Caffeine Addiction: To Bean or Not to Bean?


Dear Sweet Friends,

Is a cup of coffee the only thing that wakes you up in the morning? Do you get a headache if you go till noon without a fix? Let’s be honest, for many people (myself included) caffeine addiction is a difficult habit to kick. And although we point the finger at coffee a lot while tackling this subject, there’s a plethora of other habit-forming, caffeinated drinks out there, including soda pop, energy drinks, teas, and hot cocoa (the list goes on).

Some mornings, I enjoy a cup of coffee and I’m not here to tell you that you should deny yourself that pleasure if it’s something you treasure. But if the backseat of your car is littered with Pepsi cans or your desk is covered in a collage of coffee stain rings, you should probably understand how caffeine impacts your health. Your adrenals, kidneys, skin, breath, cholesterol, blood, and blood pressure will thank you. I wrote a lot about caffeine in Crazy Sexy Diet, since countless people have emailed and messaged me about it over the years. I’ve excerpted some of that information here, updated it, added some new goodies and even included an infographic. Let’s get to it!

Why does coffee get a bad rap?

Let’s start by talking about pH, which measures the acidity/alkalinity of your blood and tissues. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 to 6.9 being acidic, 7 being neutral, and 7.1 to 14 being basic, or alkaline. Our blood and tissues love to be at a pH of about 7.365, which is slightly basic or alkaline. This slightly alkaline pH creates an inner ecosystem where your immune system can perform at its peak.

Minerals are required to balance pH in your body. Coffee is the arch enemy of minerals since it’s extremely acidic. When you’re guzzling caffeinated beverages throughout the day, you can kiss pH-balancing minerals goodbye as you flush them down the toilet along with your hot cup of java.

In addition to being acidic, coffee beans are roasted. These beans have oils in them. Roasted oils become rancid and clog up your lovely liver. It’s kinda obvious that this stuff isn’t good for you. The fact that you get the jitters when you drink it, and migraines when you don’t, should tell you something.

The Adrenal Roller Coaster

When you drink caffeine, neurons are triggered in your brain and your adrenal glands start producing adrenaline, the hormone produced when you’re stressed out. This “fight or flight” response is perfect when you need to lift a car off of an injured person, but not if you’re sitting at your desk sorting through emails. When the adrenaline wears off, you’re left feeling wiped out, anxious, and moody. Next stop? You guessed it! Off to dose up on more caffeine, sugar, or other stimulants. It’s a vicious daily cycle.

This continuous roller coaster results in adrenal exhaustion. And when your adrenal glands are tired out, they can’t be as effective at doing their many jobs, which include: producing other essential hormones, boosting your immune system, regulating the health of your body tissues, and balancing blood sugars.

Plus, regular caffeine consumers need more and more caffeine over time to get the same adrenaline boost, which can lead to adrenal burnout (aka your adrenal glands stop producing the hormones and other good guys needed to maintain health). Signs of adrenal burnout include: relentless fatigue, constant low blood sugars, depression and apathy, allergies, joint and muscle pain, and chronic infections.

The good news is that adrenal exhaustion and burnout caused by too much caffeine can be remedied by eliminating excessive stimulants and stresses on the body. Hooray!

Caffeine and Sleep

Caffeine is the enemy of restful sleep. A study just last year measured sleep quality when people consumed 400 mg of caffeine (about the amount in a Venti Starbucks) at bedtime, 3 hours before bedtime, and 6 hours before bedtime. All groups experienced a statistically significant reduction in sleep. So, even that mid-afternoon java break may be disrupting the restfulness and quality of your sleep.

A proper nights sleep, especially between 11 pm and 7 am will help you heal, for real. Restful sleep activates your body’s own regenerative abilities–it’s the time when your body repairs, heals, and restores itself. You don’t have to enter monastic life and stick to perfect sleep hygiene, ya just need to create the conditions for more sleep on a consistent basis. Keep your room cool, block out all light, and definitely dump the coffee by noon—or switch to green tea.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

Ladies, listen up. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that hot mamas who guzzled high doses of caffeine during pregnancy (around 200 milligrams or more per day, or two cups of brewed coffee) had a greater risk of miscarriage than those who drank less caffeine. While some experts have more recently claimed caffeine in 300 mg daily doses isn’t harmful for the growing baby, it’s probably wise to keep the 2008 study in mind and reduce or eliminate caffeine while pregnant.

