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What is chicory coffee (coffee substitute) ?

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a hardy perennial originating from Europe and introduced to North America in the 1700s. The very young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads and the older, bitter leaves can be boiled in several waters and eaten. But chicory is best known for its association with coffee. At many points through history, coffee has become unavailable or too costly. During these times, people have often turned to roasted chicory as a substitute.

The root of the chicory plant is long and thick, like the tap-root of the dandelion. When dried, roasted and ground, it makes an excellent substitute for coffee. There is no caffeine in chicory, and it produces a more 'roasted' flavour than coffee does. Many coffee producers offer blends with up to 30% chicory, which cuts down on the caffeine content.

People also used to make ‘coffee' from roasted acorns, yams and a variety of local grains.

Chicory plant (source)


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