I’m going to be honest here: I spend a lot of time in cafes. It’s not even about the coffee half the time—I love the social aspect of hanging out with friends in a communal city space.
But sometimes, my fellow coffee aficionados, it’s just more fun to chill out at home in our pajamas and commune with our French press. If you’ve decided to join the chicory coffee movement with me—welcome, friend—you’re going to need to learn some new tricks.
And I have them for you, right here. Today, we’re learning how to make chicory coffee. We’ll do it from scratch for the purists out there (and everyone looking for ways to kill time), and we’ll do it the easy way for everyone else (cough, store-bought, cough).
But before we get into that, let’s answer a few quick questions…
What is Chicory Coffee?
If you haven’t got time to read that post—and honestly, I hope you do because chicory coffee has a pretty cool history—you’re in luck. I’ve got the condensed version for you right now:
Chicory is a plant from the dandelion family, with a tough stem, pale purple flowers, and a peppery, woody aroma. You may have seen it used in fancy salads.
To make our chicory coffee, the root of the chicory plant is dug up, washed, and minced. It’s left to dry—or sometimes sundried—until it can be ground like coffee beans.
With its woody, nutty, somewhat bitter flavor, some people compare straight chicory coffee to a medium roast coffee—minus the caffeine jitters.
For people (like me!) who needed to work their way up to a totally caffeine-free morning beverage, you can blend your ground chicory with ground coffee beans at any ratio you choose.
What’s So Good about Chicory Coffee?
Chicory root has a pretty impressive nutritional profile. 60 grams of raw chicory root—the part we use for coffee—contains a ton of nutrients like:
- Vitamin C
Not sure if you can be swayed by these fancy numbers? I wasn’t…until I heard about the other benefits of switching to chicory coffee. Benefits like:
- Reduced stress: Caffeine triggers an increase in cortisol in our bloodstream. This is a stress hormone that is good for us when we have to, say, outrun a tiger, or hunt down our food. It’s not so good for us when we’re just sitting at our desk feeling jittery and unable to focus. Cutting back on our caffeine intake reduces the cortisol racing around in our bodies—which is also extremely helpful for anyone suffering from chronic stress and anxiety.
- Reduced inflammation: Chicory is full of polyphenols, the inflammation fighters of the plant world. Even on 7-day trials, patients showed improvement in inflammation markers when they consumed chicory.
- Improved digestive function: Because chicory is high in natural soluble fiber, it is great for relieving constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Support in the management of Type II Diabetes: Chicory root can help you to stay fuller for longer, stabilize blood sugar levels, and support a healthy microbiome—all factors that contribute to the management of this form of diabetes.
- Improved liver function: Chicory root can help fight free radical formation, reduce cell oxidation, and block cell damage. Pretty powerful stuff for a little root from the dandelion family.
- Weight management support: Chicory root is used in a lot of diet plans to add bulk to flimsy diet foods, add sweetness without increasing the caloric load or triggering elevated blood sugar levels, and as a low-carb keto-friendly filler.
- Reduced cholesterol levels: Studies have shown that chicory root can increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol in animals.
- Improved sleep: We all know caffeine can give us a major pick me up first thing in the morning. If you’re anything like me, you also know what happens when you consume your trusty, toasty beverage too late in the day. Because chicory coffee is caffeine free, but with a similar flavor profile, you can have it any time of the day or night.
Have you been inspired by this list of awesome benefits? I hope so! And as promised, here’s how to make the drink taking the global café scene by storm…
How to Make Chicory Coffee From Scratch
Things we need:
- Chicory roots
- Coffee beans—if you plan on creating a chicory / coffee blend
- Coffee grinder
- A French press—I love Bodum, but whatever you’ve got is going to work
Step 1. Prepare Your Chicory
- Preheat your oven to 250°F—we’re going to be baking the chicory root low and slow.