Caffeine and Boobs

Sorry gals, this one’s for you too. Women who are prone to breast cysts will also want to stay away from coffee and other highly caffeinated drinks. Caffeine tends to increase the lumpiness of breast tissue, making those lumps more tender, and making monthly self exams more difficult to do.

See your gynecologist if you ever feel even the slightest lump. If it turns out to be a benign cyst, you may want to check out evening primrose and vitamin E. (I myself take about 1,000 mg of evening primrose and 400 to 800 IUs of vitamin E.) Of course it’s always smart to talk to your doc about new supplements, so run this by them for good measure.

Wrangling the Joe

Eliminating or reducing caffeinated drinks such as coffee isn’t all that difficult, but don’t do it cold tofurkey. If you’re a heavy caffeine consumer, dumping it suddenly might make you a cranky zombie. Wean yourself slowly over a week or two.

5 Tips to Kick (or Reduce) Caffeine:

  • Make—and down—a green juice before your caffeine consumption! The more juice you drink, the fewer outside stimulants you’ll need, plus you gain a hefty blast of sustainable energy.
  • Have a cuppa green or white tea. The relatively small amount of caffeine in these drinks will definitely help you transition.
  • Try cacao (raw chocolate). It contains only trace amounts of caffeine. I love making a superfood smoothie or delish hot chocolate with cacao.
  • Brew up some Teeccino or Dandy Blend for a cup of herbal coffee.
  • If there’s no way in heck you’ll try any of these alternatives, then at the very least choose organic, shade-grown coffee and cut back to no more than one cup per day. Decaf is even better, especially if you choose water-processed (other decaffeinated coffees use a chemical process—yuck!).

Here’s a handy chart that’ll help you make smarter caffeinated choices:

Smarter-Caffeine-Choices_InfographicView a printable PDF of the infographic here.

Your turn: What are your tips for reducing or eliminating caffeine in your diet?

Peace & chamomile tea,

Kris Carr

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81 responses to Caffeine Addiction: To Bean or Not to Bean?
  1. First of all, WOW, I did not realize that caffeine contributes to lumpy breasts and boy am I ever lumpy. I do like a glass of iced tea once in a while, but also drink decaf coffee during cold winter months thinking there was no harm (or less harm). Phooey. Time for extra E and Primrose Oil and no more caffeine. Thanks for giving us the lowdown!

  2. What about Maca and Matcha (a green tea …so then high in caffeine?) Kris? I hear there are amazing benefits in drinking them. Is Maca caffeinated?

    • Matcha is going to have a high caffeine content, because you’re drinking the pulverized leaves. However, it is balanced out with L-Theanine, because it is made from shade grown tea leaves. This will round off the caffeine jitters, but if you’re looking to avoid caffeine altogether, this probably isn’t the best option

  3. Kris!

    I literally JUST googled caffeine content of coffee vs coke, so that I can get the most bang for my post lunch boost. Your email showed up JUST as I sat down with the coffee that I made after putting the coke back in the fridge once realizing that coffee has more of the jolt. I’m taking this as a sign to not allow myself to get back to my habit wholeheartedly. Thanks for DIVINE TIMING! I’m listening!

  4. What are your thoughts on the green coffee supplements you take in the capsule form?

  5. Hi Kris, I was just diagnosed with late stage adrenal fatigue. My hormone levels are very low and I’ve been dealing with extended fatigue for literally years!! I’m starting my journal towards natural whole living- thank you for beig a warrior and messenger for those of us on this path!

    • Hi jenny, I hope you don’t mind but I read your comment and wanted to give you some support! I started on my journey to recovery after finding out I had very low thyroid function which in turn disrupted my hormones (I went a little wild!). But by finding people like kris and Julie daniluk I was able to stabilize my condition and I’ve never felt better! All the best, stay positive and drink your green juice! X

  6. This caffeine chart is SO helpful! I drink a lot of tea, so it’s great to have a handy chart like this to see how much caffeine I’m consuming from various types of tea. You have a great way of simplifying potentially confusing health info like this. As always, great post, Kris!

  7. Thanks for the info re herba/yerba mate tea. I am highly sensitive to caffeine and didn’t realize what I was getting in that tea, thinking it was so good for me.

