Chicory, a caffeine-free coffee substitute that you will love! What is important to know about her?

Thanks to its unmistakable taste, chicory will soon become an essential part of your day, if it hasn’t already.

And how is such chicory coffee actually prepared?

What are its health benefits?

And how is it different from the popular melta?

We will tell you all this and much more in our article!

What exactly is chicory?

It is one of the oldest coffee substitutes in our country, produced since the 18th century. In the production of chicory, roasted crushed chicory root is used. The name chicory copies the word for chicory, which is similar in different languages. Chicory does not contain caffeine, which is why it is also suitable for children, pregnant and nursing mothers. After roasting, chicory roots have a very delicious taste and aroma similar to coffee.

How does chicory taste?

The taste of chicory is probably not what you expect. But when you smell it, it really smells like coffee, so the taste might surprise you. We therefore recommend that for those who want to replace classic coffee with chicory, start the change gradually by mixing chicory with your favorite coffee to get used to the taste and lightness of roasted chicory root. The taste is woody and has a nutty aroma.

Roasted chicory root coffee in a mug with a spoon next to it with chicory and fresh flowers.

Health benefits of chicory

Chicory has several health benefits such as:

Improves digestion

Chicory is a good source of fiber, which can improve several aspects of your digestive system. For example, it can support the health of your gut microbiome, which is thought to be strongly linked to health and disease. Chicory root contains the fiber inulin, a type of prebiotic that supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Studies also show that chicory can improve bowel function and reduce constipation.

Lowers blood sugar

Chicory root contains inulin, a type of fiber that has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. In addition, it helps reduce insulin resistance.

It has anti-inflammatory properties

Most of us know that chronic inflammation is the cause of various heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer. Some studies have found that chicory root may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Contains no caffeine

Chicory coffee can be an excellent way to reduce your caffeine intake. Regular coffee is made from coffee beans that are roasted, ground and brewed. A typical cup of coffee contains about 92 mg of caffeine, although this amount varies depending on factors such as the type of coffee beans used, the size of the serving, and the type of coffee roast. Consuming large amounts of caffeine has been associated with side effects such as nausea, anxiety, palpitations, restlessness, and insomnia. Chicory root is naturally caffeine-free, making it an excellent coffee substitute if you want to reduce your caffeine intake.

Side effects of consuming chicory

Although chicory coffee is associated with several health benefits, it is not for everyone. Chicory can cause an allergic reaction in some people causing symptoms such as pain, swelling and tingling in the mouth. People with allergies to ragweed or birch pollen should avoid chicory to avoid potential negative side effects.

Amount of caffeine in selected beverages

As we already mentioned, chicory does not contain caffeine, unless you consume it together with coffee. In the following table, look at the amount of caffeine that the selected drinks contain.

Drink Average caffeine content in 250 ml
Boiled chicory Without caffeine
Melt Without caffeine
Cocoa 12 mg
Coca Cola 35 mg
Chicory coffee (chicory combined with coffee) 38 mg
Tea 25 – 60 mg
Matcha Tea 25 to 70 mg
Energy drinks 80 mg
Yerba mate 85 mg
Coffee 85 to 200 mg

Nutritional values ​​in chicory

In the following table, look at the comparison of the nutritional values ​​of 100 ml of chicory vs. coffee.

Nutritional values Amount in 100 ml of chicory Quantity in 100 ml of coffee
Energy 5.4 kcal 1 kcal
Fats 0 g 0 g
Carbohydrates 1.3 g 0 g
Fiber 0 g 0 g
Proteins 0.2 g 0.1 g

Vitamins and minerals in chicory

Also look at the amount of minerals and vitamins that chicory contains compared to coffee.

Vitamins and minerals Amount in 100 ml of chicory Quantity in 100 ml of coffee
Vitamin B1 0.000 mg 0.014 mg
Vitamin B2 0.005 mg 0.076 mg
Vitamin B3 0.390 mg 0.191 mg
Vitamin B6 0.000 mg 0.001 mg
Folates 0.00 mcg 2.0 mcg
Vitamin C 0.0 mg 0.0 mg
Vitamin E 0.00 mg 0.01 mg
Vitamin K 0.0 mcg 0.1 mcg
Calcium 7.16 mg 2.00 mg
Copper 0.02 mg 0.00 mg
Iron 0.09 mg 0.01 mg
Magnesium 5.37 mg 3.00 mg
Phosphorus 5.37 mg 3.00 mg
Potassium 62.65 mg 49.00 mg
Selenium 0.18 mcg 0.00 mcg
Sodium 12.53 mg 2.00 mg
Zinc 0.02 mg 0.02 mg

How is chicory produced?

