Many people are looking for alternatives to coffee that are also gluten-free. Coffee substitutes have often relied on roasted barley for flavor. Pero, for instance, is advertised as an "all natural beverage coffee substitute" but it is not gluten-free since it contains both rye and barley. It is important to look at the ingredient list before assuming any coffee substitute is gluten-free.
Gluten-Free Definitions and Labeling
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has set guidelines for the labeling of "gluten-free" food products. Foods that contain wheat, rye or barley or any hybrids with those grains cannot be labeled "gluten-free." Wheat is considered a common allergen, thus consumers must be warned when wheat is present in a product due to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. By checking for these ingredients, consumers can be sure whether coffee substitutes they are using are gluten-free.
Dandelion Root Coffee Substitute
Roasted dandelion root has long been used as a coffee substitute. DandyBlend coffee substitute is a roasted dandelion coffee substitute available on the market 1. This coffee substitute has no gluten or caffeine. While DandyBlend uses rye and barley in its ingredient list, the product website says that the gluten, "which is comprised of proteins that are not water-soluble, is left behind in the grounds to be composted during the extracting process, leaving DandyBlend gluten-free." Since DandyBlend operates out of Ohio and uses gluten-free labeling, it is assumed their claims of it being free of gluten are true as per FDA guidelines 1. Many recipes for homemade roasted dandelion coffee substitute are offered online. Prodigal Gardens has posted a pure dandelion coffee recipe which gives instructions about gathering and processing dandelion roots, as well as roasting and coffee-making information. By making homemade batches of dandelion coffee, consumers can avoid all unwanted added products, such as rye and barley, altogether.
Chestnut Coffee Substitute
Chestnuts can be used as a coffee substitute. Chestnut Trails sells a Chestnut Coffee Substitute that is gluten-free and is completely made of chestnuts. This coffee substitute is also free of caffeine. Simply Natural offers a chestnut coffee substitute that is also made 100 percent from chestnuts without any additives. This chestnut coffee is also free of both gluten and caffeine.
Chai and a Chicory Coffee Substitute
Chai is a spicy tea that can be made in a way that resembles coffee and is considered by many to be a healthy substitute to coffee. Black tea is found in most chai, but it contains less caffeine than coffee. Chai-Tea.org provides a list of chai products available from a range of providers on its website. Prodigal Gardens offers a gluten-free chai recipe on its website that uses roasted dandelion root, anise, cardamon, cloves cinnamon, ginger, bay leaves and black pepper. Ersatz is another commercially available gluten-free coffee substitute, which is made of roasted rice, roasted peas and roasted chicory. Ersatz is free of caffeine, gluten, barley, lactose, soy and nuts.
- manuel_adorf/iStock/Getty Images