  8. Kris,
    Thank you for this article. As a coffee lover, I know how difficult it is to give it up. I really enjoy the ritual and flavor of coffee and drink it for those benefits. Until I learned about caffeine and nutrients. Caffeine is the #1 inhibitor of your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, especially the crucial B-Complex and C vitamins. That was a wake up call for me. As a super healthy eater (a nutritionist and raw food chef), I was shocked to learn all my healthy habits were going down the drain by my love of coffee. Yikes! That was further confirmed when I had extensive blood work done and the proof was in the numbers. I am a happy green chai tea and herbal tea drinker. I’ll keep my essential vitamins in my body, thank you very much :)
    p.s. THANK YOU for the awesome infographic! I would love to share it if that’s OK with you.

  9. I am LOVING your info graphics lately! I’m guessing I’m a visual learner, because they are really helping the info to sink in. Plus I love that I can Pin them for later and quick referencing. Keep this juicy info coming. You are inspiring me to actually go off the coff!

  10. I was a soda addict for over 40 something years! My bright idea for weaning off it was to drink coffee (which I had never touched before). Now I drink one soda and one coffee a day and I can see clearly now that the coffee having so much more caffeine probably wasn’t a great idea after all. Geez.

  11. Uh oh! I’ve never really had an issue with coffee or any caffeine addiction (well maybe dark chocolate!). I used to have a latte every once in a while but I would get super jittery and start thinking I could do a million things and my mind would go into overdrive! Not the best way to become a superhero lol

    RECOMMENDATIONS: I would say a nice shot of wheatgrass could perk you up and LOTS and LOTS of water. Usually when we think we need an energy boost we are usually dehydrated. I’ve recommended this to tons of people and it makes a huge difference :) So simple WATER 😉

    Also having some B-vitamin containing foods (bee pollan, nutritional yeast), magnesium containing foods (go GREENS!) and adaptogens (maca, holy basil tea) would be good for the adrenals and help with sustaining energy and prevent that ‘crash’. It would also leave you feeling all energetic and superhero-like without the mania!

    Hope that helps :)


  12. So funny as I’m actually on my 3rd day without coffee. I’m an espresso drinker. I don’t drink milky coffee as I don’t drink milk. I don’t drink soda either. Or use sugar in any of my drinks. I’m cheating a bit with decaff. Horrible headache day one? Check. Cravings for sugary foods? Check. I don’t even like sweets, I don’t like sweet flavor! What is going on?! I think it totally makes sense to ditch soda, sugary, milky coffee and I can understand how people can see the results straight away. I’m wondering if my 3-5 espressos a day habit is THAT bad. The scary thing for me is the physical dependency. We shall see how long I will last, but I have to say- I won’t stop drinking coffee…

  13. JB said on March 11, 2014

    Thanks for this information. I love Crazy Sexy Diet and am trying to integrate many of your suggestions into my life. Where would Green Rooibos fall on your infochart? Thanks for all you do!

  14. Kris – Is it the caffeine or the coffee itself that’s acidic? It’s the one thing I am little confused about.

    • Hi Lynette!

      Great question! Acidic can mean two things. A food or beverage can be acidic and affect your pH. A food or beverage can also be acidic and upset a sensitive digestive system as experienced with heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some foods that are acidic and disturb a sensitive digestive tract actually make our blood and tissues more alkaline (tomatoes, lemons, etc.).

      Both caffeine and coffee (even decaf) make your blood and tissues more acidic (they lower pH). Coffee in itself is also an acidic beverage (even decaf), and may cause heartburn.

      I hope that helps!


  15. Dandy Blend is the best for kicking coffee! No side effects. Whenever I relapse with coffee, I can substitute Dandy blend in the am instead and feel no detox side effects. :)

  16. Amazing..always thought white tea had less caffeine than green. Probably the reason white tea makes me jittery when green tea doesn’t. A good nights sleep and a regular wake up and sleep time do wonders for reducing my need for a caffeine kick. I love alternatives like Rooibos as it tastes like regular tea, white sage or a strong herbal tea my Hubby and I stock up when visiting his family in Germany. Both of the latter teas have a slight bitter taste which to me tastes as satisfying as coffee. I am able generally to keep it to one cup of Joe a day and I try to make sure it is a quality brand that I enjoy so I can savour it rather than guzzle it down. Another thing is making sure you have a good breakfast and give your body a chance to wake up. I have a lovely scenic bus journey in the morning and a walk to the station..fresh air, a lovely route through parkland and a good breakfast all contribute to reducing my dependency on coffee.