Chicory comes from the chicory plant (Cichorium intybus), a hardy perennial with purple-blue flowers that open and close at the same time each day. It is common in North America and Europe. Chicory leaves and flowers are used most often in various salads, and chicory root is used to make chicory. Each chicory has one long, thick root that is pulled out of the ground, washed, dried, roasted, finely chopped, and then steeped or boiled.

Man holding collected chicory roots.

Try our best chicory recipes . We have tips for a luxurious soup, salad, but also a refreshing cocktail!

Where to buy chicory and how to store it?

Fresh chicory root can sometimes be found at farmers markets, but it can be quite difficult to find. Chicory can then be purchased at some grocery stores, health food stores, or online. You can buy the most famous one from us under the name Karo. Coffee and chicory blends are sold in specialty grocery stores and online retailers. Store chicory like regular ground coffee in a closed container.

How to properly prepare chicory aka chicory coffee?

Chicory is sold in the form of a powder that is poured with hot water. Follow the instructions on the package. The drink can be consumed with milk, drink both warm and cold.

Since chicory is usually much cheaper than coffee, it’s a great alternative if you’re on a budget. However, burning the chicory could put you off using it, so be careful not to use too much or you’ll spoil the flavor. Start with 1/2 teaspoon chicory per cup, and adjust to taste. Later, you’ll probably go up to two to four tablespoons. Then the chicory has a richer and stronger taste. You can add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or star anise.

Alternatively, you can make your chicory coffee from scratch at home using the instructions below:

  1. Buy chicory root at the grocery store.
  2. Wash and dry the root, then cut it into pieces with a knife.
  3. Spread the pieces in a baking dish and bake in the oven at a temperature of about 180 °C until they are golden brown.
  4. Leave to cool.
  5. When the root is cool, put the pieces in a coffee grinder and grind them to the same coarseness as regular coffee grounds.
  6. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add 1-2 tablespoons of chicory root.
  7. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Strain the liquid into a mug and drink.
  9. Add honey and milk as needed.

Chicory Root Coffee Latte:

  1. Boil 1 tablespoon of chicory with 2 cups of water.
  2. Heat the milk of your choice and froth.
  3. Add frothed milk to 1 serving of chicory coffee and mix.
  4. For a vanilla latte, mix a vanilla bean into your recipe. Add cinnamon to taste!
Roasted chicory root latte in a teacup with blueberry bread and a spoon next to it.

Chicory mixed with coffee:

  1. To make basic chicory coffee, use about 2/3 ground coffee and 1/3 chicory.
  2. Brew as normal in a drip coffee maker, French press, or your favorite method.

Prepare one of our walnut cake recipes with a cup of chicory. You will enjoy!

How does chicory differ from melta?

Chicory is just roasted chicory root, while melta contains not only ground chicory root, but also roasted sugar beet, barley and rye. Chicory is also much older and better known than melta. In our territory, chicory began to be produced at the beginning of the 19th century, melta only in the 20th century. Both drinks are linked by the fact that they are labeled as coffee, i.e. a drink reminiscent of classic coffee beans, but without caffeine.

History of chicory

Chicory has a long history and is one of the oldest recorded plant species. The plant is native to North Africa, Western Asia and Europe , and its cultivation is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt . Chicory was first used as a substitute for coffee in France in the early 19th century . There was a shortage of coffee, so people looked for an alternative. This is because the coffee industry began to develop much faster and the demand increased sharply, so that coffee beans became less available. So people started mixing roasted chicory roots into their coffee.

Lately, chicory consumption has been associated with embargoes and cost cutting. New Orleans , which has a large French influence, was a major consumer of coffee before the Civil War. In 1840, the importation of coffee into the port of New Orleans was blocked. Returning to their French roots, the locals started using chicory instead of coffee.

Today, chicory is still popular in New Orleans, and “New Orleans coffee” usually refers to chicory root coffee. New Orleans coffee vendors often blend coffee with up to 30 percent chicory root . Besides New Orleans, it is also popular in many other areas around the world, including France and India .

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)