Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute

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Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy
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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. However, 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: 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) 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: an easily digestible form of gelatin that supports skin, hair, nails, and digestion and is a good source of protein.
Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy

Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute Recipe

An herbal alternative to coffee that is loaded with natural protein and healthy fats for a natural energy boost.
Calories 158kcal
Author Katie Wells


1 cup



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


Nutrition Facts
Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 13.5g84%
Sodium 27mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 0.3g0%
Protein 6g12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


44 responses to “Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute”

  1. candy tutt Avatar
    candy tutt

    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 ! 😉

    1. Carol L Avatar

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

  2. Christina Avatar

    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!!

    1. Tammy Avatar

      Try MCT oil instead of coconut oil and ghee instead of grass fed butter.

  3. Lore Smith Avatar
    Lore Smith

    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!

  4. Molly Schwab Avatar
    Molly Schwab

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

  5. Kathryn Avatar

    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.

  6. Debbie Avatar

    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.

  7. Tanya Avatar

    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.

  8. Kari Avatar

    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 🙂

  9. Anastasia Avatar

    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?

    1. Elizabeth Avatar

      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.

  10. chris czajkowski Avatar
    chris czajkowski

    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!)

  11. Marissa Avatar

    5 stars
    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…..in 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!!

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      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

  12. Meg Avatar

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

  13. Nancy Russell Avatar
    Nancy Russell


4.30 from 10 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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