Say goodbye to coffee-induced anxiety! Herbal coffee drinks are all the rage, and for good reason. Not only are they delicious, they also offer myriad health benefits thanks to their plant and mushroom ingredients.
If you have been dreaming of a morning drink that doesn’t make you jittery for an hour-and-a-half then crash by 3 pm, this list is for you.
Photo courtesy of wearerasa.com
Rasa is a Colorado-based company that offers several signature blends of organic herbs and mushrooms. The founder of Rasa used her knowledge of traditional Ayurvedic medicine to focus on a brew that worked with the body, not against it. A key component of this is adaptogens, which are herbs that have been shown to balance certain responses within the body.
Ashwagandha, for example, helps to mitigate the body’s stress response, while beautiful, healing mushrooms like Reishi and chaga have been shown to support the immune system and have anti-cancer properties.
The Original has a total of twelve energy-boosting ingredients with zero caffeine. It maintains a nutty, coffee-like flavor with roasted chicory, burdock, and dandelion, which are also herbs well known for their cleansing abilities and digestive support.
To brew Rasa, you simply steep the herbs for 10-15 minutes in fresh, boiled water and then strain them. A French Press works well, but you can use any method you like. One tablespoon per 8 oz is the recommended amount, but you can use more if you like a stronger taste.
For those of you not ready to fully switch from coffee, Rasa also offers a Dirty version of their original, which blends Arabica coffee beans with all those gorgeous herbs. You can also mix the original with your favorite coffee.
Suggestion: try half coffee and half Rasa with frothed cashew milk and a little cinnamon.
Image courtesy of mudwtr.com
While the name might not be exactly appealing, it is a fair description of the overall appearance of this concoction. Unlike Rasa, which is designed to be strained, Mud\Watr is a fine powder meant to be mixed or frothed into your water-similar to instant coffee or cocoa.
Mud\Watr gets its energy-boosting properties from a similar list of herbs and mushrooms as Rasa, but the taste is completely different. This is thanks to the addition of warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom, which give it a flavor similar to a dirty chai mixed with hot chocolate. Black tea gives the drink a little caffeine (still 1/7 the amount in a typical coffee).
Mud\Watr’s mushroom blend incorporates cordyceps (cultured on oats), chaga, lion’s mane, and reishi. All have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Lion’s mane, in particular, is prized for its ability to enhance memory and focus.
Like Rasa, all ingredients are organic and responsibly sourced. To make a cup, simply add a spoonful to a mug and pour in boiling water. Mud\Watr provides a free frother with your purchase, and it is by far the best way to blend in the “sediment.” If you don’t have one, whip it thoroughly with a fork (don’t burn yourself!).
Suggestion: try it iced with coconut milk and sweetened with maple syrup. It is lightly spiced, sweet, and creamy.
3. Four Sigmatic Balance Blend
Image courtesy of us.foursigmatic.com
Four Sigmatic has a variety of coffee blends and alternatives, but this one is specifically formulated to enhance focus. It contains around half the caffeine of traditional coffee, rounding out the flavor and energy-boost with adaptogenic herbs.
Eleuthero root is a relative of ginseng (it is sometimes called “Siberian ginseng”) and has been used for centuries as a way of increasing endurance. Preliminary studies have demonstrated its potential for improving athletic performance and reducing post-exercise infection. The Balance Blend incorporates other well-known adaptogens, including ashwagandha and chaga mushrooms.
A unique ingredient of Four Sigmantic is tulsi, or “Holy Basil.” Like common basil, it has a strong, almost peppery taste and aroma. It is prized for its ability to stimulate a feeling of both calm and focus.
Many have noted an increased sense of well-being when using Holy Basil. This may be due to the basil family’s demonstrated ability to regulate digestive issues. Who doesn’t feel better when their stomach isn’t lurching?
Suggestion: try it with warm macadamia milk and vanilla sugar.
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You’ll have no trouble finding some of these delicious coffee alternatives in Denver, which is known for its progressive approach to health and lifestyle. One of my favorite things to do is hit up new coffee shops. New favorite: Rise Cafe in RiNo. The menu has traditional coffee favorites as well as some great alternatives. Try a “chagachinno” or the house specialty: a golden root turmeric latte.
What is your favorite coffee alternative? Let me know in the comments!