- Wash each chicory root thoroughly, taking care to remove any soil. (I use this Castile soap to completely clean my chicory)
- Cut out any damaged areas now (where the root may be soft, brown, and spongy). There’s no need to peel the root.
- Dry the roots with paper towel or allow to air dry in a sunny spot.
- Cut down the chicory root into small pieces—approximately the size of coffee beans
- Place your chicory root pieces onto a baking tray and bake at 250°F for around 90 minutes (or until the chicory is dry and brown).
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Step 2. Make Your Chicory Coffee Blend
- With your coffee grinder set to its usual coarseness for your coffee beans, grind the chicory root.
- Grind your coffee beans.
- Create your blend.
If you don’t plan on creating a chicory / coffee blend, and are going all in—I applaud your enthusiasm, friend!—you can skip the coffee beans.
Chicory is more bitter than coffee, so think about your taste buds and your goals. Do you like a dark roast? If so, try a 50/50 chicory/coffee blend.
Do you prefer a light roast? Go with 1 part chicory to 3 parts coffee, and adjust from there. Likewise, if you are trying to cut down on your caffeine intake drastically, go for 3 parts chicory to 1 part coffee.
Basically, be prepared to switch things up until you find the blend that blows your mind and tickles your tastebuds.
Step 3. How To Brew Your Chicory Coffee
The technique is exactly the same for brewing chicory coffee as it is for brewing normal coffee in a French press. I’m sharing my method here, but every coffee lover is different, so do what works for you.
- Fill your French press with hot water while you wait for your kettle to boil
- Once the kettle boils, pour the hot water out of your French press
- Add your chicory / coffee blend to your French press (use a ratio of 1tbs chicory mix to 1 cup water)
- Pour the boiled water from your kettle slowly over your grounds, making sure everything is covered
- Put the lid on, and allow to sit for 5 minutes: I found 5 minutes gave me a more full-bodied drink, but if you want to stick to the standard 4, I totally get it.
- Press your coffee, and enjoy!
You can add in sweeteners, milk or cream just like you would with regular coffee to sweeten it up a bit. I also have a bunch of fun recipes you can use to make chicory coffee so good you'd think a professional barista made it!
How to Make Chicory Coffee From The Store
Obviously, this is nowhere near as time intensive as creating your own signature chicory coffee blend from scratch.
Then, just follow the directions in step 3 above, or follow the directions on the packaging.
The fun thing about buying chicory coffee pre-made is that you can shop around and try various brands until you find the one that speaks to your coffee-lover heart. And speaking of brands, these are some of my favorites:
- Rasa Adaptogenic Herbal Koffee Alternative: A delicious, healthy alternative to standard coffee. This is my ride or die, and the packaging is just gorgeous, too.
- Café du Monde Coffee ; Chicory: A classic from one of the world’s most famous cafes. This one can be pretty strong for first-timers, but I am a total sucker for it with a couple of fresh beignet on the side.
- Community Coffee 100% Pure Chicory: If you want to cut out caffeine completely, Community Coffee do a great job of this caffeine-free, total chicory offering.
You can see more of my favorite chicory coffee brands in this post.
If you're really strapped for time, or just enjoy convenience, you can even grab chicory coffee K-cups and brew it in your Keurig machine. I reviewed my favorite chicory coffee K-cups here.
And one more thing…
Once I got the hang of brewing chicory coffee at home, I decided to embrace my inner mad scientist.
Ok, maybe not as wild as all that, but I definitely tried a few different ways of drinking my new favorite morning beverage.
In different brews, I’ve added cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, cloves, vanilla, and mixed spice. Freshly scraped vanilla bean and whipping cream was heavenly, just FYI. Frothy milk is always a hit for your own at-home cappucino or café au lait. With the right blend and a few little tweaks, I think you’ll fall in love with chicory coffee, too.
If you're on the hunt for chicory coffee recipes, you can download my free recipe book below. Until then, happy brewing!