  17. Hi Kris,

    Thank you so much for this post it really is great!
    Just wanted to ask you could please post more information on benign cyst in the breast.
    Doctors don’t tell you much about it an I would like to know what foods to avoid or how to prevent them of growing etc.

    Thank you :)

  18. Dear Kris,

    Thank you so much for your post ! I have a question for you, considering that you are a big fan of Whole Foods, Market I was wondering whether you had came accross Tiemans’ Fusion Coffee, which is apparently a low acid coffee, fused with tons of antioxydants (i.e. matcha green tea, rooibos red tea, and goji berry powders)?

    My boyfriend gave me a bag last Christmas and I was impressed that it actually tasted like regular coffee. However, due to the fact that it is a bit more pricey than regular coffee, I have not integrated it in my weekly shopping list. I was wondering what were your thoughts on this coffee? Do you think that we are getting the benefits that they claim on their website? I know we are probably not staying away from the damageable effects of caffeine, however I was wondering if you thought it is worth the investment for coffee lovers?

    Many thanks!

  19. Drinking coffee and tea also reduces your body’s ability to absorb iron (I found this out the hard way). It seems that coffee and tea have high levels of polyphenol compounds which can reduce iron update by as much as 60%. Switching to de-caffeinated versions doesn’t help either as it is the tannins which are mostly the problem.

  20. I gave up coffee for the 3 week cleanse and it’s the only thing I truly missed. Now I make a batch of cold-pressed once a week and drink one cup a day (heated with hot water). Not perfect but better.

  21. Hi Kris,

    I love your work and your story, and am intrigued by this article. Recently I seem to have come across several articles saying that coffee’s “bad rap” is largely unfounded when you look at the majority of recent, peer reviewed research on it. Some studies say that, in fact, the net impact of moderate consumption of coffee/caffeine is positive in most circumstances (pregnant women and people with high blood pressure excluded).

    It gets very confusing when people I trust and respect (like you!) present conflicting opinions on a topic. I’m wondering what your main sources of information are on this topic (other than the two linked studies re: caffeine and sleep and pregnancy), and what your thought are on any other studies that seem to suggest the opposite?

    Please know that I am not posting this to be difficult or negative. I would just like some insight as to how you gain confidence in your sources when researching, as there seems to be valid evidence out there supporting opposing claims.

    Thank you!


    • Dear Mike,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I reached out to my Health Editor, Jennifer Reilly RD about your question and here’s what she had to say:

      “In this case, there are a number of studies showing that a small daily intake of caffeine may be beneficial for colon health, digestion, cancer prevention, heart health, etc. But at the same time, there are just as many studies showing that caffeine has no beneficial effect (yet no harmful effect if consumption is under 2 cups of coffee daily). Our nutrition research team always looks for meta-analyses, which are giant analyses of every single peer-reviewed study ever published on a single topic. Meta-analyses help eliminate any research that may be biased, or include a small, statistically insignificant sample size.

      As an example, here is a meta-analysis of caffeine consumption and bone fracture risk in women and men: Published last month, this meta-analysis analyzed data from 9 cohort and 6 case-control studies. The conclusion was that daily coffee consumption increased fracture risk in women and decreased it in men. However, while the results were statistically significant, the researchers still encourage further research on this topic before making any recommendations. Since so much research is like this for caffeine, we decided to stick to what was definite (no more than a small amount daily), and also address a couple of the topics around caffeine that our readers have already asked about.”

      I hope that helps to answer your question!


  22. My incentive for kicking coffee is something different and very effective. Being acidic coffee silently eats away the enamel on your teeth (and also stains them)..

  23. Years ago I got in the habit of drinking – big YIKES! – Sanka. I got a big lump in my breast, but it went away when I stopped the Sanka. So, even though it was supposed to be decaf, it was still the problem. I can’t help wondering if that episode had anything to do with the breast cancer I developed 35 years later. To tell the truth, I can’t even remember if it was the same breast.

  24. I worry more about the acidity of coffee than the caffeine. Don’t you worry about it’s affect on your body’s pH?

  25. I think so many of us are addicted to coffee without even being aware of it. It’s there at breakfast time, social gatherings, work meetings, when eating out….we just can’t seem to get away from it. Scary that most of us are probably drinking more coffee than ever combined with high stress days, poor sleeping patterns, fatigue etc. I think the cheat sheet is a fantastic way to wean yourself off it or at least drink it occasionally with some herbal tea. My husband will be receiving a printed copy of the post that I can subtly attach to the coffee machine.

