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5 Alternatives to Coffee to Get You Through Your Classes

Coffee cup and coffee beans on wooden background.

It can be awkward when your friends always want to go for coffee before class but you’re not a coffee drinker. Perhaps you don’t like the taste or the jitters it gives you. Alternatively, you may be trying to cut down on your caffeine intake. Whatever the case, there’s no need to feel left out — you have plenty of other options for hot beverages, most of which you can purchase at a coffee shop or prepare at home.

1. Matcha

You likely already know about some of the health benefits of green tea, which can include aiding weight loss, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure. Matcha is green tea in powdered form, which means you’ll be consuming more of the tea leaves and therefore more antioxidants. However, you should be aware that this also means it has more caffeine — depending on how much powder you use, it can even have more caffeine than a typical cup of coffee. You can prepare matcha just with water or add steamed milk (dairy or otherwise) to create a matcha latte.

2. Rooibos Tea

Also called red tea, rooibos tea is from South Africa. It’s an ideal choice if you’re looking for something high in antioxidants but you’re worried about consuming too many tannins, as these can impact iron absorption. Although there are limited studies on the health benefits of rooibos tea, one thing is for sure: it’s delicious. You can enhance the slightly sweet, fruity taste with some honey and lemon. Plus, there’s good news if you tend to be a bit forgetful: your tea won’t become bitter if you leave it brewing for too long.

3. Chicory Root Coffee

Although it’s called coffee (and, indeed, it tastes like coffee), this chicory root beverage is naturally free from caffeine. If you have a coffee maker, you can simply replace coffee beans with ground chicory root. Chicory coffee also has the advantages of being high in soluble fibre and of stimulating bile production — both characteristics that can aid digestion.

4. Golden Milk

There are many varieties of golden milk, all of which are packed with spices including turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, and vanilla. All these ingredients are caffeine free and have a number of health benefits. Most importantly, though, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, which makes this beverage a great choice for pain relief. It’s best to find one that has black pepper, too, as this helps your body absorb curcumin: the active compound in turmeric.

You can drink golden milk hot or cold, with water, milk, or both. If you buy an unsweetened mix, you may like to add a little honey.

5. Spiced Chai

Another option with spices (although with a less-intense flavour) is spiced chai. It is typically made with black tea, but you can also find it made with green, white, or even rooibos tea. The lower caffeine content means you won’t gain the same burst of energy as you do with coffee, but it can still keep you feeling alert. You can purchase spiced chai as a loose leaf mix or in tea bags or you can make your own by combining spices like cardamom, cloves, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.

Whatever your preferred beverage, it’s much less expensive to prepare hot drinks at home. However, this can be a challenge when you lack your own kitchen. Since living on campus means you lack many other conveniences as well, see this as the push you need to start looking for apartments for rent. Waterloo students don’t need to look far — you can move into King Street Tower. As well as a spacious kitchen with granite countertops, you’ll have your own bedroom, with the option of an en suite bathroom and private balcony. Contact us to secure your spot.

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