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Meet Roasted Chicory Root—A Health Boosting Caffeine-Free Coffee Alternative

Often, folks ask me if there is a healthy caffeine-free substitute for coffee that actually tastes like coffee. While that rich, dark coffee flavor is completely unique to the coffee bean, the closest alternative I have found is the deep, dark flavor of roasted chicory root. And instead of perpetuating the sleep deprivation cycle and weakening bones by creating an acidic body like coffee does (sorry, lovers), chicory root has a list of health benefits a mile long.

Coffee is enjoyed for many reasons by many lovely people and I get it—flavor, ritual, memories, emotion, and of course, the stimulation it delivers. But if you are ready to try something new and more beneficial for your body, chicory root may be just the alternative YU’ve been waiting for.

Read more about why YU should consider saying “adios” to coffee and more about healthful alternatives right here.

Why Chicory Root?

Flavor. I am a big fan of the taste of roasted dandelion root and roasted maca for health-boosting coffee alternatives—but I am also someone who never really got into the habit of drinking coffee (I’m not sure how I dodged that one, especially in my partytime days). And real coffee drinkers—while they enjoy the taste of those alternatives—usually end up saying to me “I like it a lot, but it’s not coffee.” Roasted chicory root, however, elicits the “now this chicory root stuff I can get into” response that’s music to my ears. It’s deep, dark, roasted, slightly bitter, rich—the closest to coffee flavor I have found.

Some history. Chicory root has a long standing reputation as a cleansing medicinal herb. Ancient Romans used the root to help purify the blood. Ancient Egyptians also consumed the root to clean the blood and detoxify the liver. Medieval monks raised the plants and it is widely used in Europe. Even in southern states like New Orleans (Confederate soldiers drank it during the Civil War, getting in at the ports) it’s a coffee substitute.

Health-Boosting Bennies. Where to begin?
• Chicory root supports digestion, and the breakdown/metabolism of fats by increasing bile production
• It contains inulin which is food (a.k.a. prebiotic, a soluble fiber that people cannot digest) for beneficial digestive flora (a.k.a. probiotics)—boosting immunity
• Inulin can regulate blood sugar levels and pulls toxins from the body when we visit the bathroom
• Chicory is full of antioxidants
• It reduces inflammation in the body
• Studies show that it’s antibacterial and antifungal
• Helps reduce heart rate and has been used use in the treatment of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), arrhythmia and fibrillation
• Helps boost digestion and relieve constipation

Roasted Chicory Root: Health-Boosting Coffee Alternative

It even looks like coffee…

Try:
• Combine it with roasted dandelion root and/or roasted maca for extra rejuvenating benefits and complex flavor
• To make a tea, steep 1 tbsp of roasted chicory root (or your blend with maca/dandie) in a large mug/cup of boiling water for 7-10 minutes (sweeten with blended date puree, honey, maple syrup or sucanat)
• Top it with the almond milk latte foam from this Chia Tea recipe

Ready to give it a try? Shout your new discovery from the rooftops “I’m kicking coffee with roasted chicory root!”

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References:
The Global Healing Center
Annie’s Remedy
Petrovic J, Stanojkovic A, Comic Lj, Curcic S. Antibacterial activity of Cichorium intybus
Mares D, Romagnoli C, Tosi B, Andreotti E, Chillemi G, Poli F. Chicory extracts from Cichorium intybus L. as potential antifungals

Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. Brenda

    Thanks for the nudge to ditch the coffee and try chicory. I have been weaning myself off caffeine for the last month and was down to 1 cup of 25% caffeinated coffee. I too am concerned about the acidity of food and beverage and finding out chicory is alkalizing made the switch a no brainer. I loved it after the first cup and it is great that I can have it at bedtime and it doesn’t interfere with my sleep cycle. Now if only the coffee houses and cafes would start serving it!

  2. Sir David DeFur

    Chicory is a Great Coffee substitute, but here in the south we have chicory in our coffee. The health benefits of both are wonderful. The south started putting chicory in our coffee and drinking chicory during the time of the Civil War, due to the fact that the south was denied access to the coffee import by the north, But Southern folks knew the benefits from Chicory see how most of the people in the south were either from Scots Irish or Indian decent. They already inferst with the knowledge of herbs and the health benefits of natural medicine. My family have been drinking chicory for a very long time and I know for a fact that the benefits are are really great. And especially for those whom don’t need coffee. Here’s chicory to ya! Be in good health!

