Have you ever wanted to cut back on caffeine without actually cutting coffee out of your diet? Read on to see how chicory might be the best happy medium for you.
Chicory is a blue flowered dandelion plant, that is grown and harvested for its roots. A research by the Smithsonian Institute suggests the flower of the chicory plant has been used in ancient Egyptian societies for medicinal purposes. Nowadays, it serves as a modern day hangover cure and coffee substitute.
The History of Chicory With Coffee
While ancient societies have been using chicory as an antibiotic for centuries, roasting chicory with coffee didn't become popular until the nineteenth century during Napoleon's reign when France suffered a blockade on their ports. In order to stretch out their coffee supply, they would mix ground chicory root with their coffee grounds. After the blockade was over, the nation continued to supplement chicory into their coffee because they enjoyed its herbal and nutty notes.
Though the chicory root has been popular cross continentally for centuries, it didn’t become popular in the United States until the Civil War era. Since the climate in North America makes it nearly impossible for Arabica coffee beans to grow, imports were a necessity for early American coffee drinkers; however, as the war advanced, North American naval blockades halted all Atlantic commerce to the South. So, in order to make their coffee supply last, Confederate citizens began mixing different ingredients with their coffee grounds. One of those ingredients was chicory. While it does not contain the same caffeine concentrate as coffee, chicory has a similar flavor to coffee and sells for a lower price. At the time, New Orleans, Louisiana was the second largest trading port for coffee in the United States and where chicory was often mixed with coffee beans. Following the end of the Civil War, the people of New Orleans continued to produce chicory coffee and made it the ultimate coffee staple of the South.
Chicory is used either on its own as a coffee replacement or mixed with coffee to complement its flavor. Its taste is often described as woody and nutty.
Health Benefits of Chicory
Aside from cultural practices and financially sound coffee alternatives, chicory is hailed for its derivability: coffee crops typically yield about 20 to 25% of obtainable material, while chicory outturn is closer to 45 to 65%. Chicory is also a common ingredient in reduced fat sweeteners, as it has copious carbohydrate clusters that caramelize into d-fructose (a natural sugar found commonly in fruits) during the roasting process. In addition, chicory has been linked to a decrease in pulmonary complications, cholesterol, and abnormalities in the liver. Some herbalists claim chicory can aid in fighting against bacteria and inflammation or swelling.
Chicory Instant Coffee Recipe
What you’ll need:
- 4 tablespoons of Waka Coffee grounds
- 2 tablespoons of chicory grinds
- 4 cups of filtered water
- Mix 1 tablespoon of chicory and 1 tablespoon of Waka instant coffee in your mug
- Slowly add hot water into your mug while stirring
- Add any additional cream or sweeteners for flavor