Chicory coffee is an alternative drink to the traditional cup of coffee that boasts a number of benefits for our health. So let’s find out all its properties and how it is prepared.
Perhaps you have never tasted it and the name might scare you a little, in reality chicory coffee is a tasty drink often appreciated instead of the more classic coffee. Many people choose it as it does not involve the typical unwanted effects of the best known and most used drink which in the most sensitive subjects, given the presence of caffeine, can trigger, for example, nervousness, insomnia, colitis and other unwelcome symptoms.
Chicory coffee was already used several centuries ago when, especially the poorer classes, certainly could not afford the expensive coffee beans that came from the Americas. He then “folded” on chicory roots with which to prepare a drink with a tasty flavor to be sipped during breaks from hard work in the fields or after meals.
Even today, with the roots of Cichorium Intybus harvested in autumn, cleaned, dried and then roasted, this completely caffeine-free drink can be prepared, perfect for breakfast but actually suitable for any time of day.
Its taste has a bitter aftertaste like that of the vegetable from which it derives but there are those who also perceive a hint of caramel or licorice. The chicory coffee, among other things, offers a series of properties that should not be underestimated.
Chicory coffee: properties and benefits
Chicory coffee boasts different properties and benefits due to the active ingredients present in the vegetable from which it is obtained. This drink is particularly rich in: mineral salts, bitter substances, polyphenols, fibers (especially inulin). It is precisely the synergy of all these beneficial substances that makes chicory coffee an ally of our health. Let’s see the benefits in detail below.
✓ Promotes digestion
Chicory coffee is able to promote digestion and is certainly a healthier choice than traditional coffee, especially if you drink it after having eaten a large meal. In fact, by sipping chicory, we guarantee better digestion, especially of fats.
✓ Improves intestinal functions
Chicory coffee has a positive effect on intestinal regularity and promotes the good health of the bacterial flora. This means not only a greater well-being of the intestine but also a stronger immune system (it is now known that the bacterial flora also helps in the defense against pathogenic microorganisms).
✓ Supports the work of the liver
Chicory coffee is an ally of the liver. It is no coincidence that it is obtained from a bitter herb and, as is known, this flavor helps and supports the organ responsible for the elimination of toxins, promotes detoxification of the blood and consequently of the whole organism.
✓ Keeps blood sugar at bay
Thanks to the presence of inulin (soluble fiber) this drink helps to keep blood sugar levels at bay.
Chicory coffee has antioxidant power, therefore it counteracts free radicals and consequently cellular aging.
✓ Contains no caffeine
Many people choose chicory coffee rather than traditional coffee as it is naturally caffeine-free. Consequently, those who are hypersensitive to this substance can easily sip a tasty drink without having any disadvantages but, on the contrary, taking advantage of all the above benefits.
How to prepare chicory coffee
There are different versions of chicory coffee, much appreciated is that ground in such a way as to be able to prepare the drink exactly like a normal coffee, using the classic mocha. In this way you will not even miss the ritual, so dear to many families, of the preparation of coffee and the subsequent pleasure of drinking it together.
However, we must avoid filling the mocha filter to the brim with chicory. In fact, to make sure that the drink comes out at its best, it is necessary to exploit it for half, maximum three quarters of its potential.
You can also choose not to prepare chicory coffee with the mocha. In this case, the alternative is to boil the equivalent of a cup of water with a teaspoon of chicory grains inside for a few minutes (2-3) before turning off, filtering and drinking. This was the system by which the drink was traditionally prepared.
Some manufacturers have made chicory roasted and processed in such a way that it can also be compatible with coffee machines.
There is also, for those who need more practicality, soluble chicory coffee to be added to water, milk or other vegetable drinks, also available in sachets. This last possibility is convenient to always carry with you, even to work for example, when you often don’t have a mocha available or you don’t have space to keep an entire pack of instant chicory coffee. The sachet is very practical as it is single-dose and simply dissolves in a cup of hot water. Of course the taste and texture, like what happens with traditional soluble coffee, loses a bit.
If the chicory coffee is too bitter, it can be sweetened with honey, agave syrup, maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.
Contraindications of chicory coffee
It is not recommended to take chicory coffee during pregnancy as this drink could prematurely stimulate uterine contractions. Also to be avoided in case of gastritis or ulcer. Having no caffeine, it does not cause insomnia and can also be drunk in the evening, as a hot drink.
Chicory coffee: price and where to buy it
It is not easy to find chicory coffee available in traditional supermarkets unless they are well stocked or very large. It is much easier to buy it in natural and organic food stores, in herbalist’s shops or in online shops.
The price of chicory coffee varies according to the quantity of product but it can be different even if it is a ground version for mocha or soluble. 250 grams of ground chicory for moka has prices starting from around 5 USD while soluble chicory starts at around 10 USD.