doctor as I see fit. It makes excellent iced coffee; I put a little in a Nalgene bottle along with some ice cubes, some cream and a little sugar, and by the time the ice has melted, you have perfectly dilute and refreshing ice cold coffee. The coffee concentrate, because it doesn't have the acid from the beans, stays fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:53 PM on July 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

You're about six months late for Postum.
posted by staggernation at 8:57 PM on July 6, 2008

I was going to suggest lemon water, as it is a pretty awesome kick start drink, but it doesn't quite fit with your acidity requirement. I would investigate which juices are least acidic and work from there. You could even buy a juicer and make your own juice/smoothie to start the day. Much healthier than tea or coffee as well.
posted by jozzas at 8:59 PM on July 6, 2008

ymmv, but for me, a nice fresh crispy juicy apple gives about as much of a boost as a delicious mug of coffee.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:13 PM on July 6, 2008

staggernation, there's always Pero and Cafix coffee replacers. Cafix specifically claims to be low-acid. Different ingredients (malted barley, chicory, and rye vs. Postum's wheat and molasses) but the OP might like 'em. I do, but I also like raw unseasoned tofu, so I'm not sure that counts.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:14 PM on July 6, 2008

I used to enjoy this Bolthouse Farms mocha drink every morning (until I moved on to coffee!). Then again, it may be much more cost effective to make your own smoothie or go the tea route.
posted by wundermint at 9:24 PM on July 6, 2008

The healthiest way for you to get a boost would be from fructose. A tall glass of orange juice has a lot of sugar. I'd steer clear from other juices, unless you can find one that doesn't have ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as a preservative--it's given me a tongue burn before and I don't know what it would do to your stomach.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:35 PM on July 6, 2008

This advice comes from my weight lifting coach, by the by.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:35 PM on July 6, 2008

This may seem stupid, but hear me out.

I'm also a non-caffeine person, and my morning drink is hot water perked up with a slice of lemon.

I find that a couple of these work as mild eye openers, and are quite refreshing.

I read somewhere that many Chinese people swear by hot water as a bracing, healthful drink. Can anybody back me up? It sure works for me.
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:09 AM on July 7, 2008

I drink hot water a lot during the morning---I teach, and I like to have something hot to drink at, but I didn't need all that coffee. And I like it a lot. But it doesn't substitute for that nice caffeine pickup of coffee.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:57 AM on July 7, 2008

In the course of trying to kick my caffeine habit, I got into herbal teas. Yogi Tea has an India Spice tea that has a strong enough flavor to perk me up in the morning. If you've got a local tea shop, they can probably give you a rundown of acidity on their blends. Mint is also supposed to help folks perk up, so mint tea is also an option.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:49 AM on July 7, 2008

Have you tried protein? It gives me a long-lasting kick. So instead of a carbo-loaded breakfast, I eat a "normal" meal that has a nice chunk of protein. Chicken korma is a great breakfast. If that's too much for your morning stomach, maybe a smoothie with whey powder would work.
posted by PatoPata at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2008

How about Kombucha?

You can get them at health food stores, though slightly pricey ($2 - $3.50 per bottle; I personally like the ginger pear flavor of WonderDrink brand kombucha). You can also make your own!
posted by woebot at 10:18 PM on July 7, 2008

I like Stash brand teas "Lemon Ginger" flavor or just plain ginger tea from Asian markets, though the lemon is the best IMHO. Ginger has a pretty good kick that ought to wake you up, but it's very healthy, no caffeine at all. I don't know if it would hurt your stomach or not? I think no, but ymmv..
posted by citron at 10:23 PM on July 7, 2008

« Older Telecommuting internationally?   |   Who is that one guy from The Birdcage? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.