Made of roasted chicory roots, chicory is a popular coffee substitute that gives you coffee rich taste with a touch of wood and nuts and a smooth and creamy feeling in the mouth. With many positive benefits on our health, no wonder chicory became part of the everyday routine of many people.
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The autumn definitely does not mean the end of the herb season. We can still collect rosehips, hawthorn and the later variety of sea buckthorn ripens. And now is also the perfect time to collect roots. In this time of the year, all the strength which is inside the herb goes into the root so don’t miss horseradish, dandelion, chicory, valerian, comfrey or burdock roots. I doubt I can gather them all but I really wanted to try the chicory and comfrey root this year.
If you happen to find dandelion root make this fabulous dandelion coffee that will make your day.
What is Chicory?
Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, Chicory is a plant of the dandelion family that has a somewhat shrubby appearance and, depending on the location and quality of the soil, can grow up to over a meter. It blooms with the same shade of blue as cornflower or the cloudless summer sky.
But if you have it as a weed it’s almost impossible to get rid of. If you try to break it, it bends. It is really hard to remove it with the root (which we will try later) and if you cut it, it will grow again. The medicinal part is mainly in its root but its collection requires appropriate tools. Before you go look for chicory don’t forget to take these with you.
What is chicory coffee?
The chicory coffee is made from the dried and roasted chicory root.
The roasted root is later ground and brewed into a coffee-like drink. It can be used alone or mixed with black coffee. It smells a little bit like coffee and has a mildly sweet, nutty and woody aroma. Chicory coffee is caffeine-free which allows it to be used by people that want to reduce caffeine consumption or in the evening.
When do I use chicory as a substitute for my coffee?
I am also a coffee lover and it’s really hard for me to resist. But I limit the number of cups to two a day. That’s it. So if in any case, I feel I need more than that then I turn my attention to chicory.
Also later in the afternoon, I don’t go for another cup of coffee as I don’t feel that would be right for my body. So after 5 pm, I prefer chicory instead.
When I want to have these delicious lavender biscuits I cannot help myself and make chicory coffee. They just match perfectly.
When I was breastfeeding and I was craving for my coffee – chicory was there for me. It was right in front of me on the shelf.
Only later I discovered its other medicinal benefits and chicory is more and more welcome in my diet.
Where does chicory coffee come from?
The history of Chicory dates back to ancient Egypt. However, it gained popularity during the period of the Napoleonic Wars and the two world wars when coffee was scarce. The chicory root became a coffee substitute. Because of this, the perception of chicory “coffee” as a substitute, something inferior, remains a fundamental mistake. It is a drink that is very delicious and in addition, its regular drinking has many positive effects on the body.
Healthy Benefits of chicory
- caffeine-free chicory coffee is a great alternative for those who wish to reduce their caffeine intake. It is much better to supplement that decaf coffee as it lowers blood sugar and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
- it contains prebiotic fibre inulin that improves gut health and is linked to weight loss (1)
- this study suggests that inulin improves the metabolism of carbohydrates and therefore helps control blood sugar (2)
- the antiinflammatory activity has been found in the chicory root and this might be due to the inhibition of various cytokines and its antioxidant effects(3)
That some people mainly allergic to ragweed or birch pollen can also be allergic to chicory root. Furthermore, chicory coffee is not recommended for pregnant women, as chicory has been shown to trigger miscarriage and menstrual bleeding (4).
How to make coffee with chicory roots?
It requires quite a lot of chicory plants, a huge dose of patience and nice weather:)
1) start with the chicory root. Make sure you know the plant very well Don’t forget to take a little shovel with you. Chicory grows abundantly in the roadsides and meadows. You can also purchase the chicory root online.
2) remove the roots from the stem, you will need very sharp scissors.
3) wash them thoroughly, removing all the dirty pieces.
4) by using a sharp knife remove any remaining dirty pieces that didn’t wash away with water
5) use a very sharp knife to cut the clean roots into small pieces/slices – depending on the sizes of the roots. Make sure they are small so they will roast fast.
6) place all pieces on the baking tray with or without baking paper and let it roast under 360 F = 180 C till you smell the rich coffee aroma and their colour turns golden brown. It took me around 1 hour.
7) remove it from the oven and let it cool down.
8) place the roasted pieces into the grinder and grind the chicory root into a fine powder. You will need a very strong grinder. I don’t have a grinder so I used my blender instead. It took me at least 10 minutes to make it into a fine powder with several stops in between. The blender was heating a bit which gave the powder a wonderful Mocca aroma.
9) brew a coffee either in a coffee machine, french press or just pour over the coffee with boiled water and allow the grounds to seep for a few minutes to your desired strength. Then strain the coffee through a tea strainer to remove most of the spent grounds and you are done:)
How to drink chicory coffee
You can mix it with regular black coffee to reduce the consumption of caffeine. The ratio 1:1 is very often used as well as 1 teaspoon of regular coffee and 2 teaspoons of chicory. You can play with the ratio as per your taste
You can also add chicory to your tea blend together with other spices such as cinnamon or vanilla. Play with the flavors and find the one you fancy the most
What is the recommended dosage of ground chicory root for one coffee?
It depends on how strong you want your coffee. It is recommended to use about 2 teaspoons of ground chicory root per 1 cup of water.