Chicory Coffee

What is Chicory Coffee?

Chicory coffee is a coffee-like drink that is made from the roots of the chicory plant. A native plant of Europe, chicory was introduced into North America in the 1800s. Chicory coffee can either be mixed with traditional coffee, or be brewed on its own. The process used to make the roots into chicory coffee is similar to the way coffee beans are made into coffee. Like coffee beans, the roots of the chicory plant are roasted and ground up and then brewed in the same way as coffee.

Where Did Chicory Coffee Come From?

Chicory coffee was not an invention that happened overnight. From its first cultivation, to its current use, there were many steps involved.

  • Origin The chicory plant originated in Europe and was first cultivated by the dutch in the mid 1700s. It was used as an additive to regular coffee to increase the flavor. This rapidly became a popular fashion and began to spread across Europe.

  • Coffee Replacement The addition of Chicory introduced a new flavor to regular coffee. The new taste became so popular that chicory root began to be used by itself without traditional bean coffee. Soon, chicory coffee was became a regular replacement for traditional coffee.

  • Coffee Shortage Chicory was used due to necessity during the Napoleonic wars. As part of a wider plan to make France entirely independent, Napoleon cut off all trade with the United Kingdom. As the United Kingdom was the main source of coffee for France, the policy created a coffee shortage. During this time chicory was used to cut coffee and make the limited supply last longer. It also became a regular replacement for coffee.

  • Chicory in New Orleans Chicory traveled across the Atlantic and became popular in New Orleans which was originally a colony of France. During the American Civil War, imports of coffee were shut down by a blockade of the New Orleans’ ports. That made chicory a necessity. When coffee supplies eventually ran out, chicory became the beverage of choice to replace it. After the war, chicory had become so popular that the coffee in New Orleans is still made with chicory as one of its main ingredients.

Where Does Chicory Grow?

Chicory was originally a wild plant that spread across Europe. Cultivation of the plant originated in Holland, and spread from there. The chicory plant is considered a vegetable and does well in cool climates in sunlit areas. The plant is now mostly cultivated in Europe. The largest areas of cultivation are found in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium. In smaller quantities it is also grown in North America and Australia.

What Makes Chicory so Unique?

There are many things that make chicory stand out from other plants. These are only a few of those qualities.

  • The Taste This is the main thing that makes Chicory different is the taste. It has a taste very similar to coffee. It shares the woody, nutty flavor of coffee beans and is slightly bitter on its own without added sweeteners. the similarity in taste makes it an ideal additive to coffee as it compliments the taste.
  • It’s a Vegetable That chicory tastes so much like coffee is remarkable in itself. The fact that it is a vegetable is even more surprising. That it is a vegetable rather than a tree, makes cultivation in large quantities much easier. You can get far more chicory plants out of a plot of land than is possible with coffee trees.

  • The Verity of Uses The chicory plant comes from the same plant family as the dandelion. Like the dandelion and other plants in the family, all the parts of the plant are edible, right from the root to the leaves. It is also used in medicine.

How is The Chicory Plant Used in Medicine?

In addition to being used as a drink additive and a food source, Th Chicory plant has a surprising number of uses in the medical world as well. Stretching back thousands of years, the plant has a history of medical uses. The first mention of chicory being used as a medicine is in The Eber Papyrus. The document dates from around 4000 BC. The papyrus describes cultivation and use of the chicory plant for the treatment of digestive issues in ancient Egypt Even in the modern age, chicory is used for digestive problems and has many other health benefits.

  • Intestinal Health Like in ancient Egypt, chicory is still used as a treatment for digestive issues. Rather than the root, the seeds are what is used in this instance. The seed are considered to be a prebiotic. This quality helps the gut bacteria to remain balanced.

  • Inulin The chicory plant contains a lot of inulin consists of a string of sugar molecules that influence health in many ways. not only do they help to reduce swelling, they can also heap stabilize diabetes in some people.

What is the difference between chicory and coffee?

