Chicory Coffee Is Having A Moment – Here’s Why

By Alizeh Khatau

2 weeks ago

Everything you need to know about the buzzy drink


Chicory is a flowering plant that derives from the dandelion family, which you may recognise as a light purple flower or by its leaves that are commonly used in salads. But what if we told you that you could drink it? Enter chicory coffee, a drink that’s gaining popularity as people look for caffeine-free alternatives to their morning latte. But what are the benefits, and are there any side effects you should be aware of?

What Is Chicory Coffee?

Chicory coffee is curated by roasting, grinding and brewing the roots of the chicory plant. It tastes similar to coffee, promoting flavours that are often described as nutty and earthy, with notes of burnt sugar.

Does Chicory Coffee Contain Caffeine?

Although it has a coffee-like taste when roasted, chicory coffee has no caffeine in it. So if you love the taste of coffee but aren’t so keen on the jitters that follow, chicory root is a good alternative.

Chicory

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History

Chicory is a New Orleans staple, brought to Louisiana by the French during the Civil War. The French originally began to introduce the concept of adding chicory to beverages at a time when supplies were scarce. So, for New Orleans, having already been introduced to chicory by the French, it became the obvious choice as it helped increase the yield – a little chicory went a long way. 

Chicory was then used in parts of Europe as a coffee substitute for the principal reason that it was cheaper and more readily available. However, the French were put off by its disadvantages of having no caffeine. Coffee beans eventually became more widely available, hence why chicory coffee never stuck in France

However, chicory coffee is still widely enjoyed in New Orleans – many coffee shops there offer it as a beverage on its own, and lots of coffee drinks include a combination of both coffee and chicory (the flavours are known to complement each other).

Health Benefits Of Chicory Coffee

Why drink chicory? Well, there are plenty of health benefits. These include:

  • Raw chicory roots contain inulin, which is a major source of prebiotic fibre. This means consuming it can improve gut health as it encourages reduced inflammation and assists the digestive tract by absorbing more nutrients. 
  • There’s some evidence to show chicory can help control blood sugar, such as this study from 2017.
  • Chicory also contains manganese and vitamin B6, which aid in the improvement of blood flow to the brain, in turn offering neurological benefits. 
  • It may help improve bowel function in some people.

Who Should Avoid Chicory?

Those who are allergic to ragweed and pollen should consider avoiding chicory. The plant belongs to the dandelion family, and even when roasted and brewed, the root has been known to trigger allergy symptoms such as swelling and tingling of the mouth.

What Are The Side Effects?

Besides an allergic reaction, it is important to know that if chicory is drunk in excess, it can cause flatulence, bloating and stomach cramps – although most people can tolerate up to 20 grams per day.