New caffeine-free and partially caffeinated drinks provide boosts from adaptogens and other superfoods.

By By Didi Gluck and Renee Cherry
September 11, 2018
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Photo: Ryan Edy/Getty Images

Caffeine is a godsend, but the jitters, anxiety, and wakefulness that can come with it aren't cute. Depending on how sensitive you are, the effects can make a cup of coffee flat-out not worth it. (Related: This Is How Long It Takes Your Body to Start Ignoring Caffeine.)

The latest power brews promise a solution. They contain natural pick-me-ups like red reishi, ashwagandha, maca powder, roasted chicory, or B vitamins-but no actual caffeine. These drinks energize you, "but they're less likely to make you feel shaky or keep you up at night," says Meg Jordan, Ph.D., the chair of integrative health studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. (Here's more on the health and fitness benefits of adaptogens like ashwagandha.)

Plenty of cafés now offer caffeine-free options. Moon Juice in California sells a "Dream Dust Latte" made with coconut milk or almond milk, vanilla, and an adaptogenic blend. The End in Brooklyn sells superfood lattes, including Instagrammy unicorn- and mermaid-inspired drinks. Golden milk is a fixture on tons of menus thanks to the recent turmeric obsession, and it can be made with or without espresso.

Or you can skip the line and mix your own. Element Herbal Coffee is made with roasted chicory and ashwagandha ($12; If PSLs are your weakness, try Teeccino's pumpkin spice herbal coffee alternative with carob and chicory. ($11;

If you shudder at the thought of quitting caffeine completely, you can always stick with something partially-caffeinated. Enter alternative drinks, like Four Sigmatic's Mushroom Coffee Mix ($11;, which has half as much caffeine as a cup of java. Unlike your average half-caf, it contains ingredients like lion's mane, which is thought to support cognitive function, and cordyceps, which have been shown to boost endurance. (See: The Health Benefits of Mushrooms That Make Them One of the Hottest New Superfoods.)

Finally, you can DIY sans mix. Make this pink beet latte recipe when you need to power through a slump or moon milk when you're trying to wind down. So, NBD: If you love caffeine but it doesn't love you back, you've got tons of options.