  26. I bought two of your books a few days ago and i haven’t been able to put them down, its actually interfering with my work and sleep. I just cant get enough – my boyfriend now calls the CSD book my new bible. I am two days caffeine free and my head has not stopped pounding – I was a one or two coffee a day kinda gal so I thought quitting coffee would be no sweat. WRONG, its hard but im pushing my way through.

    PS. Thanks for all the fabulous information, you rock!

  27. Kris…I know you’re right…I’m right on board with everything you’re saying. However, I’m a coffee LOVER: I love the aroma, the taste, the ritual of it. I have brewed coffee in the a.m., and usually 1 cup or a skim latte in the afternoon with no sleeping issues (unless of course, I’m either not aware that my sleep is not as good as it could be, or I drink my coffee too late in the day). I *adore* coffee, but also agree with all of the amazing health benefits which come with giving it up. Is it possible to “wean” myself down with a mix of regular/decaf brewed coffee, and then work my way to perhaps a cup of decaf in the afternoon so that I can still enjoy all the great flavor of coffee? While I do enjoy the occasional cup of herbal tea with honey, there’s nothing like an iced Americano on a summer day. Can pH balance improve by making the eventual switch over to decaf?

  28. Hi Kris
    I gave up coffee for January and apart from a bit of a minor relapse recently I’m generally off it. Although I have noticed I’m sneaking a bit more tea in which could be adding up so the graphic is a really helpful reminder. I did go cold turkey which I don’t recommend, then ended up transitioning with green tea which seemed to take the edge off. I also miss the coffee flavour and have found Prewitts Chicory coffee (no Dandy Blend in the UK) works best for me.
    I have been aware of the affects off caffeine on the adrenals and the fact is that as we hit perimenopause./menopause the adrenals need to step in and help compensate for falling oestrogen levels. This is a big motivation as a 40something woman to ease off the caffeine and get those adrenals firing on all cylinders.
    A big positive effect for me is that I’ve noticed when I’m off the caffeine I crave sweet things way less. Anyway great reminder, will pin the graphic! thanks Jayne x

  29. Thank you for this article.
    I live in Switzerland , here they drink solo much coffee and the strong kind. since I came here about 9 years ago, I started drinking more and more coffee, until I became really addicted and aware of it, lately I have to admit that I sometimes reached the burnout level.

    I hardly drink soda, but coffee is my weakness, you don’t want to know but sometimes i drink about 5 a day,
    your message is like a wake up call.
    I am going to try to cut down slowly until I reach the one a day target that I set to myself , I have to say that when I have the fresh green drink (which i love) I no longer crave coffee that much then.
    thank you for your lovely advice
    i would be grateful if you can give me tips on what to do with my kids who refuse to drink the green drinks and how to introduce more veggies in their diet.

  30. Coffee is my last vice! I smoked for 15 years and found giving up nasty cigarettes easier than my one cup a day. I remember getting to day three and thinking I was going to pass out from the migraine, the scary thing was within five minutes of relenting and having a coffee it disappeared like it never happened. I have been thinking about using eft/tapping to help with withdrawals…has anyone tried this??? X

  31. I just recently cut back on my caffeine and am now just doing decaf. I really thought I would be the last person in the world to do this because I am in love with coffee! Not just the addiction to caffeine but also just the behaviors surrounding it!

  32. Hi ! I have recently cut right down to just one cup of black tea in the mornings!!! I did it with NO headaches by drinking ionised, reverse osmosis water which I now sell the filters for! I have a portable bottle available which you can fill from any tap and the filter and magnets live in the bottle !!! :) <3
    Also – can we livestream your event tomorrow with Marianne !? :) xxx

  33. Great info–thanks for this! I haven’t had coffee since I started an anti-candida diet back in 2009, and while I do usually go with herbal tea, I have matcha green tea every morning (love), and sometimes kombucha. For some reason, I never think of kombucha as having caffeine! I’m curious to see if matcha has the same caffeine levels as regular green tea–I’m off to check now. (And I agree that Dandy Blend is a great sub when you want a dark, hot, yummy beverage). :)

  34. Makes me glad I didn’t give into peer pressure and start drinking coffee after entering university, haha. Does green tea (standard sencha) have adverse health effects as well? I recently started drinking about 1-2 cups per day and it’s helped me solidify a meditation habit so hopefully not.

