I Tried Only Coffee Substitutes for a Week and This is What Happened

I tried coffee substitutes for a week

There’s a big chance that you may have read my first article where I attempted to drink coffee daily for the very first time in my life. For those who haven’t read it or have no desire to, it sucked.

So, in an attempt to be a part of a bigger community of productive and dangerously caffeinated people around the world, and because a tiny part of me didn’t want to be that one person on earth who drinks warm milk and goes to bed around the same time as a toddler, I decided to take my journey to the next step. Well, a more suitable step.

This is why I asked the internet for help and got myself seven coffee substitutes to try for a whole week. Here we go again.

Day 1: Green Tea

Green tea wasn’t so bad. It’s a big part of my Moroccan social heritage, so I was somewhat used to it.

I woke up one morning, after two weeks of detoxing from my near-fatal caffeine overdose and made myself a nice cup of green tea. Sounds like a healthy coffee substitute, right? I recounted all the healthy benefits and antioxidants that my body would be absorbing. If we’re completely honest here, I would have felt healthy and detoxed if it weren’t for all the pancakes I consumed that morning.

Anyway, I didn’t feel super energetic, and yet it didn’t feel like my own body was attacking me like last time. It was okay. As I said, I’m used to green tea, so this wasn’t a significant battlefront for me.

Verdict: Not impressed.

Day 2: Chicory Coffee

If you’ve never heard of chicory, it’s a natural caffeine-free coffee substitute that tastes exactly like coffee without all the caffeine.
After my last experience, I officially found my nemesis, and it’s in the form of a delicious black liquid. This entire caffeine-free experience feels like an act of revenge on all the harm coffee did to my body and soul. I’m already starting to feel superior.

I started my day with a delicious cup of chicory. All I had to do was mix a couple of teaspoons in a cup of hot water and enjoy. It tasted exactly like a latte! Tasty and delicious, and luckily, no side effects.

If you’re a coffee-lover, this finding likely sounds like absolute torture, but for me, it was a complete victory!

Verdict: Delicious.

Day 3: Energy Drink

This particular energy drink reminded me (and almost everyone else) with those very tipsy nights that got you thinking, “I regret doing that,” so drinking it first thing in the morning was going to be intense for sure. Still, at least this challenge is starting to get interesting.

I felt incredibly energized and happily caffeinated, but not the same as my previous and debilitating experience with caffeine. At the time, I felt ready to conquer the world. Then, I realized I’d be emotionally scarred forever. Ever been robbed before? No? Well, you can recreate the feeling by drinking an energy drink first thing in the morning! I was experiencing a mixture of adrenaline and uncontrollable shaking. This drink also left me with a serious case of the poops.

Verdict: Slowly starting to hate me.

Day 4: Kombucha

Now, this may not sound very unusual for you, but it felt almost exotic for me.

Kombucha is not very common here in Morocco. Still, I managed to get some online. I was curious as to what it tastes like, so I was both nervous and excited. It’s fermented black tea, so my dose of caffeine was awaiting.

The first few sips were very unusual and unique in a pleasant way, to say the least. After a few more sips, the flavor grew on me, and since I tried it first thing in the morning, the tangy flavor itself was enough to wake me up.

Verdict: I’m a kombucha girl, for sure.

Day 5: Apple Cider Vinegar

Most of my life decisions have fallen in that grey area between “I’ve made a huge mistake” and “I love myself,” so I knew deep down that this whole experience would end one of those ways.

The only logical thing after that excellent kombucha adventure was to try the second best thing recommended online, ACV. 

I initially thought that maybe the strong vinegar kick would do me good. Besides, I spent some bucks getting an entire bottle that I will most likely never finish. After my first sip, the vinegar aftertaste hit me, and not in a pleasant way. After drinking a cup of ACV diluted in warm water, all I felt that day was hungry and bored.

Let me clarify bored. I literally drank vinegar, and it still didn’t do anything for my energy and productivity, except for maybe giving me some embarrassing stomach gurgling thorough the day. Even my stomach was disappointed.

Verdict: Meh.

Day 6: Mushroom Coffee

Was I going to read the label on this thing? No.
Was I going to try anything that said coffee substitute for the sake of this article? Absolutely.

It did taste like regular black coffee but with a stronger, earthier aftertaste. I felt an instant caffeine buzz that stayed all day long. I was a superhuman who attempted to do a hundred things at once and still felt invincible. Until the headaches and diarrhea hit. Remind you of anything?

After further inspection, I later found out that shroom coffee was basically mushroom-infused coffee, explaining my body’s natural reaction to throw a tantrum.

Verdict: No.

Day 7: Decaf Coffee

It was only natural to this little project to add decaf coffee as the next coffee substitute. It’s the closest to the real thing without the physiological and psychological damage that comes with it.

It tasted exactly like a regular cup of coffee. Bitter, strong, made me pee a lot, and I barely finished my morning cup. What is happening to me?
Surprisingly my day didn’t get any better after that. Things were very foggy, and I was just waiting for the bad bowel movements to hit. It was a total placebo mind game.

Verdict: I’m sticking with warm milk and my good night’s sleep, forever.

If you haven’t read my first article about drinking coffee every day for a week, it sucked. This is why I tested seven coffee substitutes instead. #wellness #selfcare

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Lina Chichakl


Lina is a fun creative who's not afraid to try new things and speak her mind. She'll experiment with anything from yoga every day to ice baths for the sake of a good story. She may be living in Morocco but her words and witty humor have no borders.

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