Ask anyone how they are able to pull 3 all-nighters in a row and still make it to their dreaded 8 AM class. Unless they are some weird breed of super-human, you will probably get the same answer– coffee. It’s the holy grail of college students. And what’s not to love? That earthy taste of coffee beans, usually mixed with creamy milk and oh-so addicting sugar, and the CAFFEINE…I get excited just thinking about it. 

And then it happened: my doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to drink coffee anymore. What was I supposed to do now? Nixing caffeine wasn’t an option, so I had to get creative. After 6 months of trying different alternatives, I have compiled a list of my favorite non-coffee sources for how to stay caffeinated:  

5. Matcha Lattes

soup, tea, matcha, green tea, cream
Marie Chantal Marauta

The absolute winner in my book. Think of matcha as green tea’s much cooler and mature uncle. Regular green tea is fairly bitter in taste and contains a minimal 25 milligrams of caffeine, while a grande matcha latte is much milder and has about 80 milligrams of caffeine. This is because the green tea leaves used in the regular tea are ground up to make the fine powdered matcha, so they are included whole in the drink. This caffeine isn’t the same as coffee caffeine either– it creates a “high” that is more calmly energizing, lasts longer, and doesn’t result in the same dreaded caffeine crash. And the best part? You can add any milk you want in your lattes (my favorite is almond), so you never have to miss out on any beloved latte art.

4. Starbucks Refreshers

dairy, ice, milk, strawberry, berry, cream, sweet, yogurt
Ally Tobler

But what if you’re craving something sugary, and also looking for that extra caffeine punch? Try one of Starbuck’s Refreshers. These contain between 45 and 55 milligrams of caffeine, depending on which flavor you choose. This is a lot, considering they taste like candy. Refreshers are a great pick-me-up for those afternoons where you know drinking a coffee would keep you up all night, but some caffeine definitely wouldn’t hurt. 

3. Awake Chocolate

ale, beer
Ashley Peek

On the topic of sweet, these are a personal weakness of mine when it comes to how to stay caffeinated. With three different flavors to choose from (caramel for the win), and a whopping 100 milligrams of caffeine-packed into the personal-sized chocolate bar, you can’t lose. These are an especially useful find if you’re like me, and sweets are the only way to power through those long nights before an exam. Awake chocolates kill two birds with one stone in the most delicious way possible. 

2. Verb Energy Bars

Kim Amelsberg

I discovered these a few months ago, and my life has never been quite the same. Before, I often struggled with the question: do I need a matcha latte, or do I need a snack? With these energy bars, I no longer have to choose. They pack a potent 100 milligram caffeine punch from green tea leaf extract, giving a favorable caffeine high. But thankfully they don’t taste like green tea at all– the ingredients, cocoa, oats, and almond butter, combine to create a truly tasty bar. They are also extremely easy to store in your backpack, making Verb Energy Bars the first thing I reach for when I feel a crash coming on.

1. Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif Bar

notes, textbook, study snack, snacks, studying, clif bar, tangerine, cutie
Jocelyn Hsu

If ordering Verb Energy Bars online sounds like too much of a hassle, a great alternative is the new Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif Bars. They taste great (who doesn’t love peanut butter and toffee?) and still contain 50 milligrams of caffeine. No matter in what form, caffeine enhanced granola bars are a game-changer, and make on-the-go caffeine crashes AND snack attacks a thing of the past.

The journey to a coffee-less existence has not been a fun one, but learning how to stay caffeinated with all of these alternative sources is actually pretty easy. These ideas are perfect to try if you aren’t able to drink coffee like me, think that your coffee addiction might be too strong, or you simply want to revamp your caffeination strategy.