  35. Thanks Kris, I will experiment with drinking less coffee thanks to this post. Love your stuff and your books…keep up the wicked work.


  36. Kris…this was probably your BEST blog post yet! thank you. I’ve kicked coffee this year (since Nov along with sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol) so i’m not struggling with it but this was just jamba packed with awesome information. nicely done! ill be sharing it with a few people i know!

  37. Very nice blog! So informative! Thank you beautiful girl.

    I drink green matcha tea, 4 teaspoons a day. Should I cut it on half? Is it too much?

    • I also want to ask, at what time should I take all my vitamins? I take vitamin A, E, B, C, Folic Acid to Zinc and the list goes on.

      If I drink Matcha green tea in the morning and before going to bed i take my vitamins, maybe just maybe I can rescue the green tea and I won’t flush away my vitamins right away.

      What do you think? Does anyone have a point of view on timing on vitamins?

      Thank you Kris!

      • Hi Susan,

        We checked in with our Health Editor, Jennifer Reilly RD about your question and here’s what she had to say:

        Drinking tea in the morning and taking supplements at night shouldn’t hinder absorption. Some nutrients bind to others and some enhance the absorption of others, so those are also considerations. As an example, iron competes with calcium, zinc, magnesium, and copper for absorption, so iron should be taken separately. But, vitamin C triples iron absorption, so taking those supplements together may boost your iron levels.

        We hope that’s helpful!

        Team Crazy Sexy

  38. Hi Kris!
    Thanks for the handy chart! I think for many people drinking coffee is a lot about the ritual. For people who drink their coffee with milk, switching to tea often leaves them unsatisfied, because it’s not as satiating. So I often suggest to my clients to put some rice-, oat- or nut milk in their tea to make it a more satisfying drink or to switch to hot chocolate made with high quality cacao. That way they still have the ritual of the satisfying hot drink, but without all the acidity. Thank you for including ml in your chart Kris!

  39. I don’t drink soda, rarely have chocolate, and even more rarely have tea. So I’m okay with my 1 cup of coffee a day. :)

  40. NO, NO, NO! Kris, there is finally a real choice for coffee drinkers that you may not be aware of!

    PLEASE go to to view the video of Sisel owner and chief scientific officer, Tom Mower, describing the “cooking” (vs roasting) process of Sisel Kaffe that preserves the good ingredients in coffee. Our kaffe is organic and purely processed and enhanced with CHAGA, GANODERMA, GOTU KOLA and BACOPA to support both brain and body functions. IT IS GOOD FOR YOU! No caffeine buzz or crash- just sustained energy levels. We use the #1 rated coffee bean in the world, and it tastes great.

    I would love to send you some samples, and your readers can order it at or contact me at for a free sample. We just released Fat-Burning Thermogenic WEIGHT LOSS support coffee, and it has the same healthy ingredients in addition to core weight loss support.

    People love coffee, so give them the option to drink the best-tasting and healthiest coffee in the world!! (from the company devoted to ridding the world of toxic products!) Thank you, Kris, for all that you do. Jean Schoenecker

  41. I love my morning cup of Joe or cup of tea, but I do agree that one great way to kick the habits is to drink a green juice. I have been starting out my mornings with smoothies and I haven’t even wanted coffee after! :-)

  42. Love the caffeine content graphic! Just wanted to give you a heads up, certain white teas can have just as much caffeine as black teas. It depends a lot on how long you steep a tea:

    Also, anyone looking to kick coffee, here is a nice article on top 5 coffee substitutes. Personally, I really love Purple Tulsi for a caffeine free option. It has a nice calming, balancing effect:

  43. Hi Kris!
    I was drinking 2 small soy lattes a day – the only caffeine I was consuming in a day. For the past 2 months I have been wanting to stop the caffeine intake. I read your post & on Thursday morning I had my last soy latte. It took me 36 hours to get over the caffeine withdrawals & it was soooooo worth it! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  44. Hi Kris,
    I´m acctually proud to have managed to reduced my cups of coffee to about 1-2 cups a week. The reason why I still want these cups is because I love the smell and the taste of coffee ( sorry 😉 ) so much. The days I don´t drink coffee I drink green tea instead.
    I know when I was 16 years old, I was diagnosed autoimmune hepatite, and I was seeing a kind of homopat who told me to not drink coffee and tea. Just herbal tea. Just because of that I have kind of difficult to drink chamomile tea now, but he told me that there is a kind of coffee made of bambu that works fine to drink, if I wanted to have something that reminded me of coffee.
    The bambucoffee is instant kind of coffee, but I haven´t tried it since then ( and that is quite a while). When my liver didn´t get any better I started to drink coffee and tea again after a couple of years. Do you know any other kind of coffee that doesn´t effect our body? I have seen that there is barley coffee as well. I guess that also could be an option?
    Please advise what you think of this?
    Thanks for everything you learn us.
    / Madelaine from Sweden

