Caffeine is glorious. I used to gobble roasted coffee beans like candy and bask in the aroma of supermarket coffee aisles.
But then last winter, I learned that caffeine was hurting me. It nudged me towards vertigo and migraines, leaving me so nauseous and unstable that I couldn’t work for two months.
So, I had to cut back.
Which meant I had to find other ways to indulge. So whether you’re Mormon or migrainous or just plain wanting to kick the habit, here are my favorite options for the caffeine-free in Seattle:
- Vanilla Rooibos Latte
Although I discovered this through Starbucks, the chain has since stopped serving it. Plenty of coffeehouses still do, though, from Louisa’s Café and Bakery on Eastlake to Cederberg Tea House in Queen Anne. The latter specializes in all things South African and draws a damn fine cup of rooibos. They also sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar, making this a drinkable snickerdoodle with a shortbread cookie on the side. Win-win.
- Rooibos White Chocolate Mocha
The good news is that cutting back on coffee doesn’t have to mean cutting back on sugar and fat. I mean, let’s get healthy one step at a time, please. So far as I know, Cederberg is the only place in Seattle that serves this, and even if they’re not, it’s so good, you won’t need to look anywhere else. Mocha monogamy made in heaven.
- Peppermint Tea Latte
If rooibos just isn’t your thing—without flavoring, it can be bitter and plain—go British and choose your favorite herbal tea for a latte. For me, that’s peppermint at Le Reve Bakery on Queen Anne Avenue. They’ve got a respectable selection of Harney & Sons teas, and while I recommend the Paris tea for the caffeine-inclined, their peppermint is something special. Ask the staff to pull you a latte, and you’ll get some respectable foam. Highly recommended with a pain au chocolat.
- Hot Chocolate
Let’s face it. Tea is watery. It doesn’t have the same richness as coffee, and sometimes you want something a little thicker. Hot chocolate is my go-to for those days. Yes, it has caffeine. But not as much as coffee. Louisa’s Café and Bakery delivers my favorite hot chocolate with a generous dollop of whipped cream. But if you’re really looking for death by chocolate, there’s always The Chocolate Box near Pike Place Market. Their sipping chocolate is a luxury you probably shouldn’t have more than a few times in life, for the sake of your arteries. But you should still have it.
- Starbucks Decaf Pike Place Roast
Okay, so yeah. This shouldn’t really be on my list because it’s still coffee, and it’s far from caffeine-free. But sometimes you need coffee. But you can’t. So you compromise. This is a delicious, reliable roast—even in decaf. I prefer making it at home where I prepare only six ounces with a pour over and then add the cream. It does less harm than decafs I’ve ordered out.