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The Easy-To-Make, Caffeine-Free "Coffee" You Can Roast & Brew At Home

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Image by tolgart / Istock
August 16, 2021

Even the most dedicated coffee connoisseurs probably aren't hand-roasting their coffee beans, but what if we told you there's a great decaf coffee substitute you can roast yourself, and you've probably been tossing it in the compost this whole time?

According to Carleigh Bodrug, the recipe developer behind @plantyou on Instagram, date seeds are the perfect DIY coffee substitute. "Date seed coffee has a more subtle flavor, but it's really delicious and gives you a great excuse to keep those date seeds around," she explains.

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How to make date seed coffee.

Bodrug shared how to make the beverage, and it's shockingly simple. Just keep those date seeds you normally toss after making a smoothie or some power balls and repurpose them into a delicious cozy drink:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Remove the seeds from your dates and clean them thoroughly—she mentions she uses medjool dates.
  3. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet for around 40 minutes.
  4. After removing from the oven, use a coffee grinder or food processor to create date coffee grinds.
  5. Prepare how you would regular coffee.
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Still want a bit of buzz? "You can mix it with your morning coffee, as well, to provide a lower-caffeine alternative," Bodrug mentions.

The benefits of actually using the date seeds — beyond just cutting waste.

If you're fond of extolling the polyphenol benefits of your morning joe (like how it's a good source of antioxidant polyphenols, caffeine, and trigonelline—all of which support cognitive functioning), maybe you're thinking you'd rather just stick to decaf coffee beans. But in truth, date seeds have some similar benefits to coffee beans.

While we're plenty familiar with the health benefits of the fruit itself, studies have found that the seeds have their own hit list of health benefits. According to a 2016 study published in Functional Properties of Traditional Foods, date seeds have antioxidant properties: Research indicates that they offer "significant" amounts of oleic acid, dietary fiber, and polyphenols. While the brewed drink might not maintain that dietary fiber (since you're brewing through a fine filter), the antioxidants will probably make it into the final cup, just like they do in true coffee.

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Other coffee alternatives.

Not so sure about date seed coffee, but want to curtail your coffee intake? There are plenty of other options—and they're not all herbal tea. You can try making your own herbal coffee (like this one), and if you're not so sure about the DIY part of the equation, you can find tons of great coffee alternatives on the market.

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Eliza Sullivan
Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer

Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.