  45. Hi Kris – I was reading the comments and so many commented about quitting cold turkey. Ouch. I just wanted to say that last year (after ready your CSD) I weaned myself off of my morning cup of joe over a 4 week period, cutting it down by 1/4 per week. That seemed to work out really well and no headache, however I was still cranky and irritable for a week or so after. I was kind to myself and got some extra rest. Then I treated myself to one cup of coffee a week, usually Sunday’s. Then… I went out of town for work, missed some sleep, drank coffee, drank it again and within 4 days I was hooked again. It sneaks up on you. Then I forgot how acidic coffee was and decided to keep drinking it.

    Thank you for the reminder! Green tea is way better and gives me much better breath! Your awesome!!
    xo Lara

  46. Cacao does not contain caffeine. It’s stimulant component is called theobromine which occurs only in cacao. Similar molecular structures but it’s not caffeine.

  47. If you decide to try quitting caffeine, here’s a great article on how to support your body through the detox:

  48. Wow! This is such great info – complete & concise! I’m a self-proclaimed coffee junkie – I really just love starting my day with a cuppa Joe, but recently did a detox where I couldn’t drink coffee and have since been drinking decaf or green tea lattes. I honestly feel calmer and clearer than ever! The caffeine is totally unnecessary, but my love for coffee isn’t going anywhere!

  49. Jan said on May 11, 2014

    My daughter and I were just talking about quitting coffee. We’re trying to clean up all areas of our health/life and you are a huge inspiration and knowledgeable resource! This is a great article with helpful links.

    Kris, what do you think about coffee/caffeine contributing to osteoarthritis symptoms and/or generalized inflammation in the body?

    Thank you!

  50. I just recently found out that I may have an ulcer and need to stop drinking coffee. IT’s been so hard but now after reading this I think it’s time to stop. I’ll switch to green tea, it still has caffeine but at least it’s miniscule compared to a cup of coffee.

  51. Green tea doesn’t have any caffeine

    • Hi Dagmara,

      Green tea can have varying levels of caffeine depending on brand, steeping time, etc. But, it does contain a mild level of caffeine. This is why you see decaf green tea available as well. For more details, visit

  52. Pretty sure green tea has more caffiene than white tea. White, green and black tea are all the same leaf just picked at different times and the earliest picked (white) has less caffiene than the latest picked (black). Great write up otherwise!

  53. I stopped drinking coffee three months ago and I feel so much better now. I sleep better at night, I’m less anxious and I don’t crash during the day anymore. I was so addicted. I stopped cold turkey and had headaches for a few days but it was worth it!

  54. PLEASE BE aware. Evening primrose is ESTROGENIC. If you have fibrous tumors they will grow. I use Black Currant Seed Oil instead.

  55. First, I would like to say thank you for this post! I gave up caffeine (for the most part) several years ago! People always offer me tea as a substitute.. They don’t believe me when I say that it still contains caffeine.. :) I wanted to let you know a couple other effects it can have on a body, it can also cause, or at least contribute to fibroids in the uterus. I was curious about something on your list though. I am from CO. In Boulder there is a tea company that gives tours (Celestial Seasonings) and during a tour, they take you into a room where they keep some tea. They also explain the growing process, and where they get their tea. During this time they told us white tea has the least amount of caffeine, then green, then black. This is because of the maturity of the leaf when it is picked. I didn’t mention herbal tea as it is caffeine free. I was just curious about your chart since it has green tea having less than white. Do you know how they check the amount of caffeine found in different products?

  56. Very good info. :)

  57. No beans from now on.

  58. YERBA MATE HAS NO CAFFEIN!!! I live in Argentina, where yerba mate is from, and it has no caffeine, but matein (mateína) and it´s healthy because its antioxidant and naturally stimulative.

  59. Thank you for the very good information. There is one more thing I’d like to know. how about Chai tea and Chai Latte ? Do they have lots of caffeine as well ?

