What Really is Chicory?

Ah! Chicory. The magical mysterious substance so many people swear by and while we’ve all heard of it, what really is this mysterious root and what does it mean for your coffee.

Let’s dig in.

Picture Credit: Freepik

What is Chicory?

Simply put, Chicory is a root which has been cultivated across the world for thousands of years. Chicory as itself, has been used in early Egyptian Civilization as a medicinal plant.

When roasted, Chicory, gets a deeper brown colour and has been used as an additive to coffee across the world since the the 1700’s and which the exact timeline may not be clear, the Continental Blockade of 1808 in France was a rather momentous moment for Chicory and it’s use as an additive or even a substitute to coffee.

It was used as an additive to coffee to stretch it’s dwindling supply over many historic moments in history across the world. It’s also been used to replace coffee all-together when the going got tough(er)

While that may be true, it did over time develop loyal support and love and to-date it’s something many people across the world enjoy. Despite, there being no shortage of coffee. It’s a nostalgic flavour which is now intertwined with coffee culture of many parts of the world.

To date, a true cup of New Orleans coffee is not without Chicory! Take a trip down memory lane with a Cafe Au Lait and Beignet at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, USA and discover the joys of Chicory in the modern world.


Bringing it back home

With that little trip down world history, let’s talk about Chicory and something closer to home – South Indian Filter Coffee!

It’s said to be yet another import of the British to India. They brought with them something called Camp Coffee which was basically a coffee + chicory essence and this became quite popular with the troops in India and with the continued shortage of coffee supply, the use of chicory became prominent in British-Indian troops. There are many versions of how Chicory really came about to India but it’s one that stayed!

You can still buy Camp Coffee if that’s your jam or if you just want to try it out.

Chicory is now a staple to South Indian Filter Coffee and lends it the unique much loved taste. These days anywhere from 20%-40% mix of chicory in coffee is seen. Here are some great South India filter coffees we have on-site for you to try –

What does Chicory really taste like?

When brewed, it has a thick coffee like consistency with a dark colour. It’s nutty and earthy in taste and has a strong bitterness to it followed by an aftertaste of sweet. We won’t recommend trying to drink Chicory alone but when mixed with coffee it gives it lends a bold, thicker mouth feel which is the traditional taste we associate so strongly with filter coffee.

Is Chicory good for health?

We truly believe, ALL coffee is good for health when taken in right amounts.

However, many believe it improves gut health due to the presence of Inulin in it. Historically, it’s also been used to reduce inflammation and since we are no health experts, here’s a healthline article for you to read.

It’s also caffeine free so you’re essentially drinking lesser caffeine in a cup of coffee+chicory Vs just plain coffee.

If you want to learn more about coffee and chicory, here’s a great book from the 1800’s which James Hoffman recently spoke about, it’s quite an interesting read.

Tell us, do you love Chicory in your coffee? Tag us on Instagram if you try Chicory Coffee, we’d love to see how you feel!

Featured Picture Credit to- https://honest-food.net/because-i-can-vol-2-chicory-coffee/

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