Although similar in taste, chicory and coffee have a number of differences.

  • Caffeine Content The biggest difference between chicory coffee and regular coffee is in the amount of caffeine. A regular cup of coffee has around 95mg of caffeine. If more than 300mg of caffeine is ingested per day, then the risk of addiction related withdrawls can become a significant problem. Chicory coffee on the other hand, contains no caffeine at all. This is part of why chicory coffee is often used as a coffee substitute.

  • Source The plants that are used to make coffee and chicory coffee are different. While coffee beans are derived from trees, chicory comes from a vegetable source.

  • Growing Methods Because the source of the two drinks are different, that makes the methods of production different as well. Trees take up more space and take longer to grow. Coffee beans also require more labor to plant, tend, and harvest. The fact that chicory coffee is derived from a vegetable means that the labor required to make the same amount of coffee is significantly lower. The space requirements also make chicory a more efficient plant to grow. The growth time for a vegetable over a tree makes the chicory plant is also far less.

  • Cost Because growing chicory is much more efficient than growing coffee, there is a significant economic difference as well. The relatively fast production of chicory makes it much less expensive than coffee. Even simply using chicory to replace part of the coffee used, makes things much less expensive for the consumer.

Why do People Drink Chicory Coffee?

  • Taste The taste of chicory coffee can be a welcome break from regular bean coffee. While the taste of chicory coffee and regular coffee are similar, they are not exactly the same. The taste of chicory enhances the natural flavors of coffee as well as add a little something new.

  • Caffeine Content The coffee that people drink every day world-wide has a lot of caffeine in it. While this can be a good thing for someone who needs to wake up and stay alert, it has significant drawbacks. Even the amount of caffeine in a regular cup of coffee can be addictive and damaging in the long run. In today’s more health-conscious world, eliminating addictive, and potentially harmful substances from daily life is a goal for many people. Chicory coffee provides a tasty caffeine-free alternative to the traditional cup of joe. There is the added benefit that the transition from coffee to chicory coffee can be slow. the change from less chicory to more chicory allows an easy way for people to transition of off coffee for good.

  • Cost As has already been mentioned, chicory coffee is a much more economical option. With shorter grow and production times, chicory coffee is going to be a lot cheaper than coffee without added chicory.

  • Health Benefits The many positive impacts to personal health are a point in chicory coffee’s favor. Better digestion and metabolism are good reasons by themselves to move people away from regular coffee and toward chicory coffee as a daily choice.

How is Chicory Coffee Made?

Chicory coffee is made by roasting the roots of a chicory plant, grinding them up, and using the ground up roots to brew coffee as you normally would using a regular pot or french-press. If you want to try chicory, but don’t know how you’ll feel about it, or if you don’t like to spend a lot of time making it from scratch, then chicory coffee is available for sale in cans like regular coffee.

How do You Make Chicory Coffee Yourself?

There are many methods for making homemade chicory coffee. But here are some of the basics to get you started

  • Procure a fresh chicory root. These can usually be found at a spice store, or an organic food mart. Sometimes they will also be available at regular chain supermarket.
  • Clean the root thoroughly. make sure there is no dirt on the root when you’re done.
  • Mince the root
  • Bake in your oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit until its a golden-brown color.
  • After the baked chicory root has cooled down, use a coffee grinder to grind the root.
  • Mix it in with your favorite coffee to your taste and enjoy!

Traditional bean coffee will always be around, but chicory coffee is a delightful change from the normal routine. With all the health benefits, chicory coffee is a great choice for your body. And who knows? Maybe you’ll like it so much, that you won’t go back to just plain coffee again.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chicory-coffee#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8

https://www.britannica.com/plant/chicory

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-92/chicory

https://www.roastycoffee.com/chicory-coffee/

https://coffee.fandom.com/wiki/Chicory

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/chicory-coffee-mix-new-orleans-made-own-comes-180949950/

https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1602

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-of-concern/caffeine-chart

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