  60. Agree that dandy blend is a great substitute, but it did have one side effect for me. Gas, and I mean gas, gas, gas. It never went away, in the end I stopped using dandy blend.

  61. I had to stop reading. You have no idea what you are writing about, and offering a great disservice to your readers. As an artesian coffee roaster, of 10 years, I am heartbroken that you did absolutely no homework. I hope no one reads this article.

    • Please expand. Do you really disagree with every point in the article or just a part of it?

    • Hi Joanna,

      As I mentioned in the beginning of my blog, I enjoy a cup of joe some mornings. I’m not meaning to be anti-coffee, just trying to educate our readers on the health aspects of caffeine intake and inform them of the varying levels of caffeine in different drinks.


  62. My doctortold me to avoid coffee because caffeine is bad for bone density. I’m surprised that isn’t mentioned as a drawback here. I mostly drink grain beverages, i,e, Teecino and Cafix and herbal and decaf teas. Sometimes I’ll have a decaf coffee when I go out, but I don’t keep any at home. I need my bones!

  63. My ex-husband drank so much coffee every day that he had an ongoing prescription for a drug that helped him to slow down his speech and focus at work. I’m not sure the doctor even knew it was caffeine causing the problem since my ex didn’t always tell the truth about himself.

  64. I only drink 1 cup coffee/day. 25 yrs. ago, I read that the caffeine consumption made it difficult to lose weight, so I thought I would quit. It wasn’t easy – I got severe headaches & a feeling of dopiness (not sharp & on the ball). So I ‘weaned’ off!

    When I made coffee in the morning, I used 4 scoops coffee & 4 cups water (even though I drank only 1 cup). For the 1st week, I reduced 1 scoop regular & used decaf in place. Each week I reduced 1 scoop & replaced it with decaf. The 2nd week was too early, so another week with 3 scoops regular & 1 scoop decaf. I continued until all 4 scoops were decaf. Then I had to wean off the decaf – gradually reducing down to 1/2 cup decaf in the morning, then just a few sips. Finally I was off coffee altogether.
    I don’t drink sodas (even diet), or black teas.

    I can attest to the addictiveness of caffeine because the whole process took me 5 or 6 months!!

  65. I have IBS. While I do enjoy a few cups of coffee, I often have a bad reaction to it. What other drink options can I have? I started drinking filtered water with organic lemons in it. That makes me feel better.

  66. Thank you, Kris for this great info! When I first read it, I started tappering off the coffee, then the the tea, and now it’s been just over a month being 95% caffine free!! ( A little green iced tea a few times.) I’m sleeping better (more, which I guess I needed), and my skin feels clearer and brighter, and I’m much less agitated and impatient! (Yay!) My one question / concern is that even though I eat a super healthy vegan diet with lots of veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, I am experiencing constipation and it’s cramping my style! I’m baffled because I even add a little psyllium husk in my smoothy every day! My AM coffee, I realize, was a great activator of the morning elimination routine, and I miss feeling ‘cleared out’ as I head out into my day. Any suggestions? I don’t want to go back on the bean (or drink caffine at all, for that matter), but something’s gotta give, if you know what I mean!

  67. Wow, not one mention of the affects of coffee vs the affects of Ritalin in the whole caffeine bash?

    do i get jittery, a head ache, or insomnia regularly? why yes, but that was there long before my first cup of tea. ADD and a family history of blood sugar disorders mean that when my hands shake, my head hurts, or i can’t sleep, it was probably too much starch in my diet.

    You see, that whole adrenaline boost you mention is exactly what Ritalin and many other ADD and ADHD meds were formulated to cause to trick our brains out of short circuiting. that’s right, just like coffee, tea, and yerba mate. unfortunately one of the most common side affects of the pharma version is vomiting and loss of apatite. This means that while there may be some side affects from caffeine, at least you can skip the esophagus erosion.

    Oh, and as far as actual ph? Coffee is less acidic than orange juice thanks to citric acid aka vitamin c. What happens when you don’t eat any citric acid? Your cells just kind of start falling apart and your teeth fall out in a condition called scurvy. Acidic is not only not horrible for you, but when balanced correctly with alkaline is good for you. Well, you could ignore me and eat a whole package of crystallized ginger in a sitting and see how long you can hold the strong alkaline in your stomach, but I don’t recommend it. Been there, had to swig vinegar to keep it down.