Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute

Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy

I love coffee, especially when I make it with healthy fats and collagen, but there are times that I choose not to consume coffee (like during my 30-Day Autoimmune Reset).

Why No Coffee?

I’m not anti-coffee at all and there are many health benefits attributed to coffee. At times, I find it is better not to consume coffee and a small percentage of people won’t tolerate it at all.

I avoid coffee on the autoimmune reset because coffee is technically a seed, not a bean. As Sarah Ballantyne explains:

Coffee is made from a seed (not a legume, but the pit of the coffee fruit). Right away this should put us on the alert since seeds tend to contain protective compounds to prevent digestion and thereby ensure the survival of the plant species. In the case of wheat, those compounds cause increased intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut) and prime the immune system to exaggerate inflammation and potentially cause autoantibody formation, which is clearly detrimental to our health. In the case of the itty bitty seeds in blueberries, those compounds have such a low toxicity level as to have a negligible effect on our health (and the beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols in blueberries more than compensate!).

Most people do just fine with coffee, but I’ve found it is helpful to stop drinking it for a month or so once in a while just to make sure my body is doing ok with it and to mix things up a little.

Another possible concern with coffee is the caffeine content. Again, many people do just fine with this, but I found that my cortisol patterns were the opposite of what they were supposed to be (low in morning and high an night) and found that temporarily removing coffee and caffeine helped a lot.

Additionally, individuals with Celiac disease should consider removing coffee because of the potential cross reactivity. From Mickey Trescott:

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should definitely explore the possibility that coffee may be harmful to you. Coffee is one of the most common cross-reactive foods to gluten, meaning some people’s bodies may recognize them as the same or very similar.

In other words, coffee is great for some people, but others have trouble with it. The easiest way to know is to remove it for a month (or longer) and then gauge reaction when it is added back in.

An Alternative…

I still love drinking something warm and nourishing in the morning, so when coffee isn’t an option, I make an herbal tea substitute. It isn’t exactly the same, but it is an easy way to sneak in some collagen protein and healthy fats.

I’ve also consumed a mug of warm bone broth at times, though it doesn’t have quite the same appeal. For my Autoimmuni-Tea  Herbal Coffee Substitute, I’ve found a variety of teas and herbs will work. My favorites are:

  • Dandelion Root Tea – My favorite. It is said to be great for the liver and for digestion and I love the earthy taste.
  • Rooibos Tea– Another great option. Slightly sweeter than Dandelion naturally and great flavor.
  • Pu-ehr Tea– A rich, earthy tea that is said to help cholesterol levels (not a problem for me) and other things. I’ve not ever taken this one while pregnant/nursing and would definitely check with a doc first if you are.

I also add:

  • Grass fed butter is a great source of Vitamin K2 which helps decalcify arteries and is important for proper blood clotting. There is also research that it can lower the risk of heart disease. (source) (NOTE: I don’t add this when I am on the autoimmune protocol until I’ve been on it for at least a month, though I do find that I tolerate butter well) Ghee is another good choice.
  • Coconut Oil (or MCT oil) is a great source of Lauric Acid and Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which are an excellent easy fuel source for the body and brain
  • Collagen Hydrolysate is an easily digestible form of gelatin that supports skin, hair, nails and digestion and is a good source of protein. (This is the collagen hydrolysate I use)
Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy

4 votes


Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute

An herbal alternative to coffee that is loaded with natural protein and healthy fats for a natural energy boost.


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) of brewed tea of choice (see options above)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (reset diet safe) or grassfed butter if tolerated
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Collagen Hydrolysate (work up slowly)
  • (optional) 1/2 tsp of real vanilla bean or vanilla bean extract (I don't use this for the first few weeks)


  1. Brew a strong tea with the tea bag of choice.
  2. Add other ingredients and blend for 15-20 seconds until emulsified.
  3. Enjoy.

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What do you drink in the morning? Coffee? Tea? Water? Share below!

This autoimmune-safe herbal coffee substitute recipe uses herbal tea and natural sources of protein and healthy fats for an energy boost without caffeine.

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Reader Comments

  1. Is the dandelion safe while nursing?

    • I’ve taken it while nursing, but you should always check with your midwife/OB first.


  3. And this is why I LOVE your blog 🙂 such great topics AND informative/knowledgable 🙂 way to go girl! xoxoxo

  4. Love this site so much!! I’ve been in need of a Wellness factor in my life and this site rocks! Question about the collagen hydrolysate… this recipe you mention to ‘work up slowly’. Can you clarify what you mean by that? I bought the brand you recommend, but have not yet tried it. Thanks!!

    • I started with a tsp a day and then added a little each day to get to a tablespoon, etc. The reason is that if your body isn’t used to getting those amino acids, it can cause loose stool for a while during the adjustment

      • Thanks so much!

  5. Bulletproof cacao tea fixed like this is really good too.

  6. Beware the label “Grass fed beef.” According to Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) much of it is raised in the usual feedlot factory farm, where it is fed GMO corn, then turned out to pasture for the last 2 weeks of its life.
    The pasture, too, is artificially fertilized and probably fed pesticides, in other words, not healthy grass.
    I am lucky in that I live in a wild area where cows range for the summer months on wild weeds. Most steers are finished on home-grown hay (also pretty weedy!)

