An Energizing Coffee Alternative

By Nick Polizzi
Mug of Herbal Coffee Alternative

For many folks, the best part of waking up is a warm cup of joe. 

Coffee drinking has become so embedded in our culture that we don’t think twice about it. I mean, a lot of us were practically born with a coffee cup in our hands!

But when it comes to optimizing our health and happiness, it’s sometimes worth examining the habits that we take for granted.

There is science indicating that a little bit of coffee here and there can help with brain function and longevity BUT…  There are stacks of studies showing that the overuse of coffee can have the exact opposite effect, leading to elevated levels of stress, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, anger and a host of other undesirable side effects.

Now, I’m not telling you to take coffee completely out of your diet. I still have the occasional cup, but I’ve found that too much coffee makes me really irritable and jittery, so I’ve gotta be careful.

Thankfully, there are some equally amazing coffee alternatives that we can turn to…

Today I’m going to share the recipe for a delicious coffee alternative that we love in the Polizzi home.

Okay, ready to get brewing?

A Delicious and Energizing Coffee Alternative [Recipe!]

Serving size: 1 cup 


  • 1-2 tsp dried Guayusa leaves
  • 1 tsp Chaga powdered extract
  • 1 tsp Cacao powder
  • ¼ tsp ground Cinnamon
  • Dash of Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Splash of your favorite milk (oat milk for me!)
  • Honey (optional)


  1. Put the Guayusa in a tea ball or infuser and drop into your favorite mug.
  2. Add the Chaga, Cacao, Vanilla, Salt and Cinnamon.
  3. Pour boiling water over the tea blend and steep for 5-7 minutes
  4. Remove the tea ball or infuser and pour the mixture into a blender. Add a touch of honey and a splash of milk here if you’d like.
  5. Blend on medium speed for 10 seconds.
  6. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Crave more? This recipe makes one perfect cup, but if you want more or yearn for the coffee-like experience, then grab a French press. We use a 4-6 cupper and triple the ingredients in the Polizzi household. 

Health Benefits Galore

In addition to boosting your energy, this healthy coffee alternative includes multiple beneficial compounds too.

Here’s what you’re packing into just one cup…

Chaga powder, which comes from the chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus), is chock full of vitality-boosting nutrients including: B-complex vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. Chaga also includes lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The fruiting body of this mushroom is not edible, instead an extracted tea has been traditionally used, so always get an extract powder to gain the full benefits (or brew a batch of tea).

Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) gives us the caffeine punch but at much more manageable levels than coffee. A cup of guayusa tea contains approximately half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. A relative to yerba maté, guayusa is also loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that have been found to improve moods and alertness. This Amazonian holly species also contains triterpenoids that have antihyperglycemic effects, meaning it can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) not only ups the taste factor (seriously, who doesn’t love chocolate?), but it also helps reduce stress, boost cognition, improve digestion, and enhance energy. This powder—that comes from the unroasted seed of the cacao tree—is also high in protein, fiber, magnesium, and iron. Theobromine is one of the active ingredients in cacao, which acts as a stimulant with vasodilation and bronchodilation properties – this is literally a lung and heart-opener. Opting for cacao (not to be confused with cocoa which comes from the roasted seed) means that you’re in good company… Ancient Mesoamerican peoples including the Aztecs and the Mayans believed cacao was sacred, and they used it in many healing ceremonies and rituals.

Beyond its delicious taste, cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp.) is a powerhouse superfood spice. It’s loaded with antioxidants (more than oregano), anti-inflammatory properties, it may reduce the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and it can help fight bacterial and fungal infections. 

I love anything and everything vanilla (Vanilla planifolia). It adds so much flavor. Plus, it’s got some seriously promising health benefits. It may offer antioxidant protection, anti-inflammatory properties, and it may offer neuroprotective properties too. 

Where to find your ingredients:

Your local natural food store or co-op will probably carry these ingredients. If they don’t, you can easily find them online. In my home, Mountain Rose Herbs is our go-to store. 

As we start tuning in to the wisdom of our bodies, and to the knowledge of our elders and ancestors, everything (and I mean everything) eventually comes under the microscope for evaluation. 

For many of us, that might include coffee. 

But with the right healthy coffee alternative, you might surprise yourself by how little coffee you need, if any at all. Instead of reaching for that morning cup as soon as you get out of bed, you may even find yourself craving the recipe above for that delicious flavor and energy boost.

I’m off to brew a cup now…try it out and let us know how it works for you in the comments below!

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science


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284 Responses

  1. I drink yerba mate, Guayaki brand.

    What is the difference between the guayusa and the yerba mate from Guayaki?

    Thank you.

  2. Guayusa leaves, chaga powder, yeah right, I got pounds of that sitting in my cupboards. If I’m not going to have my java, I may as well go in the back yard and pull some dandelions. At least those don’t carry “health food” prices.

  3. Hello Nick, l look forward to your emails everyday. By staying curious as you so well put it, l have learnt so much from your site and would like to say a big thank you from Texas, Queensland. My morning freshly brewed (no instant) coffee includes reishi powder, cacao, cinnamon, turmeric, little cracked pepper and honey… delicious. Cheers.

  4. I gave up coffee three years ago and I have felt better ever since no more anxiety from caffeine. Coffee used to make me sweat profusely and it was too acidic for my digestion. I drink Teecciono Dandelion Carmel Nut tea blended with Chicory that smells like coffee but no side effects. Another one from Teecciono is their Vanilla Nut Chicory herbal coffee (caffeine free). I find it is easier to carry these tea bags to work or for travel keeping it simple.

  5. It is delicious and makes me feel calm and energetic at the same time. Thanks to you I am richer wit new magical ingredients 🙂 Thank you for that recepie. Warm wishes from Poland, Anna

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