Chicory is made from the root of a beautiful blue flower that is akin to the Dandelion. When this woody root is granulated and roasted it looks and almost smells exactly like coffee. And what is more, when you put it into your coffee maker, it comes out as dark and black as coffee. In the cup, it has a wonderful roasted aroma and taste that really is not much like coffee but is quite palatable on its own.
And Chicory has zero caffeine and much less acidity that coffee. It also has many health benefits that coffee (despite all the recent Starbucks financed “studies”) cannot aspire too. Here’s an abridged listing of benefits:
- High in triglycerides
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Recommended for people with diabetes
- Helps to remedy diarrhea, constipation and IBS
- Helps to remedy eczema
- Relieves gas and bloating
Many people these days have never heard of chicory – it is something of an old-fashioned herb that our grandparents and great grandparents would have known about. People drank a lot of it during World War II in the US when coffee, like most imported foods were rationed and chicory could be grown and supplied locally. It was the same in the Old South during the civil war and later. Chicory and dandelion root and even other herbs and roots were resorted to as replacements for coffee and tea.
Chicory is still a ‘thing’ in New Orleans and a deep part of their history and tradition that they still celebrate. A mixture of Chicory and coffee is still produced commercially in New Orleans and in many parts of Europe, particularly in France. In fact, you can probably find at least one brand of chicory/coffee mix if you look hard enough in some grocery stores in the US (and there’s a good chance it’s produced in New Orleans).
But now here’s the new thing: Chicory mixed with Tea. About a year ago I tried a commercial brand of Chicory and tea and absolutely loved it. It enabled me to break free from coffee which I felt was hurting my teeth and my stomach and keeping me up at night. Both Chicory and tea have many health benefits, fewer detriments than coffee and each lends to the other, in terms of taste, depth, complexity and interest. They are a winning combination if ever there was one.
And here’s the next bit of good news. Chicory (and tea) are both way, way cheaper than coffee. A 1 pound bag of ground, roasted Chicory, at about $11, goes farther than hundreds of dollars worth of coffee. A tablespoon of Chicory will produce as much or more strong black liquid than 1 cup of coffee grounds. And black tea (adding back a little caffeine if you prefer it) also goes a very long way and doesn’t have to reach the same darkness and strength as coffee.
So, how’s that? A wonderful new taste in your morning cup, much better for you than coffee, and it leaves a little more change jingling in your pocket. Life is good.