    • I also drink Teeccino herbal coffee when I’m taking a break from my toddy coffee. Even though I don’t get the high acid content with the toddy coffee, I like to take a break once in a while from coffee. I just ordered the Teeccino dandelion flavor along with a few other flavors and can’t wait to try them. I drink dandelion root tea and really like the flavor so I’m really excited about Teeccino’s version.

  7. What about chicory coffee?

  8. Thank you for a lot of helpful information!
    I’m following an autoimmune protocol too and I discovered that both coffee and tea make me feel horrible, so I am looking for a good subsititute. Wanted to ask what are your thoughts on chicory?

  9. I am trying to help my husband heal esophageal ulcers so I made up a bulletproof herbal tea for him instead of his usual BP coffee:
    1 T. Dandy Blend
    8 oz. hot water
    2 oz. canned coconut milk
    1 T. Red Palm Oil (for Vit. E)
    1/8 t. Cinnamon
    1/8 t. Ginger ( for inflammation)
    1/4 t. Turmeric ( for infamation)
    Couple of grinds of black pepper (supposed to make turmeric more effective)

    Katie, I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts on wether this might be helpful for him. He says it tastes pretty good 🙂

  10. Just a note… pu-ehr tea does contain some caffeine, although I believe it’s less than black tea and comparable to some green teas. I love the same brand that you mentioned and agree that it’s a good coffee substitute. I just limit it to a cup or two in the a.m. to prevent any sleep issues.

  11. How would I find out more about my cortisol patterns- I drink offer/tea w/kerrygold/coconut oil but by afternoon I have cravings for sweets that I feel like has to do with my caffiene intake- but I need the morning boost. Can dr test my cortisol ? Where can I find more info on it ? Thanks !!! Love your site.

  12. I love pu-ehr tea and it has an amazing earthy taste. If you do drink it I would most definitely recommend ones that have been aged longer, even though you’d probably have to find it from an actual Chinese tea store. They come in these huge pressed cakes, and though they can be expensive, a cake lasts me years. Also, since it is aged it’s always good to do one quick rinse on the tea leaves with hot water before steeping to remove any dust and such. It also has tons of caffeine—more than coffee I think, by the way it effects me.

  13. What about using chicory as a substitute?

  14. My husband has a sensitivity to caffine in general we use sometimes chickory for him.

  15. I’ve discovered ramon berry beverage. It tastes like coffee with a hint of chocolate. It has zero caffeine and is super healthy! I love in mexico and it’s grown locally. However I’ve seen it online as tea-cino. A delicious, non addicting alternative!

  16. I love the boost of caffeine I get from coffee (one cup gets me through the day!), but I don’t like hot drinks. I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe for a cold (either over ice or blended) coffee or coffee alternative drink that still has health benefits. (I’ve never been able to figure out how to add Coconut Oil to a cold smoothie without getting the lumps from the temperature change. I do use the gelatin that dissolves in cold liquids.) I’d love to see a recipe for a cold coffee/coffee alternative drink if you’re looking for your next project!!

  17. Is dandy blend safe for this reset? I noticed it has roasted barley, I think.

    • I don’t consume barley on the reset and just use dandelion root tea instead.

    • According to the bag, all of the grains have been processed so that no gluten remains when it is done.

  18. I make coffee with half regular and half decaf ~ my husband doesn’t know the difference and I can make myself a coconut oil latte ! 😉

  19. kate,

    did you notice that numi tea is stapled!

    • What do you mean “stapled”?

  20. I ADORE coffee, however in the last few months my body has been reacting badly to it, by experiencing a headache if i don’t have coffee following on from if i did the previous day. This even happens when i’ve abstained for a good week or two. My coffee of choice is a long black (Americano), I wonder if you have any solutions to this/any clues?

    Also, I’ve been having headaches not related to coffee at all in the last months, which I tracked to be occurring AFTER I finished my exams. Any thoughts?

  21. I make mine with matcha powder sometimes! I like to add either honey or stevia with the matcha, I don’t love green tea by itself

  22. Is Danelion Root tea safe while pregnant? I love a warm drink in the morning especially now that it is getting cold.

  23. Mama,

    I am reading your 7 Simple Steps for Healthier Families and it mentions green tea as starting the ‘building blocks for better sleep’ do you have a green tea that you recommend? Or can you tell me which tea recipe is best for readying your body for sleep throughout the day?


  24. I drink hot lemon water with 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp tumeric, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1/2tsp. maple syrup

  25. Hi there! I absolutely love all of your recipes. I still use your homemade lotion recipe and plan on trying the homemade toothpaste. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for natural healthy energy drinks? I am trying to remove caffeine completely from my diet because I’m a singer and it’s bad for my voice. Even decaf teas or coffees could be bad if they are acidic. I’m having a hard time finding a good substitute . Any suggestions?

  26. I’ve gotten into the Pur-Ehr tea lately, and I’ve been brewing it with a few teaspoons of coconut oil, first thing in the morning. I find the coconut oil makes me feel a little ill, however, maybe its just the oily nature of it?

    I Have no desire to give up coffee (I use it wisely), but I can’t drink it on an early stomach, so the above concoction is my first drink of the day.

    I like how you add Collagen Hydrolysate for protein – I’ll give it a go.

    The drink in your picture almost looks like a real coffee – maybe placebo is playing a part in it!