Chicory coffee has been around for over 2 centuries, although it has only started to gain popularity in recent years with many people on a health craze.
There is no exact stamp on when people began using chicory as a coffee replacement. There are online references I found that date it to early 19th century France. Napoleon’s continental blockade made coffee inaccessible for much of the country, and coffee enthusiasts were on the hunt for a replacement, along came the chicory root. Soon after, even though the blockade was lifted on coffee (thank god), people all over France couldn’t stop using the chicory route due to its similar flavor and reduced caffeine intake. From here, chicory traveled to the US, and consumption increased massively during the civil war as more blockades made it harder to get coffee. Since then, chicory has boomed across the US, and of course, the rest of the world has followed.
Chicory coffee tastes like a standard coffee. Chicory is made with roasted chicory root, which replaces our beloved coffee beans. I’m not sure I’m ready to part ways with my coffee beans yet. You can complement your coffee beans with chicory, so you don’t need to substitute them fully.
One of the key reasons people are using chicory root in their coffee is it helps people who are trying to reduce their caffeine intake. There are other health benefits to using chicory, including reduced inflammation, a decrease in blood sugar, and an improved digestive system.
These all sound great, but let’s not overlook some of the stated downsides to using chicory. Firstly, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid chicory as it is known to trigger miscarriage and menstrual bleeding. It is also known that some people can are allergic to chicory and experience discomfort when consumed.
How to Make Chicory Coffee?
Having said all of this, there is limited research on the health effects of chicory, and there’s no evidence out there that shows us that it is better than regular coffee, minus the caffeine reduction. Still, if you like the taste or are curious to try it out then, see below for a recipe of how to make your very own chicory coffee.
What you’ll Need:
- Fresh chicory roots – if you’re a at home DIY barista then I recommend getting your own fresh chicory and trying this yourself. You can google when is best to pick them and It will taste so much more satisfying knowing you did all the hard work.
- Coffee beans – for this method, we will be including these as we are desperate for that caffeine hit, you do not need to add these in if you don’t want too.
- Your coffee grinder and whatever you use for brewing
How to Prepare Raw Chicory:
- Firstly, wash your chicory roots so that all the soil is gone, that would be unpleasant in your coffee. Dry the roots as much as you can with a towel and leave to fully dry.
- Using a sharp kitchen knife, mince the chicory roots, you want to try and create roughly one-inch cubes. They may look like they need peeling, but they really don’t.
- Now, we are ready to cook our chicory root. Lay the minced pieces of root on a baking tray and cook on roughly 350F. Eye cooking is needed here, take the chicory roots out when they’re a golden brown color.
Making the Chicory Grounds
This is where your coffee grinder comes in. Once your chicory roots are a golden brown color, take them out and let them cool down. At this point, place the chicory roots into your coffee grinder and reduce them to the same coarseness you’d have your regular coffee beans.
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Blend the Chicory With Ground Coffee
This part, you can skip if you don’t want to use coffee in your chicory coffee. If you then grab some of your favorite coffee beans and follow along.
The ratio you use is down to you if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake, try to increase the amount of ground chicory you use, the taste is something you’d need to get used to although some people naturally love the taste of chicory.
Just a side note, chicory is more acidic to taste than coffee, so if that puts you off, try and use more coffee to counteract that acidic taste.
The key here is to practice over a few times and get your blend down perfectly.
Time to Brew!
As mentioned in the what you’ll need section, here, you can use whatever you typically use for brewing. When experimenting with flavors, it’s a good idea to stick with your comfortable brewing method, so not everything is new.
As the chicory coffee is ground and should be the same coarseness as your coffee beans, if you’re adding them, then they will brew the same way. If you’re not adding coffee beans, then this method still applies, brew them like their coffee beans.
A Quick Fix
Of course, there is a much easier method than the above. Well, easier for one part – if you don’t want to go through the lengthy process of picking your own chicory roots, mincing them cooking them and all that jazz, then you can go to your local supermarket and pick up some ready ground chicory. If you do this, you’ll be making your coffee just like usual, and you can just add a few grounds in.
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How Else to Use Your Chicory (Especially the Leftovers)
If you’re a regular reader of ours, you’ll know we love finding ways to use products that we have leftover rather than let it go to waste. I’ve searched the internet far and wide and have discovered some great alternative ways to use your chicory!
- Make a chicory salad – you can find so many recipes online that replace key salad ingredients with chicory which are also super easy to make. A personal favorite of mine is chicory salad and mushrooms.
- Chicory soup – I wonder if this will taste like a coffee as its water and chicory. I haven’t tried this yet but am interested to find out!
- Chicory tea – much like coffee you can add chicory to a tea to add a herbal flavour and increase the health benefits of your tea, which, already has a great number of health benefits.
So, there you have it, today you’ve learned about the chicory root and how it became so popular around the world as a substitute for coffee. You’ve learned how to make an excellent chicory coffee by getting the roots yourself and by buying it at a store (lazy). And, to top it off, you’ve learned how to use the left-over chicory you have! All you need to do now is get out there, pick some chicory during the right season and let us know how your chicory coffee turns out!