    • Heather Crosby

      Yes! Yes! Thank you for sharing this with us, David. x H

  3. eileen

    Thank you for this information. I wanted to learn the healthy benefits of chicory root and that’s how I discovered your site. I recently went searching for coffee alternatives and found recommendations for an instant beverage called DandyBlend. I wasn’t sure what to expect but after 4o years of drinking coffee I think I have finally found a worthy substitute! Its a blend of barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. Its caffeine free, not acidic or bitter. I actually like it better than coffee and somehow I feel like it wakes me up better than coffee didn’t without feeling jittery. I don’t understand how that’s working but it is. I know I sound like an advertisement but when you really think you’ve found something special you want to pass it on 🙂 So far I can’t find it in any stores so I buy it online.

    • Heather Crosby

      Eileen,
      Thanks for sharing! What you are describing sounds a lot like some chicory blends you’ll find in Europe. I actually have a friend who brings me some back from Poland when she goes to visit her parents there. I agree, it’s delicious and rich like coffee. Since I personally have to keep gluten out of my diet, I tend to make my own blend without rye and barley. My favorite combo is chicory, licorice root and the roasted dandelion. Sometimes, I’ll steep it with some orange rind, cinnamon and cardamom pods. It’s one of my favorite ways to start a morning in the Fall and Winter. I’m so happy you are enjoying the benefits of these awesome coffee alternatives. Keep having fun with it. x H

      • eileen

        Hi Heather,
        You mentioned that you follow a gluten free diet. Generally I don’t look at packaging for gluten free but my sister was visiting recently and when I told her about this “dandelion coffee” she pointed out to me the the large “gluten free” label on the package. She has to follow a strict GF diet and she had a cup of this and loved it. I know it has roasted barley and rye listed in the ingredients but apparently it can have those ingredients without having gluten. They have a website so you could always look that up and give them a call to be sure. I love the sound of the tea that you steep yourself! I’m not sure where to buy these ingredients (chicory, licorice root and dandelion) in small quantities but I would definitely be interested in trying to make that tea.
        Eileen

  4. Jon

    I am new to the chicory coffee. I have a question for you. It may sound odd, but is there any reason why the chicory could not be consumed along with the coffee? In other words, steep the chicory straight in the mug and drink it.
    Thank you.

    • Heather Crosby

      Not an odd question at all. 🙂 You can definitely make a mixture of coffee and chicory root. This preparation is actually popular in southern states of the US like Louisiana, and even in Europe 😉

  5. Gerry

    Hi Heather,
    You, or your readers might be able to answer a question that’s been driving me crazy for years. My partner loves drinking roasted chicory and dandelion root coffee. Whenever I make it for her, I notice a phenomenon which, to my mind, defies the laws of physics. Here’s what I observe:
    I place about 1/3 teaspoon of chicory and dandelion coffee granules into a diffuser and place that into a cup. I then add boiling hot water until the cup is quite full. I then jiggle the diffuser until all air bubbles have escaped. Now I take note of the fluid level in the cup. I then let it sit for about 5 minutes to draw. And it is after this time that the mystery is noticed: The fluid level is now quite a bit lower. I have measured the difference in the fluid levels and it is about 5 teaspoons. And that should not happen !!

    Can you, or your readers, kindly put me put me out of my misery?

    • Heather Crosby

      Well, Gerry, I am stumped, too! I haven’t noticed THAT much of a difference in fluid once I steep my tea, but here’s my guess. I think it has to be a combination of the super dehydrated granules soaking up and holding onto water and possibly a bit of evaporation from the boiling water? How “plump” are those granules post-steep? Maybe toss them in a cheesecloth (let them cool first) and then squeeze and see if you get a few teaspoons of water out of them… Do let us know!

  6. Scott

    I’ve just started drinking the hot chicory-brew with about 1/3 milk,… it’s excellent, way better than coffee which I haven’t had for many years, rarely had coffee anyway, and substantially better than the New Orleans coffee n chicory blend which I’ve been using as my hot n hearty drink (with 1/3 whole milk) for 10 years, mainly during cold weather/winter. The chicory feels much more wholesome and ‘right’. Why is coffee the standard?… it’s more of a drug I guess, but which doesn’t attract me or my body.

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